Technology has replaced the urban doorman at the new WaterWalk Hotel Apartments, which opened early this year in Wichita, Kan.
WaterWalk is a mix of apartment and hotel units. You can sign a yearly lease or rent a unit for a week. WaterWalk’s appeal is to Millennials, particularly young women. There is staff, including a concierge, on site 24/7. “You always see a familiar face,” says Jon Wohlfert, president of WaterWalk International.
The human touch is backed by familiar technology, and security is a top priority. There are 39 security cameras throughout the property, installed by Broadband Hospitality and monitored in the management office.
Key-card access is needed to enter the gated property, the assigned building and the individual’s unit. All units open to an interior corridor. The card entry system is from Kaba-Ilco.
“Millennial apartment dwellers like that urban lifestyle concept. It’s almost doorman-style,” Wohlfert says.
WaterWalk is the first multi-unit iteration of this style concept to open in Wichita. There are multiple locations in Raleigh and Charlotte, N.C., Orlando, Fla., Tulsa, Okla. and San Antonio, Texas. The goal, Wohlfert says, is to build upwards of 400 similar properties all over the U.S.
High-Tech Goes Beyond Security
All rental or leasing transactions are done electronically, along with background, credit and criminal checks. With all of the high-tech background checking, there is no need for a lessee to foot a security deposit. “When we move them in, they can pay their lease electronically as well,” Wohlfert adds.
Constant connectivity is also huge for Millennials. “We have abundant bandwidth for our guests,” Wohlfert says. There are paired 100 MB circuits serving the property with Wi-Fi throughout.
WaterWalk also offers DirecTV with more than 300 channels and DVR. Pricing is all-inclusive and covers all utilities, high-speed internet, phone and upgraded TV.
Each of the furnished and unfurnished rooms has high-end GE kitchen and laundry appliances, as well as high-efficiency HVAC equipment.
While a typical multifamily project might take up to 25 acres—a real challenge to find and fund in any urban center—a WaterWalk can be built on less than four acres.
The blueprint calls for 68 apartment units, a mixture of one, two or three bedrooms and extended-stay hotel rooms. The hotel and apartment buildings are each four stories and are separated by a courtyard.
“If you tried to run a 68-unit apartment with the staffing levels and technology value we offer, you couldn’t make money on it,” Wohlfert says. “You’d be hard-pressed to deliver the service level at a 68-unit extended stay,” he adds. It’s the combination of the two that makes the winning difference.
How does Wohlfert know the concept is succeeding? The Wichita property is 100 percent booked on both sides of the house.
About the Author
Curt Harler, Freelance Writer
Curt Harler is a Cleveland, Ohio-based writer specializing in physical and data networking security, technology and environmental issues. Harler’s articles are widely read and respected for their leadership and insight.