When it comes to project conception and programming in new markets, the partners at Cityscape Residential conduct in-depth research about the needs of consumers to learn which on-site and off-site amenities are in demand and will set the property apart from others.
The site context and neighborhood are central to determining project amenities. For example, at one of Cityscape’s newest properties under development in Louisville, Ky., the company expects a large cycling population both for recreation and transportation purposes. Therefore, it’s crucial they have ample bike parking and also a space where residents can repair or tweak their bikes as many enthusiasts do.
Communal spaces continue to be of utmost importance to renters and Cityscape incorporates design elements that echo each neighborhood’s distinct architectural style and the potential profile of expected residents. These types of communal spaces such as the resident lounges always include a significant amount of technology with the latest in audio-video equipment, as well as strong Wifi capabilities with access to computers and printers. In Indianapolis, Cityscape has direct AT&T Fiber to each unit and in Kansas City, Mo. they make sure each unit can receive Google Fiber which is 100 times faster than today’s basic broadband. Other critical aspects to incorporate within these spaces include gaming and social components because these areas often become the “social hub” during fall or winter months when the pool is closed, or they become a business environment for those who may work from home.
While amenity trends change over time and by location, some on-site amenities such as a high-end fitness room and well-designed outdoor areas are required by renters. Throughout every project, Cityscape strives to provide the latest technology and quality equipment that is on market trend. It’s really a wow-factor even if residents do not actually always utilize it. Residents want to know that the latest and greatest equipment is available to them. The company guarantees individuals won’t find the same equipment or technology in any two fitness rooms at any of their property locations. For example, at the 82 Flats at the Crossing apartment community located in Indianapolis, they installed a virtual boxing machine offering a live video instructor that is able to walk an individual through a boxing circuit workout. Residents can also utilize live video-streamed instructors while stationary biking, providing a “mini spinning class” without ever having to leave the apartment community. These types of amenities are strong selling points, particularly in high-end properties.
Focused on a signature blend of high-end finishes and unparalleled design, Cityscape looks to the latest trends in hospitality and high-end resorts to help design community pools and outdoor grilling areas. Their team wants their residents to feel like they are at a five-star resort when it comes to lounging by the pool, hanging by the fire pit or grilling in the outdoor kitchen.
Another major amenity category that continues to grow in importance to many residents is pet friendly features, particularly in more urban areas where grassy spaces are limited. Cityscape always works to ensure that there is a pleasant area for people to enjoy with their animals, but also distant from other residents who choose not to have pets. They are also creating areas where people can bathe and clean their pets outside of their apartments.
It’s crucial for developers to include as many amenities as conceivable. Cityscape however is not every other developer. They do not believe in creating single-purpose spaces such as conference rooms or commercial-style kitchens, as these types of spaces required high upfront investment costs but are rarely used to their fullest capabilities. Rather, the company focuses on making communal spaces completely functional with wide-appeal, and including practical equipment such as microwaves, push-button coffee stations, ice makers, beverage refrigerators and more.
Bringing visions to life and offering the latest and best amenities to residents requires a strong team of professionals. Cityscape works with vendors that have thorough experience in areas such as fitness, and have provided equipment to local universities, health clubs and pools. They also work with individuals or companies performing high-end residential work or resort pools that are able to add value when it comes to design and engineering ideas. For Cityscape, it’s crucial to have those relationships with vendors who can deliver on time, provide top-notch customer service and expediently handle any issues that may arise as the leasing office and amenity areas become operational. It’s critical that each vendor surpasses our expectations, and delivers high quality work complete and fully functioning amenities upon opening.
Cityscape has learned that the on-site amenities at many of their apartment communities, along with the interior design elements and details, are one of the many reasons residents continue to choose their properties over competitors. Amenities are vital to residents for a variety of reasons. For example, their fitness centers are so advanced that a gym membership is not needed for residents, which then reinforces the value of their communities even if they are higher priced compared to competitors. Cityscape properties are at the top-of-the-market in terms of rental rates, but they encompass high-quality, unique amenities that fit each particular location and resident profiles providing value.
There are always costs associated with providing top-of-the-line amenities. For example, when it comes to the fitness equipment in Cityscape properties, they have annual service agreements with vendors to monitor and maintain all equipment on-site. When it comes to details, they’re important. Having nicer and richer trim throughout units provides a sense of quality for Cityscape properties. Specific items that the company uses because they are particularly “hot” right now include home wine refrigerators which run from $500 to $700 in upfront costs and generate $50 to $75 monthly premium for those units; front-load washers and dryers which cost $100 to $200 more than typical side-by-side machines; and $15 to $20 USB charging outlets in kitchen areas which can helps to reinforce the high-end technology in Cityscape apartments.
The Cityscape team is always looking for feedback from residents and potential prospects. They continually survey prospects that choose other communities in order to help fine-tune product features, especially if that feature played a role in their deciding factor. They also survey current residents to understand what they like best and what they use the most. Using a tablet leasing process allows Cityscape to easily survey prospects throughout a touring and sales process. Current and past residents are also provided an annual online survey to complete. Additionally, the owners are in constant communication with the on-site property management teams to receive firsthand feedback regarding what amenities are being used and how, at times residents adapt space differently than initially conceived. These informal and formal methods help the Cityscape team stay ahead of trends when it comes to designing and developing future projects.
This piece was featured as a byline from partner Kelli Lawrence in the July print issue of UNITS Magazine.