Live, Work, Play: What External Amenities Make Commercial Housing Developments Successful?

Commercial Housing Amenities

Find Out What Amenities Your Development is Missing

SouthPark Interiors breaks down the top three outdoor amenities for housing communities across three categories — live, work, and play. In this article, you’ll discover:

Ah, the great outdoors — is there anywhere more relaxing? Especially after COVID-19 forced us all to spend so much time indoors over the past few years, finding more opportunities to get outside has become a top priority for residents in all multi-family housing communities. As residents yearn to feel the sun on their skin, multi-family developers and investors must accommodate their needs by providing plenty of outdoor amenities.

But which exterior amenities do residents want the most? In order to create a successful community, multi-family developers and managers must first be able to answer this important question.

According to a survey of the top developers, property owners, architects, contractors, and builders in North America, Multi-family Design & Construction recently released a list of the most highly sought-after amenities residents want from their multi-family communities. Using this along with our team’s personal experience, we put together this helpful guide for the top outdoor amenities that tenants need to live, work, and play.

Live: The Top 3 External Amenities for Everyday Life

#1 – Bicycle Storage

Bicycles are top-of-mind for many tenants, with many eco-conscious residents choosing this mode of transportation to perform all of their daily errands and activities. As such, multi-family developers are answering the call for bike accommodations by improving bicycle storage and repair centers to their communities. Some multi-family housing managers are even offering bicycle-sharing services, with readily available bicycles on-site for community use.

#2 – EV Charging

Plug-in electric vehicles have surged in popularity in recent years, with more than 2 million EV sales by mid-2021 alone. As more residents adopt an eco-friendlier lifestyle and make the switch to electric cars, they are seeking out communities that are able to cater to their vehicles’ charging needs. Installing electric vehicle charging stations throughout a property is a great way to keep tenants happy while attracting new residents to the area.

#3 – Ride Sharing

Another outdoor amenity essential for everyday life is a ride-sharing waiting area. Many tenants rely on Uber or Lyft in order to get from point A to point B. Having a ride-sharing service waiting area isn’t just convenient for residents, it also provides them with increased safety as they’re able to load and unload within eyesight of all apartment employees and security cameras.

Work: The Top 3 Outdoor Amenities for Working Tenants

#1 – Conference Rooms

While meeting areas are typically reserved for indoor conference rooms, there has been a surge in demand for flexible, outdoor meeting spaces. Especially with more tenants working from home than ever before, offering them outdoor areas conducive to working and collaborating with coworkers is a great way to stand out in the multi-family market. When planning these areas, be sure to keep them separate from other outdoor amenities, such as the community pool, in order to minimize distractions and increase productivity.

#2 – Free Wi-Fi

Having access to free Wi-Fi is essential for many at-home workers to do their jobs. Not only should multi-family housing managers look for opportunities to minimize the cost of Wi-Fi to their tenants, but they should also ensure signal strength is adequate enough to reach outdoor coworking areas. Even if the community does not have an outdoor conference area, the Wi-Fi your building provides should be strong enough to receive a signal from anywhere on site in case your tenants decide to create an outdoor working area of their own!

#3 – Phone-charging Stations

When planning outdoor spaces for working tenants, it’s important to consider all the conveniences they’ll need — including phone-charging stations. Placing phone-charging stations strategically in outdoor conference areas is a great way to keep residents connected. It also demonstrates to them that you cared enough to consider all the things they need to be successful working from home while also enjoying the outdoors.

Play: The Top 3 Exterior Amenities for Residential Recreation

#1 – Walking Trails

Access to jogging and walking trails are one of the top outdoor amenities that tenants long for in their communities. According to Statista, a whopping 27% of Americans across generations went long-distance jogging or running in 2021 alone. Offering a safe, convenient area for residents to walk and run is a great way to remain competitive and retain tenants for the long-term.

#2 – Fire Pits

Outdoor fire pits and grilling areas are in high demand for tenants. In fact, 66% of the 131 surveyed architects, interior designers, developers, and construction professionals in the 2021 Multi-family Amenities Study reported installing fire pit areas for their multi-family clientele. Fire pits offer a great place for residents to relax and unwind without having to travel too far from home to get the campfire vibe they long for.

#3 – Rooftop Terraces

Multi-family developers looking to make a lasting impression on tenants should definitely consider adding an updated rooftop terrace into the mix (rooftop spaces are not new, but want to emphasize they need to be more thought out if we want to reword this section). With 54% of survey respondents reporting rooftop terrace installations in 2021, this is one outdoor amenity that communities should prioritize for their tenants. Be sure to include plenty of recreational activities on the rooftop as well, such as billiards, cornhole, or even a mini-golf course. Properties in more urban areas may consider a rooftop dog park. Each of these recreational amenities were a top choice for tenants in 2021 as well!