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In Chicago’s Booming Multifamily Market, Technology Helps Developments Stand Out

Chicago

Chicago’s downtown multifamily real estate market is booming. While demand is keeping pace with supply, some 8,400 apartments are expected to be added downtown in 2019 and 2020. As competition for tenants increases, property owners who don’t keep up with residents' expectations will lose out to buildings that offer the latest amenities. 

Xfinity Communities Senior Director David Lizak said in a healthy market, there is more to just being one of the few options available — prospects are looking for amenities beyond in-unit laundry machines, hardwood floors and granite countertops. Properties need to stand out, and one of the best ways they can do that is by embracing new technology. 

“Technology is a differentiator,” Lizak said. “Property owners who bring technology and personalized customer service together will find it easier to win the hearts and minds of their tenants and maintain high occupancy rates while simplifying residents’ lives.” 

Lizak added that, specifically, properties that offer smart locks, thermostats, light controls — even sensors that detect leaks — tend to stand out from their competitors. 

Owners and operators are teaming up with some of the nation’s technology companies to bring these advancements to tenants. Kass Management Services, a Chicago-based property management company, is working with Xfinity to debut Xfinity’s Smart Communities platform at two multifamily rental properties in the city.

Through the partnership, 50 units across the two buildings were outfitted with smart devices, including smart thermostats and lighting, which renters can control at home or remotely via the Xfinity Communities app. The platform works on the backbone of Xfinity’s internet service, and Kass can expand it to include additional smart features, such as security cameras and smart locks.  

Chicago bean

“Creating smart communities by integrating smart home technology into our properties makes life easier and more convenient for residents and may even help them have more control over their utility usage,” Kass Management Services Inc. principal Mark Durakovic said. “In a competitive rental market like Chicago’s, smart features add value and attract residents.”

Property managers can control the entire platform via Xfinity Communities’ Smart Communities Portal, which gives them the ability to manage automation technology in their properties’ administrative and public areas. 

The system can also help reduce energy use by controlling temperatures in vacant units and common areas. In addition, when a unit is rented, property managers can prep it and turn over control of the smart devices to the new tenant via the portal.  

Along with smart home and entertainment technologies, today’s tenants want high-performance, high-speed internet service, especially as more people are opting to work from home. To offer better service, Comcast spent millions of dollars in 2016 to expand its advanced wireless network across Chicago, allowing local developers to offer high-speed service as part of their amenity packages. 

“Technology like this is built to enhance and simplify tenants’ lives and enhance security, all while easing the burden on property managers, allowing them to more easily manage and monitor their communities, and freeing them to provide personalized service to each resident,” Lizak said. 

This feature was produced in collaboration between Bisnow Branded Content and Xfinity Communities. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.