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How E-Commerce Packages Are Impacting Midtown Multifamily

If there are two things Millennials love, it’s e-commerce and Midtown. Multifamily operators in the area are being crushed by waves of packages every day. The issue was a major source of discussion at Bisnow’s The Future of Midtown event. 


Last year Camden made headlines by being one of the first major multifamily operators to flat-out reject packages in the management offices of all 169 locations. The problem has only gotten worse.

Camden’s Bill Sengelmann (seen here with The Houston Group's Arnie Azios) elaborated on the problem. To get the package from the management office to the door takes about 10 minutes. When you crunch the numbers, the flood of packages ends up costing Camden around $3.3M per year. 



Working in a multifamily management office feels like Christmas every day and leasing professionals are the elves. UPS alone reports daily delivery volumes of 18 milion packages nationwide.

In 2015, Camden properties alone received 1.5 million packages. As online retailers continue to expand their offerings, the problem is only getting bigger. US online retail sales swelled to $334B in 2015, up from $263B in 2013, according to Forrester Research. 


Midtown District chairman Bill Franks (seen here speaking) says the package situation is a new challenge that was hard to foresee. Now that landlords have had time to digest the problem, solutions are beginning to arise.

Some landlords are starting to allow tenants direct access to the package room, protected by a keypad and security cameras. Some higher-end buildings have a 24-hour concierge staff dedicated to making sure residents get packages. In some cases, building managers seek permission from tenants to enter their units to drop off packages to avoid the extra back and forth of tracking people down.

Camden has had success allowing their residents to receive packages directly to their door, but Bill Sengelmann admits they’re looking to build a better mousetrap.


Chris Marone of Luxer One asked the panelists how technology might solve the problem. Luxer One provides multifamily and student housing properties with automated package lockers and package room solutions that accept 100% of packages, regardless of size and weight.

With oversized lockers they can accept the maximum size package that carriers ship. It’s more than just lockers, as Luxer One is partnering with The Postal Solutions Cos to offer full-service package solutions no matter what the circumstance.

One issue locker-based system have run into is the holiday season. It’s easy to have plenty of lockers during normal operation but after Black Friday and Cyber Monday no amount of lockers would be able to hold the tsunami of packages.


Transwestern’s David Baker (above with Costar's Christophe Vermeil) says what’s happening in Midtown is happening all over the country. Founding principal at Powers Brown Architecture Jeffery Brown (below, with Blazer's Nathan Kelley) knows that Midtown is a pioneering area. 


As a former professor at U of H, Jeffery has seen the area go from zero to hero thanks to outstanding developments and the area’s rich culture. As a hotbed of young multifamily units Midtown will continue that tradition and be a pioneer in solving this crucial problem.