Drastic Changes In Multifamily And Mixed-Use
Whether it's the selection of amenities, the removal of parking or the addition of retail, there are elements in multifamily and mixed-use development that are practically commonplace today that were once considered far-fetched. We caught up with some of Bisnow's Multifamily And Mixed-Use Conference speakers to get their thoughts on trends and some out-there predictions for what the future may hold.
A few years ago, no one expected tenants would be OK renting their homes out to strangers or staying in strangers' homes. But today it's commonplace and even coveted, depending on the accommodations (like the hip condo above in downtown LA's Little Tokyo). The changes reflect shifts in how people look at housing and travel, and are resulting in a harder look at home-sharing as part of the multifamily package. Some developers have started to design apartments and condos with home-sharing in mind. Multifamily developers also have been in talks with Airbnb about arranging profit-sharing.
The sharing economy has extended to ride-sharing services, such as Uber, that make going car-free easier for tenants and make it easier for developers to scale back on parking. That shift supports the resurgance of interest in mass transit, which has driven the demand to have home and office within walking distance of public transportation—if they can't walk to work instead. The interest in alternative transportation has led to bike storage (above is secure bike parking in San Francisco's The Panoramic) as well as bike repair shops on-site.
Eventually, new uses may need to be found for parking garages, says Canyon Capital Realty Advisors senior director Charlie Rose. He also suggests as we shift to more clean energy vehicles (ranging from public transit to Tesla's latest mass-market car), there will be more opportunities to redevelop gas stations.
Ready for an idea that takes today's trends and innovations just a step further? Charlie has one when it comes to the growing interest in mass transit. Pair that interest with the introduction of the hyperloop, and development patterns could change drastically, allowing people to live in markets hundreds of miles from their jobs, he says. "Think Silicon Valley techies choosing to live in sunny LA and commute daily or the housing crunch in LA being alleviated by people choosing to live in Las Vegas and commute daily to Southern California," he tells us.
California Landmark CEO Ken Kahan takes the idea of a sharing economy a step further to predict a convergence of spaces into one complex organism (the idea isn't just science fiction anymore). In 20 years, apartments, hotels and creative office buildings will be passe, with tenants instead flocking to buildings with large common areas that bring together the amenities of a hotel lobby with co-working space. Restaurants will be nearby or a part of the complex and tenants will have tiny sleeping quarters, he predicts, where they can hole up for an average of two months or so before traveling on to their next destination/residence.
Such convergence will make hotels obsolete and stand-alone offices seem isolated, he says. The ideas aren't so far-fetched when we look at the shifts that have already occurred (including the introduction of WeWork's WeLive co-living concept, above).
Twenty years ago, people didn't want to live in mixed-use buildings. Instead they were willing to drive a distance to get what they needed for the home, says Colliers EVP Kitty Wallace (above with her family). That is no longer the case, with people wanting to live in a "hotel-like" space with the resources they need, including shops, gyms with rock climbing walls, yoga studios, pools and spas, she says.
Amenities these days also mean being near transit and retail and include bringing office amenities to apartment complexes, so pool cabanas have WiFi and sometimes workstations (such as those planned for Residences at Railway in Campbell, CA, above), and some have dedicated office space in the building.
"Residents are interested in any amenities that will make their lives easier and are willing to stay longer and pay for the privilege," says Kitty (also one of Bisnow's LA Power Women).
Luxury Amenities Go Mainstream
CityView CEO Sean Burton tells us he wouldn't have believed it if someone told him a few years ago that nearly all of the firm's buildings would have amenities like free WiFi, car-charging stations, yoga rooms, dog runs and pet-washing stations. But the amenities once reserved for luxury living now are commonly found in market-rate housing, he says.
"Renter demands—particularly Millennials—have now made it so that these things are commonplace. In fact, it is now harder for a new market-rate building to attract renters if it does not offer these options."
Speaking of dog washes, projects are now embracing dog owners, rather than avoiding the tenant with a pet. Developments are offering everything from dog parks to dog wash stations and even grooming centers, says Decron Properties CEO David Nagel (below, standing).
“We have even removed 'tot lots' to create exclusive areas for pets, as our surveys have determined that this is a more 'important' service,” he tells us. That has a financial boon, as complexes can charge pet rent (something you can't do for kids) and attract a larger pool of tenants, since more people have pets than kids.
A few years ago, package locker rooms occupying prime space in a multifamily project wouldn't have even been a consideration, but e-commerce, telecommuting workers and home businesses mean that space is in hot demand, says David. More developers are not only considering them, but making them a priority.
We're already seeing the use of prefabricated panels and systems that allow structures to go up much more quickly than before (including the award-winning 47+7 in Seattle, above). But the future could hold even more change, with modular housing rising up in a matter of months in a cost-effective manner that will help produce more housing stock and address affordability, Ken predicts.