There's Still Nothing Like Having The Best Pool In Town
Return your fancy golf simulators, take down the rock climbing walls and fire the feng shui consultant. Despite the multifamily industry's most creative (and expensive) efforts at providing attractive amenities, if you want to get people into your project, there is still nothing quite like a pool party.
In almost every multifamily development, you can see the pool from the leasing office. That is not an accident. First impressions can make or break a deal no matter what you are leasing, and a nice pool with people relaxing is more of a draw than the latest fad amenity.
“You can sell the ‘look how cool this is’ angle, but if people are actually at your project having a good time, it’s going to sell itself,” Drever Capital Management CEO Frank Marro said.
Like many multifamily operators across the country, Marro is spending a lot of time analyzing how to attract today’s evolving renters. He said renters still want community, but what that means is changing. The old methods require planning, like group cooking classes in a show kitchen. While that type of amenity is sought after in the senior communities Marro operates, he does not see any demand for it at traditional assets.
He believes today's renters do not like the structure of planned events or community programming. If you have a pool, creating a community nearly takes care of itself.
"We're creating a space to facilitate rather than creating actual events. They use it how they want to, when they want to."
Marro said constant pool parties at a property Drever owned in Denver were a boost for business.
"We didn’t do anything, but our pool was the party place,” Marro said. “It helps to set the vibe. It’s obviously a great selling point if, when you’re giving the tour, people are actually hanging out. They can see the community. You can say it, but they have to be there actually doing it.”
While the concept of a pool drawing renters is not new, pool design is innovating. Developers are pulling out all the stops, like the glass-bottomed pool at Market Square in Houston that hangs over the ledge 42 stories above the city.
Having a hot commodity like a cool pool has its own issues though. While all the new foot traffic in your project is a jolt to business, many will never end up being residents, forever mooching off their friend's pool access.
“We accepted the fact non-residents were going to be at the pool. You’d look and clearly see there were more people in the pool than lived in the building, but there was no way to stop it,” Marro said.
He is not complaining. “Flexibility and spontaneity is a bigger driver than planned events.”
Hear more from Frank Marro about creating communities at Bisnow's Big South Multifamily Event next week in Dallas.