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Multifamily Residents May Not Want All Those Fancy Amenities

Multifamily Residents May Not Want All Those Fancy Amenities
HKS Senior Vice President and principal Brendan Dunnigan, Build Group Director of Preconstruction Brian Davey and Greystar Managing Director Brian Gagan

With so many multifamily developments delivering throughout the Bay Area, amenities are becoming important tools to remain competitive. But fancy amenities may not be needed to attract residents.

Location is a big amenity for multifamily and the proximity to restaurants, parks and the waterfront will help define what amenities a project may need, HKS Senior Vice President and principal Brendan Dunnigan said.

Besides location, the types of amenities also depend on the size of the project. A 75-unit project cannot support large amenities often seen in a 450-unit complex, according to Dunnigan, who spoke at a recent Bisnow event in San Francisco.

Greystar Managing Director Brian Gagan said the No. 1 thing residents want in their communities is security followed by parking and pools and additional storage.

While residents also want some mix of fitness centers, clubhouses and pet washes, a co-working concept within multifamily projects is growing in popularity. Gagan said every recent deal he has done includes a co-working concept. People like working in a separate area conspicuously like in a café.

His company also is considering adding various customer service amenities where apartment staff can do a resident’s dry cleaning, walk the dog, deliver groceries and clean apartments.

Is Parking A Necessary Amenity?

Parking garage

With fewer millennials buying cars, self-driving cars fast approaching and stricter parking ratios, it is becoming more difficult for developers to consider what the appropriate amount of parking is, especially since the wrong answer could have residents looking elsewhere.

“I do think parking is critical,” Gagan said. “You don’t want to miss that. … But you don’t want to build in obsolescence.”

For places along the peninsula and locations not next to a BART line, parking needs to be 1:1, he said.

Projects near BART are considering no parking at all. Dunnigan said he is working on a building in Oakland with 244 units and no parking, but residents can access a parking garage a block away. The complex is right on BART, which could diminish the need for parking. Most of his other projects are considering a mechanical parking or simple lift system.

Incorporating new technology is another challenge. For Gagan, having a public parking spots for car-share services would breach the security of the building. One option Greystar is offering is contracting with GM through its Maven program to offer car-shares that residents can use.