Niceties or Necessities? Looking at Amenities in 2021.

February 25, 2021

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Amenities are what make an apartment home or community stand out, and here at #TeamMilhaus, we work to prioritize having some of the best amenities in the business while keeping the resident experience top of mind. From properties with rotating on-site art galleries, bark parks and pet spas to bike storage, fitness centers and resort-style pools, Milhaus puts perks for our residents that enhance their lifestyles at the forefront of our development process. But with COVID-19 changing standard amenity “must-haves,” what new features can we expect to see in 2021 and beyond? Property Managers and Developers at Milhaus share what they are seeing and what the future of amenities holds past COVID-19.

Kalie Jones, Director of Residential Services at Icon at Gallerie in Kansas City, Missouri, has seen a boost in popularity surrounding their outdoor amenities like the Gallerie pool.

“The fitness center and pool have been important during this time so our residents can continue to exercise and get outside during summer,” said Kalie. “The conference room has also been popular as we have many students using the space for online classes, interviews, zoom meetings, and more due to COVID-19 restrictions. The Icon at Gallerie has also adjusted its amenity programming from in-person activities to ‘grab and go’ events or ‘treat drop-offs’ for residents.”

Gallerie Fitness Center

Heather White, Director of Residential Services at HITE and NOTCH in Tampa, Florida, has seen a similar pattern regarding amenities at her properties.

“Our bike room gets the most usage – all the racks are full! Seminole Heights has such a large biking community and residents take full advantage,” said Heather. “In addition to the bike room, outdoor areas like the grill area and pet washing station have seen a lot of use the past year.” 

HITE Bike Room

HITE Outdoor Space

Another Florida-based property, Artistry St. Pete, and Property Manager, Kelly Weems, have seen an additional usage of their maker’s space and co-working spaces.

“Ironically, our maker’s space and the co-working space have received the most usage. At least once a week, someone is using the maker’s space to paint, build or do crafts,” said Kelly. “The co-working space and conference room have at least one person in it daily. With so many people working from home now, it is nice to see people utilizing that space to spread out and get their work done.”

Artistry St. Pete Maker's Room

Moreover, Artistry St. Pete’s co-working space isn’t your typical open concept working area. The property prides itself on providing safe spaces for residents during COVID-19.

“Most people are sold on the co-working area as it is closed off and private for people to be able to work and not be interrupted,” said Kelly. “Our co-working space is the only one of its kind within our immediate competition – the other communities have open rooms, so there is not as much privacy.” 

Artistry St. Pete Private Conference Room

With more residents using the maker’s space and co-working space, Kelly and her team have adapted and implemented conference room reservations so residents can schedule at their convenience. Residents are also taking advantage of the beautiful Florida weather and are utilizing the rooftop deck, seating area around the pool and courtyard for work.

Milhaus Property Managers have seen firsthand how co-working and outdoor spaces are occupied and adapted, and how amenity programming can change during this uncertain time. Additionally, Milhaus Development continues to think about amenities that have attracted residents over the past year and what those will look like in the future. 

“COVID-19 has accelerated design and program changes that were already happening, like dedicated home offices and work-from-home spaces in the unit, better outdoor spaces, and expanding the amount of natural light in units,” said Jake Dietrich, Vice President of Development. “These are things we in development were already considering as value-adds to properties before COVID-19, but as we’ve been cooped up, we see how important they are. COVID-19 accelerated and exacerbated the need as something critical and not just an upsell feature.” 

We won’t see open-air coworking spaces or coffee-shop replications go away, but even in 2021, residents will be a little more selective if and how they choose to occupy those spaces. Not everyone is programmed to work in an office, but they still want light social interaction in that coffee-shop feel.

“From the amenity side, creating pocketed spaces for different small groups to gather is crucial. Any interior or exterior common space that can be separated should be to better facilitate multiple conversations in the same place at the same time,” said Brad Vogelsmeier, Vice President of Development. “We’ve been forced into our own living spaces for so long, and having private spaces is great, but getting a small group together and not being on top of other people will be valuable.”

With more and more people working from home, it’s crucial to have the latest and greatest WIFI and fiber-optics setups in units and common areas moving forward. Also, package delivery systems are being put to the test during COVID-19. Whatever amenity or service was a leg up in the multifamily space before is necessary for residents to live comfortably today.

While COVID-19 has changed the way developers and managers look at amenities and how our residents experience them, it's times like these that our values of innovation and integrity are put to the test. We are committed to doing all that we need to create the most useful, safe and in-demand amenities now and in the future.

2020 was a year of change, but 2021 holds hope for the future! What about your future? Are you interested in Milhaus? Come join our team!