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Meeting Demand for the Great Outdoors

As amenities move outside, land, design and technology requirements could change.

As outdoor amenities grow in popularity, apartment developers, owners and managers may need to rethink many of their assumptions around the spaces they build or renovate and the services they offer.

The changes could start in the nascent stages of producing an apartment community: Buying the land.

“With more outdoor amenities growing in popularity and in size, multifamily leaders and developers have had to find properties that can fit this need,” says Chapin Bell, CEO of Scottsdale, Az.,-based apartment developer and manager P.B. Bell. “This often means prioritizing properties that offer more land.”

The design of apartment spaces may also need to change. “Multifamily leaders have to lose some density in terms of units in order to create space for these amenities,” Bell says.

Beyond site selection and construction, tech will also play a considerable role with outdoor amenities. “We see a huge emphasis on high-speed Wi-Fi as the number one amenity,” says Joe Lubeck, CEO of Tampa-based American Landmark, an apartment owner and manager. “I think that will continue. I think more people are going to work from home. As apartment managers, we need to accommodate that.”

Bell says Wi-Fi and charging tables are essential if people want to work outside. “For the outdoor workspaces, Wi-Fi that is accessible, fast and reliable is a necessity in order for residents to be able to effectively utilize these amenities. As more residents enjoy the outdoor spaces, the need for additional charging stations at the pools, common areas and workspaces has skyrocketed.”

Atlanta-based apartment owner, manager and developer RangeWater has always focused on strong Wi-Fi service around its amenities, the pool and leasing areas.

“Over the past year, we’ve had to really enhance our community-wide technology packages,” says Carl Walton, Director of Innovation at RangeWater. “Strong, dependable Wi-Fi anywhere on property is a necessity.”

Les Shaver is a freelance writer.