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The Next Big Splash in Amenities: Rooftop Pools

Digested From “Apartment Projects Take the Next Step in Amenities With Rooftop Pools”
Wisconsin State Journal (03/01/14) Hickman, Matt

Apartment developers in Wisconsin and elsewhere are offering more and more amenities to attract young urban professionals looking to live in downtown districts. Rooftop swimming pools are emerging as one of the most popular bonuses. Developer Les Orosz, for instance, has proposed a $22.5 million, 12-story apartment building in downtown Madison that will offer a nearly 640-square-foot rooftop pool and what may be the state's first automated valet parking system in which residents drive cars into a container that is then lowered and stored in one of two floors of underground parking. Architect John Sutton says such amenities are "driven by competition. There's a perception that there are a lot of apartments being built. So, why rent here? What's setting us apart from the next guy?"  

At least three other big downtown Madison apartment communities now being built will also have pools, including the 12-story Hub and its roughly 2,000-square-foot rooftop pool plus two hot tubs. While some may be surprised that such an outdoor amenity could be a selling point in cold, frigid Wisconsin, Sutton remarks, "Where are the social spaces you can create? The rooftop is something that is often ignored. It gets a lot of light. It just seems natural to create a rooftop terrace, even in Wisconsin. When summer eventually does come to Wisconsin, we all enjoy it." Such amenities aren't cheap, though. The four-foot-deep pool is adding nearly $400,000 to the cost of the Orosz development.

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