In Part One of my three-part series, I covered general space function and actual unit design. Quality apartment living starts with the individual unit. For me, unit design is very important since it affects the place I call home – and where I spend most of my time. However, amenities and other external spaces also impact the daily multifamily experience – for better or worse. Being a full-time remote employee, I spend a lot of time in and around my building and have some insight about how amenity areas function.
AMENITY SPACES THAT WILL ACTUALLY BE USED
The closing of amenity spaces has been a bummer because we decided to pay a little more to rent in this community because of its great amenities. Amazing spaces to gather and entertain are a bonus that we use occasionally, but the amenities we truly used and will continue to use are workspaces. One of the co-working spaces (pictured left) offers a printer, coffee machine, TV, fireplace and cozy booths that provide the right amount of privacy so we can zone in on work while still feeling connected to the world. These spaces are only open to a limited number of residents right now, and although you have to wear masks, people are still using them. Anything to get out of the apartment every once in a while is worth it to many renters.
Another amenity that is critical and heavily used (and deeply missed while closed) is the 24-hour gym. I have lived in apartments with gym hours ending at 10 p.m., and although I am typically in bed by 9 (yes, I’m 65 years old at heart), I have friends who work night shifts as nurses and appreciate when the gym is 24-hours. It’s more inclusive to all lifestyles and doesn’t take much for management to implement!
Our cleaning staff has been awesome during COVID and I hope their additional effort continues well after. They sanitize all door handles, railings and elevator buttons every hour and deep clean the gym multiple times a day. It makes me feel much safer knowing they are staying on top of the cleaning process.
During COVID, I’ve learned first-hand about the value of an efficient package delivery system in multifamily communities. Online shopping has exploded and will continue to grow rapidly. I rarely even step foot into a grocery store now. With the convenience of ordering online and getting it dropped at my door, what’s the point? But with all of the online shopping and ensuing packages, our system got messy fast.
The photo to the right is our package system. With 246 units, it’s not nearly big enough. This image shows it fairly well organized, but you usually can’t walk through the room very easily. In the thick of COVID, our community was using a makeshift package organization system in a closed amenity space, organized by floor, but it didn’t always work. Packages have been stolen, buried or just lost in the mess of it all. I have spent a solid 15 minutes digging for a package to realize it’s not there.
A large and well-organized package system is a MUST for apartment design moving forward. In our recent projects at BSB Design, we’ve been incorporating multiple package rooms throughout one design, as well as “cold delivery” areas and a recycling center on each floor and near the package room so residents can break down boxes right then and there. My current building completed construction in 2018, but like many other communities, it is already behind for innovative packaging systems.
Not only is a great package delivery system a must, but so is a secure location for renters to drop off UPS/USPS packages to be picked up as well. In my current building, there’s no one great way to do it. Packages can be left outside your apartment door or mailbox with the risk of someone walking by and swiping them, or we sometimes give them to management to deliver. Regardless, it’s confusing and time consuming to both renters and the individual picking up the mail. If there were one solution with a secure location near the package room now, it would run much more smoothly for all parties involved.
Taking it another step further, I’ve seen some apartment buildings incorporate a donation center where residents can drop off donations and other goods that are then taken to Goodwill or other charitable organizations. This would be SO convenient, as I am guilty of putting bags and bags in my trunk to drop off, only for them to take up space and annoy me for the next 6 months (we’ve all been there – don’t lie).
In the last part of my three-part series, I’ll be covering parking garage flow and garbage chute systems that pass the pizza box check. Stay tuned!
Have questions or comments? Email me to start the conversation!