Large Multifamily Parcels Create Big Impact

December 7, 2020

Many new communities across the country are land-challenged, so developers spend a ton of time and energy trying to maximize every square inch of property. But every now and then, often in urban edge or suburban areas, a site offers more than enough room to accommodate almost any pro forma. For these unique opportunities, our community designers partner with our architects to develop building layouts that will capitalize on all of the additional space these larger parcels afford.

Playing the Long Game

In this Brookfield, WI development, a long, narrow strip of land was sandwiched between an existing commercial center and a nearby creek. The team originally discussed three or four separate buildings stretching the length of the parcel. But to create a more cohesive, connected community atmosphere, they shifted their approach. Instead of multiple buildings, the team designed a single structure that bends and undulates in concert with the land.


By joining two large buildings with an integrated amenity center, they were able to leverage the efficiency of a single, massive podium parking structure. Accessible from each end of the community, the podium allows residents to park close to home regardless of the location of their individual unit. This design also eliminates the need for additional surface parking, which allowed community designers to incorporate a gracious green space that buffers the building from the commercial uses across the street.

Campus Conversion

In the greater Chicago area, developers have been repurposing office buildings and corporate campuses for years, often converting them into new multifamily developments. This site in Schaumburg, IL, once housed the Motorola company’s corporate headquarters, so it has a rich history of commercial activity. The first benefit of a campus conversion like this is the sheer amount of land the developer has to work with.


Multiple phases have been planned for this community, and the first to be completed is this new four-story wrap multifamily apartment building that takes cues from the industrial roots of the area. The design is reminiscent of a warehouse that has been converted to residential. It looks great, but what really drives home an amazing first impression is the amount of outdoor space surrounding and adjacent to the building. The community design team worked with the architects to develop the building plan and sited the structure to take full advantage of views from neighboring conservation areas. The wrap concept and associated wings and ells enabled a massive central courtyard. While many designs like this have just enough room to squeeze in the pool and amenity deck, Element at Veridian offers much more. The entire courtyard is buffered by an expansive lawn, and additional outdoor seating and lounge areas are sited around the corner from the primary entertainment area.

Walking trails have quickly become one of the top five residential amenities in the country, so the community design includes plenty of access from multiple locations throughout the building. The large parcel also enabled a very gracious dog park in close proximity, as well as an art walk on the main boulevard and additional green space buffers around the entire perimeter.

nullThese projects were featured in Volume 10 of our inspire magazine. Check it out here!