The transformation of apartment equipment
Change is constant in life; “standard” is temporary and “normal” is something we are still trying to figure out. A 20-year-old in 2022 perceives normalcy completely differently than a 20-year-old in the 1980s. And that’s normal.
It’s also completely normal for multi-family property owners and developers to feel pressured to change. Pandemic, changing technology and climate change are current factors of change, and residential communities’ equipment set is usually the first to be updated.
“We spend a lot of time talking to our rental agents and managers to understand who our customer is, what they want today and what they will value in the future,” John Cutrer, CIO, CityStreet Residential PartnersTold Multi-dwelling news. “The feedback we get from them is invaluable – they are on the front lines hearing directly from residents telling us what is popular and what would be helpful. »
How is the equipment landscape changing?
From business centers to coworking spaces
“One of the biggest changes in the new generation of apartments is in the design of our business centers,” Cutrer said.
Space dedicated to work has undergone numerous remodelings in recent years: from entrenched in forgotten nooks, equipped with a few computers and a printer, to a “well-finished but relatively sanitized room”, business centers have regained front of the stage. five years ago, thanks to digital nomads and the concept of open space in office environments. Their redesign included charging ports, modular seating, and tables that doubled as a laptop stand when needed.
Then the pandemic hit, which “sparked a new assessment of how these rooms were actually being used and what our residents wanted,” according to Cutrer. New requirements have again changed the face of business centers, and coworking lounges are equipped with Wi-Fi, printer, coffee bar and private video conferencing rooms, as the working from home became the norm for two whole years (and counting).
“Many more of our residents are now working from home and appreciate the ability to host a meeting on site without having to invite their guests to their apartment. Most people now have their own laptops, so our priority has shifted to providing robust Wi-Fi instead of sleek computers,” Cutrer said.
Former communal workspaces have again become private spaces, which in some communities are used by reservation as residents need privacy for calls or meetings. They now have built-in desks with lamps and outlets and window views.
From Internet access to private Wi-Fi networks
While on the one hand, remote work involves strong internet and mobile connectivity with sufficient power sources, an increasing number of home appliances are internet-dependent, from vacuum cleaners to home assistants.
So, if not so long ago, Internet access was the standard attraction for tech users, now it’s password-protected Wi-Fi networks available only to living residents ( and working) in the community. Residents now expect to connect to the Wi-Fi network without a problem and have fees included in the rent, instead of waiting for the Internet user to show up and install their router.
From the gym to virtual fitness classes and streaming services
Exercise helps us stay fit and promote mental health. Thus, being able to do our workouts at home, or close to home, has never been more desired than during the pandemic.
To respect social distancing measures during the worst months of the pandemic, some communities have invested in an on-site equipment reservation system to reserve gyms, but also swimming pools and even elevators. Some communities have invested in virtual fitness classes, accessible from the on-site fitness center or residents’ apartments.
From AC thermostats to smart HVAC thermostats
HVAC is the upgraded version of the AC (air conditioning) system, which in addition to cooling the air can also heat it (during the cold season) and provide ventilation to allow moisture to escape. A smart HVAC system acts like a building automation system, allowing occupants to control the temperature of the room or workspace and pairs seamlessly with other technologies.
From assigned parking to electric charging stations
Until recently, reserved parking and private garages were high on residents’ convenience checklist (everyone is afraid of towing service), as were nearby transportation options. The latter has remained as important, but the former has “modernized” its appearance: more and more people are switching from cars with internal combustion engines to electric cars, which means that there is a growing demand for charging stations private electricity.
Cutrer explained that “our previous generation of developments included wiring to accommodate a resident supplied electric car charger in some of the private garages. This is no longer enough. Electric and hybrid vehicles are becoming more widespread and these vehicles often need to be charged at home. We provide electric car chargers in our new developments so that residents can park in a parking space and charge their car, whether overnight for a full charge or to recharge their battery for half an hour.
This upgrade is not easy, involving a lot of preliminary work on the property’s wiring to meet the heavier electrical demand, according to Cutrer.
“There is a significant cost to us in providing this equipment,” Cutrer said. “But we see it as a vital part of our development and its appeal to our residents.”