20A — April 24 - May 14, 2015 — Spring Preview — M id A tlantic
Real Estate Journal
A rchitecture /M ulti -F amily
f you are an architect or developer trying to succeed in the multi-fam- By Michael S. McCloskey, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Bernardon Haber Holloway Architects The young and the restless: Tailoring your Multi-Family product to the right demographics I tinue at a healthy, sustainable level into 2016 and beyond. style with hospitality-inspired services and high-end ameni- ties.
chase long-term housing. They prefer to rent smaller units, having not accrued a lifetime worth of personal possessions. But similar to empty-nesters, they place a high priority on urban locations and building amenities. For years we have specifi- cally designed products tai- lored to one age group at a time. But with both of these groups flocking to the high-end multifamily products available today, the new reality is this: it is now essential to design environments that please both groups simultaneously.
The key to tackling this challenge lies in offering multi- family developers, clients, and end users a flexible approach. Our firm, Bernardon Haber Holloway Architects , starts with a baseline “module” of a relatively small square footage – not unlike the “micro-units” that have cropped up in many urban pockets to target Mil- lennials. Our modules can be multi- plied and combined in order to accommodate zoning con- straints and provide larger unit options for empty-nesters. This provides developers with a realistic, quick yield of their site and allows them to “slice the cake” as needed to reach all of their target demographics. We also recognize the shared demands of these two groups – urban locations and amenities. Currently under construction in one of the fastest-growing urban pockets outside of Phila- delphia is Chestnut Square, a 205 unit, Type A+ product in downtownWest Chester, Penn- sylvania. Bernardon Haber Holloway Architects designed Chestnut Square to include such amenities as a hotel-style lobby, a cyber café, fitness cen- ter, expansive social, dining and cooking spaces, a media- centric environment, and an enclosed outdoor courtyard with recreation areas. The multi-family market is poised to keep growing up- wards and outwards. In just five years, our firm has gone from 205 units designed to now approximately 3,500 units in design or under construction. We are also leading the charge in applying the amenity- inspired products already seen in today’s high-end multi-fam- ily designs to other residential markets. Student housing and senior living communities have begun to mimic the amenity- filled, hospitality-styled envi- ronments of the latest apart- ments and condominiums. In this new wave of multi- family, “urban luxury” is no longer limited to the big cit- ies. From now on, we have to be ready to provide high-end, rental-ready living anywhere and, perhaps as an even bigger challenge, to anyone. Michael S. McCloskey, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, is an Associate Principal at Bernardon Haber Hollo- way Architects and an ad- junct professor at Drexel University. n
This growth is often attrib- uted to the growing demand among the Millennial genera- tion, working adults between the ages of 20 and 35 that Freddie Mac describes as “a crucial engine for multifamily performance.” However, there is another critical demographic in the multi-family game. Individuals between the ages of 50 and 65, who often have children who have recently “left the nest,” have become equally drawn to the concept of a new urban life-
ily market, here’s a tip: you are not just design- ing for Mil- lennials any- more. Architects are already aware that demand for
These empty-nesters are willing to pay a premium for larger, upscale units located in the trendiest urban pockets where the urban fabric itself – the restaurants, the retail scene, even the night life – is an amenity. They are still ac- tive, working adults, many of whom are years away from transitioning into a retirement community. In contrast, Millennials are often single or dating, and in many cases are hesitant to pur-
Michael S. McCloskey
the development of rental apartments and condominiums has grown immensely in recent years, and it is expected to con-
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