Michele Scotto Trani

1. Amenity Envy

Despite decreasing vacancies, apartment developers continue to include the latest amenities because renters have come to expect them. Dallas-based Mill Creek Residential Trust followed this philosophy in developing Metro 303 with a clubhouse that features a fitness center with cardio theater and a separate, oversized lounge with eight TVs, game tables, fireplace, bar-style café, Wi-Fi, and stations to plug in iPads and iPhones.

2. Gold Standard

The building was constructed to meet the standards of the LEED for Homes Mid-Rise program and is expected to achieve Gold certification. Its many green features include a transit-oriented location; brick façade and other locally sourced, recycled, or environmentally friendly materials; low-emission adhesives, sealants, and paints; high-efficiency plumbing; and more. The most innovative feature may be the construction of stormwater chambers beneath the building, since 95 percent of the site is covered.

3. Open Air

To give the units their modern edginess, Ehasz Giacalone Architects in Farmingdale, N.Y., designed them in an open, loft style with 9- or 10-foot-high ceilings and balconies, patios, or Juliet railings. Wood touches, including cabinets, plank–style flooring, and paneled walls, add warmth. Units range from 623-square-foot studios to 1,600-square-foot three-bedrooms. Cameron Engineering & Associates of Woodbury, N.Y., designed two intimate courtyards outdoors.

4. Transit Friendly

Located within walking distance of train and bus service to other parts of Long Island and New York City, the property is in the center of a bustling suburban downtown featuring multiple shops and services. In addition, there is growing demand for luxury rental apartments, says Maria Rigopoulos, managing director at Mill Creek. “This is a very dense, mature part of Nassau County [that] developed after World War II with single-family homes. But nowadays, not everybody wants that type of housing,” she says.

5. Split Personality

Chicago-based designer Rene Pabon of Childs Dreyfus furnished the interior of the building to appeal to its mixed demographic of young professionals and empty-nesters. Pabon carried through the same contemporary aesthetic in the lobby and hallways with a dark palette of mostly cobalt blues, grays, and blacks mixed with crisp whites. Outside, architect Giacalone used small setbacks, random brick and vinyl siding, and a rounded corner section to lend architectural intimacy.