For budget-conscious Gen Y renters in Washington, D.C., AvalonBay’s AVA H Street will have a lot to offer. From luxurious amenities and common areas to well-designed units with modern touches and appliances, AvalonBay and its partner KTGY hope to attract younger residents who are looking to stretch their hard-earned dollars. But the company had to be conscious of its own budget when construction began on the project last year. By using innovative (and less expensive) materials AvalonBay was able to keep construction costs down. And  it says that will translate directly to lower rents for residents.

Although the initial planned development started with almost 170 units, AvalonBay instead developed 138 units on the property “by-right” per the existing zoning. It also gave up approved density to construct a wood-frame podium building with underground parking instead of a concrete structured one.

“This enabled us to not only save on structure costs by over 40 percent, but also enabled us to utilize skin materials,” said Jon Cox, senior vice president of development for AvalonBay. “A mix of brick, cementitious siding and metal panel cost less than D.C.’s typical all-brick scheme.”

AvalonBay also selected lower-cost materials including LP FlameBlock Fire-Rated OSB Sheathing to meet Type III wood frame construction code requirements.

“This combines the flame rating we need with the structural performance of OSB,” said Rick Morris, the senior vice president for Avalon Bay. The product is code compliant when used in the exterior walls of Type III construction with a two hour fire rating or less, as well as other one-hour and two-hour wall assemblies and fire-rated roof decks.

Lower costs on construction materials meant the company could afford to experiment with other ideas for AVA H Street’s design.

“AVA units, amenities and architecture have been designed after extensive research on Gen Y preferences,” said Rohit Anand, principal architect for KTGY. “This required designing and sourcing many new interior and exterior finish materials. With the AvalonBay development and construction teams, we designed and built interior components such as floors, barn doors, cabinets, bath and kitchen fixtures and exterior items such as metal panels, cementitious panels and brick, all in edgy bold colors.”

Anand says that keeping rents affordable is the primary goal when appealing to Gen Y. “This is a completely new brand that Avalon Bay has created by focusing on these young, urban social renters,” he says. “Our unit plans, amenities and building design were created with this audience and their preferences for renting in mind ."