That’s how many members of Gen Y will hit their prime renting years in a steady stream over the next decade or so. And this tech-savvy, diverse demographic is not always easy to please. But developers have been creative over the past 12 to 24 months in designing properties geared toward capturing the hearts and minds of this voluminous generation.
Often, the resulting products are more high-end hotel than traditional apartment building. As developers continue to balance smaller units with more expansive common areas and luxury amenities, here’s a look at some smartly designed properties being built across the country with Gen Y renters in mind.
Broadstone Blake Street, Denver
DEVELOPER: Alliance Residential Co.
ARCHITECT: Parikh Stevens Architects
NOTABLE DESIGNS: Street-level access to units; views onto Coors Field; a brick façade that mirrors the stadium’s exterior; a putting green Young, professional, competitive, and male. That’s who Andy Clay, managing director of development for Phoenix-based Alliance Residential, envisions living in Denver’s new Broadstone Blake Street property, which is being built directly across the street from Coors Field.
Although Blake Street is located in a historic district where developers have traditionally shied away from street-level access to units, architect Harsh Parikh, president of Denver-based Parikh Stevens Architects, took a different approach.
“In our minds, this more urban, younger demographic has fewer security concerns and more of a desire to engage with the street,” says Parikh. “I can see some residents jumping out their front door and getting on their bikes for work or exercise, and, on game days, opening their doors and letting the noise and energy enter in.”
That game-day energy translated to other design considerations, as Blake Street features the same exterior brick as the stadium and is built in scale with the rest of the neighborhood. And renters can save on ball game tickets: The development will feature a rooftop deck where residents can enjoy a view onto the field, and some of the mezzanine units look directly down into the stadium. Other amenities include a putting green and a massive fitness center with cross-training options.
“What we want to do is strike a good balance,” Clay says. “Generally, [these amenities] appeal to men but are attractive to women, as well, without alienating potential female residents.”
Broadstone KOI, Seattle
DEVELOPER: Alliance Residential Co.
ARCHITECT: Nicholson Kovalchick Architects
NOTABLE DESIGNS: iPod/cell phone charging stations in each unit; connectivity kiosks in the lobby; internal Craigslist service; LEED Silver certifi cation; green rooftop deck Phoenix-based Alliance Residential is hoping to target Seattle’s Gen Y tech geeks and give them a hip new housing option with its Broadstone Koi property. Located on the eastern edge of the Ballard neighborhood, one of the hottest rental markets in Seattle, Koi’s residents will settle into a prime location with a straight route to the University of Washington or downtown to work, says architect Brandon Nicholson, principal at locally based Nicholson Kovalchick Architects.
Because many potential residents work at Google in nearby Kirkland, Wash., or Seattle-based Amazon.com, Alliance wants the building to be as high-tech as possible. Entryways in each unit will have a built-in iPod/cell phone charging station. There will be connectivity stations in the lobby, similar to airport kiosks, where residents can pay their rent and have access to an internal Craigslist to sell and buy furniture. The leasing office will utilize iPads to show potential renters around the property.
“The most important thing for renters today is to be in touch at all times,” says Suzi Morris, Alliance’s director of development for the Pacific Northwest Division.
The building will also be LEED Silver certified and will feature large courtyards and a green rooftop deck. The project is expected to be completed next year.
Union Wharf, Baltimore
DEVELOPER: The Bozzuto Group
DESIGN CONSULTANT: Ziger/Snead ArchitectsArchitect: Hord Coplan Macht
NOTABLE DESIGNS: Miami-style pool courtyard; hotel-inspired lounge; cyber café; yoga and kickboxing rooms Union Wharf in Baltimore may be as far off an environment from Miami’s South Beach as anywhere, but Jeff Kayce, vice president at Greenbelt, Md.–based developer Bozzuto Group, says elements of its design will bring a bit of heat to Baltimore’s harbor for the city’s influx of Gen Y residents.
Located in the Fells Point neighborhood, Union Wharf uses materials true to the historic area, including concrete, masonry, steel, and wood.
“The architecture is intended to invoke a sense of permanence and authenticity that is typical of the historical Fells Point context,” Kayce says. But the property will be strikingly modern in design and will wrap 12,000 square feet of unenclosed amenities around a long pool courtyard that Kayce describes as reminiscent of South Beach hotels such as Delano, blurring the interior and exterior spaces.
There’s a hotel-inspired lobby lounge featuring a cyber café and a large fitness center with yoga and kickboxing rooms running along the full length of the courtyard.
Kayce says the double-height clubroom was designed as a transparent “jewel box,” with a massive interior/exterior fireplace and views to the harbor in one direction and the pool in the other, plus two walls that open completely to the courtyard.
Units feature large windows and balconies and terraces overlooking the water. The building is scheduled to be LEED Gold certified. Bozzuto expects construction to finish in November 2013.
Monroe Street Market, Washington D.C.
DEVELOPER: The Bozzuto Group
ARCHITECT: KTGY Group/Maurice Walters Architect
NOTABLE DESIGNS: Community arts center; numerous lounge and café areas; yoga studio; outdoor bar; public plazas; focus on walkability The Bozzuto Group’s new mixed-use development Monroe Street Market is slated to be finished by 2016. But the Greenbelt, Md.–based company hopes that by that time, the massive property—featuring 720 units, 45 townhomes, 83,000 square feet of retail, a 3,000-square-foot community arts center, and 850 parking spaces—will be enough to help revitalize the landscape of Washington, D.C.’s, Brookland neighborhood and Catholic University campus.
Monroe Street Market is part of the university’s south campus redevelopment plan, which will improve the walkability of the area and surrounding neighborhood. Mike Henehan, who’s leading the development for Bozzuto, says the plan is designed to appeal to Gen Y renters, including college students, as well as a variety of other age demographics.
Amenities include numerous lounge and café areas, as well as two fitness centers, a yoga studio, terraced swimming pool, art studio, study, and outdoor bar. In addition to the interior amenity spaces, the project will provide two large public plazas with water features and an outdoor stage.
“Similar to Union Wharf, we feel these distinct designs, ranging from an industrial-warehouse feel to a more formal, flat-iron–style building, will help the project appeal to a wide range of residents,” Henehan says.
The first construction phase includes 562 residential units and is scheduled to be completed next year.
Arista Uptown, Broomfield, Colo.
DEVELOPER: Smith/Jones Partners
ARCHITECT: KTGY Group
NOTABLE DESIGNS: “Apple meets Starbucks” business center; dog park; quartz countertops; 11,000-square-foot courtyard Irvine, Calif.–based architectural firm KTGY Group’s newest property, Arista Uptown, is situated in Broomfield, Colo., halfway between Denver and Boulder.
Although typical Gen Y renters are sticking to city living, Nathan Sciarra, project manager at KTGY, thinks Broomfield is the perfect location for those looking for a lifestyle that’s both urban and suburban, community oriented, and pedestrian-friendly all at the same time.
The property is designed with outdoor-friendly Colorado in mind. The units are small, not only to drive the price down, but also to encourage people to get out of their apartments. “Smaller square footage and bedrooms encourage people to spend less time inside and get outside,” Sciarra says.
And Arista Uptown has plenty of Gen Y–friendly amenities for residents who do decide to leave their apartments, including an 11,000-square-foot courtyard that contains a pool and cabanas, a dog park, and a fitness center that Sciarra says rivals any gym in the area. He describes the informal business center as where “Apple meets Starbucks,” because it was designed as more of a lounge than a formal office.
The 272-unit property is expected to start pre-leasing this month. And Sciarra says luxury amenities speak for themselves when it comes time for Gen Y residents to sign leases. “It has a lot to do with finishes, like quartz countertops, for example,” he says. “It’s that upgraded level of finish that makes them feel like they’ve achieved something, that makes them feel like they’ve reached that next level.”