So, he took a look at his own family and decided to build a place where they would all feel welcome. The 62-year old Morris surveyed his six children, who range in age from 23 to 32, to find common ground between his Baby Boomer values and their Millennial and Gen Y expectations.
The brainstorming resulted in the development of The Hermitage, an eight-story apartment building designed to attract both demographics of renters to coexist in downtown St. Petersburg, Fla.
“The idea is not to target a specific age group but to design it for people that like art and fitness and other common interests,” he says. “It should attract a broad range of people.”
Morris’ Coral Gables, Fla.-based company, Allen Morris Residential, will develop the apartment building on two acres of undeveloped land, an entire city block in St. Petersburg. The building drew design inspiration from, and is named after, The State Hermitage Museum, one of the world's oldest and largest art museums, located in St. Petersburg, Russia.
The lobby of the building will include an art gallery while other works will be featured throughout the community. A common area on the penthouse floor will also honor legendary Florida landscape artist A.E. Backus and feature some large reproductions of his work, Morris says.
In addition to emphasizing art, the building will also be fitness-focused. The Hermitage will be located near the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail, which runs more than 30 miles through St. Petersburg up to Tarapon Springs. Each of his children indicated fitness was an essential part of any community: one of his kids enjoys cross-fit workouts while another likes to run marathons.
“That’s not age specific,” he says. “Anyone who is interested in fitness and wants to be near the Pinellas Trail will want to live here.”
A bike service center and special storage area will also be included in the development since the trail is designed for both running and biking.
Another thing he and his children have in common is a love of gourmet food.
“I happen to have a bunch of foodies in my family and so we are putting really nice stainless steel appliances,” he says. “Not pseudo-stainless steel or cheap appliances, but ones I would use and my kids would want.”
Some units will feature gourmet kitchens and the rooftop will have a grilling area complete with a chef-ready show kitchen.
“Chefs from the local area can put on demonstrations and create a really nice social environment for people to mix and mingle,” Morris says.
The plan is to build a mixture of studio, one- and two-bedroom units to appeal to students, local workers and hospital staff. Builders will break ground later this year and are scheduled for completion in late 2015.
Lindsay Machak is an Associate Editor for Multifamily Executive. Connect with her on Twitter @LMachak.