When a property hasn't been updated since it was built more than 25 years ago, it's an understatement to say there's a lot of catching up to do.
Such was the case of Saddle Ridge in Ashburn, Va., which underwent a $1.7 million renovation to bring forth a more modern look to units that hadn't been updated since they were built in the late 1980's.
The team at the Bainbridge Companies came up with a comprehensive plan to revamp common area amenities while updating the interior touches inside units, Seth Kalinsky says. Kalinsky, president of Wellington, Fla.-based Bainbridge, says about 70 percent of the units have been renovated since the project began in 2011. And when the first 10 renovated units hit the market, they were all leased in less than a month.
“It was never renovated before,” he says. “Nothing was ever done to it since 1988, so we knew there was an extremely high demographic in that submarket that would be willing to pay for a nice, upgraded apartment in Ashburn, Va.”
Kitchens and bathrooms underwent full fixture upgrades while wood laminate flooring was also added into each space.
But the motivation for the project wasn’t to compete with the kind of luxury class A product currently saturating the Virginia suburbs and Washington, D.C.-metro area, Kalinsky says.
“We still want to show a great value for your money, but at a solid B+ asset,” he says. “We understand the market and want to truly give a product that will work in that market. Compared to the class A properties that might charge $500 more in rents for the high-end products, we would rather be the top B asset in the submarket.”
And while the company spent about $6,200 per unit on interior upgrades, the common area amenities were just as essential; it cost about $1,800 per unit to upgrade the clubhouse and other common areas.
When the 216-unit property was built in 1988, spa areas were really popular, so the clubhouse included a large spa-space overlooking the pool area. Coming into the new Millenium, that space wasn’t being used, so developers created a gym and then added grills and cooking spaces near the pool to create a fully-functional multi-purpose activity center.
Meanwhile, the parking areas were spruced up with additional light and a dog park was added to the community. The common-area amenity upgrades were important to the curb appeal for potential residents, Kalinsky says.
“If you don’t have something great to show the prospective [resident] that is coming through the door, then we can’t get them into the interior to see the unit,” he says.
Lindsay Machak is an Associate Editor for Multifamily Executive. Connect with her on Twitter @LMachak.