The sun is shining, the beach is calling, and the kids are out of school. … It must be summer! And that means it's time to head outdoors and enjoy all that Mother Nature has to offer.
At multifamily properties, the first stop is often the community recreation areas. These are an important amenity for almost all residents, whether they're families with small children, single professionals, or older adults living on fixed-incomes. Most residents are increasingly interested in living in projects that boast fun and attractive recreation areas, including barbecues, resort-style pools, cabanas, basketball courts, and playgrounds for young children.
“There is a great demand for outside recreation areas, and the warm weather attracts many people to outdoor activities,” says Lynn Schmid, community development director for Chelsea Investment Corp., a Carlsbad, Calif.-based apartment developer and owner that has invested in its outdoor amenities.
From a garden-style apartment complex with acres of walking trails to a high-rise condo building with a rooftop pool, multifamily owners across the nation are finding unique and creative ways to satisfy their residents' demand for on-site, outdoor fun.
Chelsea Investment, for example, has designed barbecue and picnic areas at many of its communities across the Southwest. The company has installed stainless steel, built-in gas barbecues so residents don't have to bring their own charcoal. The picnic areas, which include trees and trellises that protect residents from heat and sun, often host monthly resident functions and events.
Additionally, Chelsea Investment has created “tot lots” with high-end play equipment and shaded areas with benches so parents can supervise their children and talk with other moms and dads. The benches and playground equipment are made from recycled plastic and are attractive to various age groups, says Scott Hedenkamp, head of Carlsbad, Calif.-based Hedenkamp Architecture, which designs most of Chelsea Investment's projects.
For example, the Evos outdoor play system from Delano, Minn.-based Landscape Structures is designed to encourage healthy physical activity. The Evos line is made of materials that are both durable and safe for children.
“Outdoor recreation areas can help create a sense of community,” Schmid says, adding that residents who feel a connection to the community are more likely to stay put.