Here’s a little test of your multifamily development IQ: Which one of the following amenities is top ranked by renters?

A. Smart thermostat
B. Amazon lockers
C. Rooftop terrace
D. Gated access
E. Hardwood floors
F. Shuttle to public transportation

Perhaps to no one’s surprise, the answer is D, gated access.

The preference for gated access speaks volumes about the basic priorities of most renters. Matters as simple as controlled ingress and egress and managing who comes and goes from the community really do matter. In fact, according to the 2017 NMHC/Kingsley Associates Apartment Resident Preferences Report, you can even place a price tag on gated peace of mind: $33.52/month. Only a community swimming pool and parking are valued higher.

Few understand that better than Dwayne Flournoy, the director of operations for Florida-based Cornerstone Residential Management. Cornerstone is a vertically integrated multifamily owner and operator, with more than 75 apartment communities spread across 25 Florida cities, representing 15,000 units. Most of Cornerstone’s communities feature gated access.

Flournoy, a former senior level law enforcement official, began his Cornerstone duties about two years ago. He likes the company’s emphasis on quality of life, including gate access. At issue was a myriad assortment of access control platforms. The disparate roster created an assortment of management headaches, not the least being a uniform approach to staff training.

“The question was asked, ‘Could we improve access control and not be quite as reliant on low-voltage integrators?’” Flournoy recalls. “I approached the owners with the idea of a standardized solution.”

Flournoy saw several reasons why a federated approach would pay dividends for renters, staff, and ownership:

  • Training Simplicity. A multi-platform approach meant expertise across up to a half-dozen systems and the complexity that represented. Flournoy reasoned a single-source solution would simplify and speed staff training. “If the staff is successful, the company is successful,” says Flournoy.
  • Staff Control. “The staff now has control of platform features you once had to ask the integrator to perform, like adding a credential, setting up door access, or an alert,” Flournoy says.
  • Fast Implementation. Flournoy figures about a two-hour turnaround to activate the LiftMaster Access Control System that the Cornerstone team selected, after carefully reviewing leading platforms. “Literally, once the integrator sets up the LiftMaster system, I go in and do my setup part in about 90 minutes. In about 20 minutes the entire staff is trained.”
  • Continuous Improvement. Standardizing on one platform multiplied the influence Flournoy and his team have in collaboration on system enhancements, like adding elevators as an access control point.
  • Today Cornerstone has standardized close to 30 new and rehabbed properties on the LiftMaster Access Control System powered by myQ software. The effect was immediate. For Flournoy, the new functionality, scalability, and analytic capability was transformative. The LiftMaster suite of control access products, including gate control with radio-frequency identification (RFID) car tags and fobs, has proven valuable. “LiftMaster is a great partner. They’re very proactive and responsive to any system question,” Flournoy says.

“Residents are appreciative,” observes Flournoy. “They see the lifestyle investments we’re making in their community. It shows our commitment to all new and established residents.”

Learn more about how standardizing your properties on a single access control platform benefits residents, staff, and all stakeholders.