Your guide to emerging build-to-rent amenities

Posted on November 19, 2022
This excerpt was originally featured in the November 2022 issue of Colorado Real Estate Journal’s Multifamily Properties Quarterly and was authored by Norris Design Principal Jared Carlon, PLA and KEPHART Project Manager Kellen Kyger.

It’s no secret that build-to-rent communities have gained tremendous traction in recent years and that developers are still perfecting the formula for a successful community. In a
post-pandemic world and an ever-changing real estate market, offering more from a living experience has become a necessity. Renters want variety, flexibility and the convenience
of having as many needs as possible met at home – and they are willing to pay more for it. In the 2022 Resident Survey by NMHC and Grace Hill, renters suggested that they are willing to pay up to $43 per month for amenity spaces including a pool and fitness center, among others.

To select the right amenity package, it’s essential to first understand the end user. Amenity spaces created throughout the design process should be considerate of who will be utilizing them and how. Getting to know potential renters by understanding their wants, needs and desires will help you identify the types of amenities that will attract them and, ultimately, deliver their desired living experience. Below are several examples of lifestyle, wellness and community-centric amenity spaces that will bring value and identity to your build-torent community and create an ideal living environment for future residents.

  • Lifestyle spaces: Build-to-rent communities can accommodate a wide range of renters – from single professionals looking for a yard for their dog; to young families saving for home ownership who need space for their kids to play; to empty nesters chasing a lock-and-leave lifestyle. With such a diverse renter pool, it’s important to design an amenity package that acknowledges renters in different phases of life without overlooking their similar expectations for thoughtful amenities. To accommodate such a diverse group, be mindful of the lifestyles that they seek. Consider including features like a business center, which creates a convenient, quiet space to work for those who can do so remotely. Pairing this space with a public coffee bar takes the concept one step further, creating a comfortable meeting space and driving community connection. Include parks, playgrounds, pickleball courts, golf simulators and community pools for residents who seek an active, outdoor lifestyle while also looking to connect with their neighbors. These lifestyle spaces should be centrally located within the community and easily accessible to all renters.
  • Spaces that promote health, wellness and safety: From a safe and well-lit sidewalk to walk a dog, to a fitness center large enough to forego a gym membership, residents want amenities that allow them to pursue a healthy lifestyle in a safe manner and a convenient location. Examples include rooftop yoga, juice bars, connections to trail systems and nearby parks, private side yards, outdoor exercise stations, climbing walls, bocce ball courts, swimming pools with lap lanes and floor plans that include an abundance of natural light and private outdoor space.
  • Community-centric spaces: Over the last two years, we’ve been reminded of how imperative human connection is to our happiness. While build-to-rent communities appeal to those seeking more private space, it is still vital to include areas that lend themselves to community gatherings and promote connection between residents. Food truck courts, music pavilions, festival streets and woonerfs, demonstration kitchens, neighborhood breweries and community gardens offer that connection. They also offer an opportunity to create a brand identity for the community. Unique features, like the great lawn and food truck court at Birdsong at Alamo Ranch, make this buildto -rent community memorable by creating a fun and special place for residents to gather. The programming of these community spaces is also essential to their success and use. Regular scheduling of social gatherings like trivia nights or wine tastings activate spaces and build community among neighbors. As you consider amenities to plug into your build-to-rent formula, start with considering who will live there and what amenities will bring value and ease to their lives. Prioritizing convenience, health and wellness, and connection are a sure-fire way to create a community that renters will want to call home.