Community living has become more than a collection of dwellings—it’s a means to deliver fulfilling experiences that enhance the quality of life. With the ongoing boom in single and multifamily home construction and master-planned communities, residents are so inundated with housing options that a property must offer more than just an appealing location or architectural design in order to stand out. As a result, lifestyle amenity offerings are factoring into the final decision of where homebuyers and renters want to live, especially when it comes to the luxury and high-end real estate sectors.
Today’s communities of choice offer a gamut of amenities and lifestyle enrichment programs that reflect the contemporary needs and interests of current and prospective residents; ultimately, they are perceived to offer a better way to live. Whether or not a property offers an onsite fitness center, concierge services or a rooftop lounge can easily make or break someone’s decision to invest their money and time in a particular community or property.
There is a prevailing misconception that the more amenities a community offers, the greater the appeal. But there is no guarantee that “if you build it, they will come.” The more successful developers and builders understand that there is an art behind amenity planning, which involves tailoring common lifestyle offerings to the desires of a particular resident demographic.
By designing and promoting lifestyle amenities in a more select way, communities can properly deliver on what prospective owners and renters want to experience in the scope of their daily living—whether it’s robust outdoor activities, social interaction or personal pampering, to name a few.
Another way to tailor amenity planning is by incorporating the interests and features unique to the local market. Communities with lakefront access may feature swimming beaches, canoe and kayak facilities and fishing venues. Conversely, communities in urban areas might extend resident experiences beyond property walls and integrate with the surrounding city by partnering with a local theater company to provide passes or produce exclusive shows instead of building a large clubhouse equipped with a theater. Residents in city centers might also have access to car sharing services that eliminate the need for extra parking spots.
Lifestyle, entertainment and concierge services
The defining factor of many luxury condos are the fun, lifestyle-driven programs that bring residents together. Concierges and lifestyle directors strive to create unique programs that respond to the tastes, interests and social needs of their residents, from lounge parties, wine tastings and guest authors to intimate dinner parties and gala birthday celebrations. Additionally, residents’ lifestyles are elevated by concierge services like appointment setting, reservation making and even the securing of last-minute or hard-to-get tickets to local performances and concerts.
An increasing amount of lifestyle communities and high-rise buildings are adding or renovating their fitness centers, creating state-of-the-art workout spaces that rival some of the best local health and wellness facilities. Additionally, some properties are adding features like resort-style swimming, resistance and infinity pools.
Luxury properties are even finding ways to bring the spa experience in-house. From full-service spas with massage studios to hair salons and other health, beauty and wellness services, residents are attended to from head to toe and can be pampered from the comfort of their own residences.
Social gathering spots
Some communities are starting to expand and enhance community entrances and amenities in order to leave a lasting impression on homebuyers. These enhancements include aesthetically appealing reception areas and adjacent social lounges, coffee bars and similar spaces that foster community interaction and allow residents to socialize with friends and neighbors.
Following the health-conscious movement, sustainable living philosophies has influenced amenity planning. An increasing number of communities are creating forward-thinking, communal offerings such as on-site farms, vineyards, locally sustained restaurants, healthy cooking demonstrations, outdoor and catering kitchens and rooftop or community gardens and greenhouses.
Access to parks, lakes, walking trails and other areas for outdoor recreation continue to be desirable. As a result, communities are leveraging the area’s local topography and delivering amenities unique to that specific geographic region. For example, mountainous communities may give residents access to a local ski hill amenity onsite, while beachfront luxury condos may offer cabana service.
Developers and builders can increase their chances for success by partnering with an experienced management company early on, gaining from their expertise, research and resources on what will work now and in the future to stay on top of the lifestyle trends residents seek to truly enjoy their home life.
Katie Ward is president of Association Consulting Services for FirstService Residential, managing the company’s forward planning and budget consulting division nationwide. She is also executive vice president, community management for FirstService Residential in California.