Although the vast majority of common-area spaces were closed at the beginning of the pandemic, the apartment amenities race hasn’t slowed. And now that work-from-home and remote work models have become the new norm, multifamily operators are also looking to adapt.
At first, most property managers focused on marketing outdoor spaces to attract prospects. But now a new type of amenity is taking center stage: Rooms for creating photo, video and audio content for TikTok, YouTube and other social media platforms.
From internet stars to micro-influencers, content creators—especially Gen Zers and Millennials—are growing in number faster than ever, so it comes as no surprise that amenities that cater to them are growing in popularity.
Insta or it didn’t happen
For Mary Cook, founder of Mary Cook Associates, it’s vital to create engaging spaces that resonate with the end user. This is why, when designing Dey & Bergen, a 242-unit Millennial-focused community in Harrison, N.J., she knew she had to speak this generation’s language.
“We took the speakeasy concept and inside the speakeasy we put a 1964 Bugeye Sprite convertible. We had it perfectly restored. We knew that creating an Instagram moment for this demographic would be right on target for them,” Cook told Multi-Housing News in the August episode of the “Mission Success: Women in Multifamily” podcast.
Developed by BNE Real Estate Group, Dey & Bergen includes 45,000 square feet of amenity that includes lounges, coworking areas and a movie screen. But the vintage Bugeye Sprite is the centerpiece. All the residents want to use it as a background for their Instagram posts.
Next level concepts
Alongside standard amenities such as pools or firepits, podcasting studios, video rooms and soundproof spaces for recording and producing content are popping up in new projects. These spaces are a major draw for Gen Zers—the largest generation in American history, comprising 27 percent of the U.S. population, according to Pew Research—who are very interested in consuming and producing user-generated content on social media.
Even though they’re interested in producing content, Gen Z is also concerned about privacy, which makes these social media-friendly rooms highly desired and utilized, according to Angela Nash, manager with REACH by RentCafé. “They rely heavily on social media as their baseline of connection and staging for those interactions is important to them,” she said. “The last thing they want is a roommate popping up in the background.”
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Premier, an interior design and architecture firm, is working on a project in Hollywood, Calif., that includes several amenities designed to cater to the creative social media residents in the building.
“Our design team created a ‘blank room’ that could be utilized for a multitude of things. You could use the space as a photo studio, a place for social media pics and videos, and/or convert that same room to a yoga or barre studio,” said Ryan Kimura, senior vice president of strategic partnerships at Premier. In addition, the building will include a sound studio where residents can record music or podcasts.
Extra perk or deciding factor?
Many of these amenities are great for Millennials and GenZers. According to Kimura, having these spaces in the building means residents don’t need to rent additional studio space. These spaces will be in high demand among renters who make their living through social media.
While these spaces will never replace classic amenities such as swimming pools or gyms, they will be a nice addition to a community’s amenity package. And, according to Nash, video and audio production spaces can work as a retention perk and a strong lure for new renters.