FRIDAY Multifamily Blog Roundup!

New chatter in the multifamily industry blogs this week ranges from eco and exciting to demographically intriguing, and also touches on sound management practices too.

First, let’s get down to green business. According to MultiHousing News blog Chicago’s Flair Tower got the prestigious LEED Silver Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. (Quick recap: LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design; it’s a third-party verification system that ranks buildings for their energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, indoor environmental quality, etc. Remember, boys and girls: Green buildings can increase rental rates, attract savvy tenants [the best kind!], and be cost effective, too. End of recap.) Flair Tower makes the most of its location near public transit lines, a bit of design savvy that gets it sustainability points on the LEED scale. Plus the building was constructed with locally produced and recycled building materials, and has 95 percent daylighting, which according to managers suits happy tenants more than just fine.

On a demographics note, MultiHousing News also reminds us that older Americans – those over 65 – now make up about 13 percent of the U.S. population. Blogger and elderly demographics expert Jack Kern cleverly refers to this demographic group as “Echo Elders,” and shares a few observations about EEs with the rest of us. First, points out Kern, EEs don’t age until age makes them do it; in other words, he says, EEs prefer to deny and defy their biological age until outside factors (e.g. health, insistent family members) force the issue.  I love this feature of the EE generation, and it seems that apartment managers could take the observation as a reminder that EEs don’t necessarily need to be treated differently. It seems that, more than any other generation, EEs want to remain involved and young at heart, and have no intention of fading away into their golden years.

Jack also points out that EEs are still pretty mobile and are happy to have the low-commitment option of renting rather than buying; he makes the point that they’re good renters in all respects, and well-liked in most communities. I’d argue that having mixed generation neighborhoods creates richer social fabric: I just turned 27 and am happy to teach my 60-year-old neighbor how to search for a pilates studio online. In turn, I’m grateful when she shows me how to cut chicken filets with grace and style rather than sweat and tears. Jack pinpoints large luxury kitchens and easy access to vehicle parking and local services as three other attraction features for the EE crowd that property managers would do well to take to heart when designing apartments that appeal to this significant portion of the population.

Finally, the National Apartment Association blog discusses where social activities ought to rank as a priority for property managers. According to this excellent common-sense post, social activities typically don’t make or break any renter’s experience, and as such shouldn’t take up too much of your time; rather, managers were reminded to focus on core priorities of a) being easily available for renters to contact and b) getting requests answered quickly as soon as they’re made. NAA suggests considering allocating funds budgeted to social activities to spend on extra maintenance instead during spring and summer months when air-conditioning use and higher turnover seasons coincide. The benefits of doing so? Satisfied tenants who are happy to re-sign leases when renewal notices arrive in the mail. This can save managers time and resources to help them retain rather than replace residents. The gist of the article is that in busy times, it pays to put a hold on the frills like cocktail hours and focus on your core business of keeping residents happy.

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