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  • Writer's pictureRealFacts Editorial Team

As Summer Heats Up, Apartment Properties Offer Outdoor Fun

apartment amenities

As the Fourth of July holiday nears and temperatures soar across the country, apartment residents seek opportunities to stay cool while enjoying the outdoors. For investors in multifamily properties, this demand represents a golden opportunity to optimize investments by enhancing outdoor amenities. By expanding the possibilities of exterior spaces, investors can attract and retain tenants, ultimately boosting property values and rental income.

Enhancing Outdoor Amenities: The Key to Resident Satisfaction

Modern multifamily properties are moving beyond basic outdoor offerings. Designers, owners, and operators are improving staples like pools and lounge areas, adding unique attractions, bringing traditional indoor amenities outside, and creating indoor-outdoor spaces that residents can enjoy year-round. These enhancements not only elevate the resident experience but also create a competitive edge in the market.

Strategic Pool Placement

One significant design choice for properties incorporating pools is their location. Pools can be placed in central courtyards or on rooftop decks, each offering distinct advantages. 

Diana Pittro, executive vice president at Chicago-based RMK Management Corp., emphasizes the importance of considering accessibility, views, and ambiance. “When designing an outdoor pool, a developer needs to consider the accessibility of the pool, what the view will be, and the ambiance of the site,” Pittro explains.

Edward Stand, principal and director of quality management at New York City-based design firm HLW, adds that the pool’s placement can also depend on tenant demographics and the pool’s intended purpose. For family-oriented properties, ground-level pools might be preferred for safety and ease of access, whereas rooftop pools can offer spectacular views and a sense of exclusivity for urban, high-rise properties.

Active and Relaxation Spaces

Outdoor spaces can also be optimized by incorporating active programming and relaxation areas. Mary Cook, founder and president of Chicago-based design firm Mary Cook Associates, notes the popularity of social and entertainment options like bocce, cornhole, volleyball, and movie nights. These activities promote community interaction and enhance the property's appeal during summer.

For relaxation, innovative features like hammock farms offer unique, tranquil spaces. An upcoming $100 million apartment complex on Purdue University’s Fort Wayne, Indiana, campus, for instance, includes green spaces, grilling stations, fire pits, and a hammock farm, providing diverse options for residents to unwind.

Outdoor Fitness Facilities

Fitness amenities are increasingly being extended to outdoor spaces, providing residents with versatile workout environments. Alan Barker, principal and residential market leader at Chicago-based design firm Lamar Johnson Collaborative, highlights the trend of fitness centers with dedicated outdoor areas, equipped with gym equipment and turf for exercise.

At Optima Kierland in Scottsdale, Arizona, the property offers an array of outdoor fitness equipment, including a 40-yard dash track, battle ropes, and large freestanding training systems for various workouts. This comprehensive approach ensures residents can enjoy outdoor fitness activities, catering to the growing demand for health and wellness amenities.

Creating Indoor-Outdoor Spaces

Mary Cook Associates has successfully integrated retractable glass walls in properties like Oleander in Brookhaven, Georgia, and Lapis in Miami. These walls allow fitness and lounge spaces to blend seamlessly with the outdoors, enhancing versatility and usability. Such innovative designs enable residents to enjoy outdoor spaces year-round, adapting to different weather conditions and seasonal changes.

Maximizing Limited Outdoor Space

Older buildings or urban properties with limited outdoor space can still optimize their offerings through careful programming. Chicago’s 1350 North Lake Shore, for example, transformed its amenities by adding a rooftop deck and a dog park. Kelli Stuart, general manager for Chicago-based real estate firm Draper and Kramer, notes that the dog park has fostered a tight-knit community of pet lovers, significantly enhancing resident satisfaction.

Leveraging Location

Even properties with limited on-site options can leverage their location to enhance appeal. Proximity to parks, waterfronts, or urban attractions can compensate for smaller outdoor spaces. Ensuring easy access to nearby recreational areas adds significant value for residents seeking outdoor experiences.


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