In our last post, Phyllis shared her insight on a commonly asked question about multi-family renovations: “How much will it cost?” Once the design team has a clear understanding of the project restrictions & goals, they can begin to move forward with planning. Here’s more insight from Phyllis on other commonly asked questions about multi-family renovations.
Due to social media, generational shifts, and market competition, we have found that design trends are rapidly accelerating. In the past, most owners would contemplate a repositioning when the property or previous renovation was 10 to 12 years old. Today’s resident and prospect shop the competition, are extremely informed, and expect the very best for their money. Those properties that are beginning to show wear and suffer from an amenity shortage will most likely see a resident exodus and may have to drop rent pricing to compete. Today’s modern resident wants lifestyle. As units get smaller, great amenities have become critical. They serve as an extension to the resident’s living space. Buildings that opened 5+ years ago are already behind in the trends. These buildings can be updated by transforming every available space to a resident amenity. Lobbies that were previously designed for visual impact can be turned into a socially active amenity by adding the right kind of furniture and creating intimate seating for groups and singles alike. Adding plug-and-play areas and communal tables will turn a dead lobby into a space with a great, active vibe. In today’s rental market, we recommend an evaluation of the common areas after 3 to 4 years. If the design has a timeless appeal, a simple refresh (ie: pillows, accessories, art) may be all that is required. At 6 years, it will most likely be time to deeply evaluate the market trends, the competition, resident expectations, and condition of the finishes.
March through October is the prime leasing season. To avoid disruption during this time, it is ideal to plan the construction start for the end of October and complete by March or April of the following year.
Whether simple or comprehensive, any kind of refresh or renovation takes time. Every client wants to spend their renovation dollars wisely, so it is important to allow time for the design team to program, design, vet, and budget the renovation. If permits are required, additional time should be allotted. Even a furniture refresh takes time to plan, and in today’s furniture world, it could take from 12 to 16 weeks to procure. For example, HDG designed a renovation at the first floor of Gables Dupont Circle Apartments in Washington, DC. Even though the space was a mere 1,500 square feet, the planning, vetting, budgeting, coordination, permit drawings and construction all took one full year.
POSTED ON JULY 20, 2015
After over 28 years of business, we’ve found that many of our clients come to us in the beginning stages of a project with many questions about what a multi-family property renovation looks like. To give you a glimpse of our process we sat down with our Hartman Design Group president, Phyllis Hartman, to discuss some of the most commonly asked questions. This will be a multi-part series so stay tuned for part two!
Working within a budget when renovating a space or an entire building is usually the owner’s primary concern, meaning “how much will it cost” is usually the first question we are asked. In order to best help our clients set priorities, as well as create a realistic budget and project structure, our design team must first understand many aspects of the project, asking questions such as:
1. What is ownership expecting to achieve by renovating? For instance, is the building being repositioned from a C to a B, a B to an A, or is the goal to make the property the best B in the marketplace?
2. Will the renovation involve only finishes and furniture, or will spaces be re-arranged?
3. How old is the building and what is the current condition? A 5-year-old project may only need a quick furniture refresh, while others that are over 10 years or older may require a complete overhaul to remain competitive in the market.
4. Can the property compete in the current marketplace?
5. Are you losing residents or prospects? If so, try to determine if the condition of the interior is a factor. What is being said on social media about the property?
6. What is the schedule? An accelerated schedule can cost more than following a normal design and construction schedule.
7. Will the work be phased or completed at one time? Phasing is usually more costly.
8. Will building operations need to move to another part of the building during the renovation? It is important to factor this into the budget.
9. Can the contractors and subs work in the building during normal business hours?
10. Will there be security concerns during the renovation that may require either additional staffing or cost?
In an effort to gain the highest return on investment, we encourage collaborative discussions to determine where the clients can best spend their money. Phasing the design and construction is a great way to spread the budget over several years, though it is important to consider that phasing does add to the total cost, and can be frustrating to residents and prospects. Living or working in a building that is in a state of perpetual construction can be difficult.
The Meridian at Carlyle located in Alexandria, VA is an example of one of our projects that was finished in phases. Because the building was 12 years old when the repositioning began, the first priorities were the lobby and leasing spaces. The corridors have been phased over four years, and the clubroom was renovated two years after the lobby. This allowed the owner to spread the cost of the renovation over 5 to 6 years.
POSTED ON JULY 13, 2015
We are absolutely delighted to be recognized by the Washington Business Journal’s 2014 Top Interior Design Firms for the fifth year in a row. This honor can only be accomplished through the continued dedication of our amazing design team and our loyal Clients.
From multi-family properties and model homes for real estate developers to commercial environments anddetailed renovations, Hartman Design Group’s concepts spark engagement and action by everyone who steps into your space. For over 27 years, HDG has become partners in our Clients’ visions, creating clear results with Interiors that Inspire…Projects that Succeed.
POSTED ON AUGUST 22, 2014
We are thrilled to announce that we made it into the Interior Design Magazine’s 2014 Top100 Rising Giants From multi-family properties and model homes for real estate developers to commercial environments and detailed renovations, Hartman Design Group’s concepts spark engagement and action by everyone who steps into your space. For over 27 years, HDG has become partners in our Clients’ visions, creating clear results with Interiors that Inspire…Projects that Succeed.
POSTED ON AUGUST 21, 2014
The apartment market represents a vigorous $1.1 trillion industry, housing 35+ million renters nationwide. Such a competitive environment demands that apartment building owners provide quality housing along with truly innovative products, services and amenities. According to Apartments.com, nearly 60% percent of respondents prefer to rent, since this provides them an opportunity to enjoy a maintenance-free lifestyle combined with convenient access to amenities.
By 2015, there will be 67 million people aged 20 to 34 (the prime years for renting) and 12.4 million empty nesters who will also be seeking opportunities to rewind; not just wind down. The younger generations may not be able to afford to buy a home or may choose the flexibility of rental housing verses home ownership. Today’s Empty Nesters are healthier and more active than any time in the past and many will opt to rent, preferring simple luxury living that comes without the burdens of home ownership. At first appearance, these groups seem to have different needs.
In actuality, the amenities that both groups look for in a property are quite similar. Transcending age, today’s educated renter expects a multitude of amenities including fitness centers, business centers, dog walks, pet spas, socially-active lounges and lobbies, club-rooms, game rooms, bike storage and workshop, as well as great outdoor living spaces and swimming pools…all with an atmosphere that equals the quality of a fine hotel. So the idea is not to necessarily target a specific age group but to design for people of different generations with common interests.
Millenials, Generation Y, Eco-Boomers and Empty Nesters alike have demonstrated that they prefer hanging-out in groups and like to participate in social activities frequently. Yet people also want to feel comfortable spending time alone in public areas. Whether indoors or out, defined intimate spaces provide cozy areas for groups as well as for the resident who is solitary yet prefers a social setting. Regardless of age, amenities with options for both singles and groups create socially-active spaces that provide a sense of home and community.
Opening in November of 2013, the Avant at Reston Town Center, has demonstrated that a mixed-generational design approach is successful. Rich Ellis from Boston Properties says “The vision for the Avant, architecturally and operationally, was developed with a multi-demographic focus. Market studies and the Company’s experience in the Town Center told us that the project would attract a wide-range of prospects, from young professionals to empty nesters to divorcees to corporate users seeking a home 5 nights a week. The goal was to create a community and building that made each of these groups feel comfortable while also tapping into their shared interests.
Realizing that the mixed-generational trend in housing will continue into the future, at HDG, our design approach for residential buildings is creative, holistic and practical. Considering the needs of various age groups is important, yet finding the common thread allows for design that will bring generations together.
POSTED ON JUNE 30, 2014