The words "walk up" are taking on a whole new meaning. Though the phrase "walk-up" once referred to a tall, multi-floor apartment building, the similar new phrase, "WalkUP," is short for "walkable urban place," a neighborhood in which it is easier to get from place to place by walking rather than driving. WalkUP communities in cities such as New York, Boston, and Washington D.C. are booming, and more and more tenants are including "walkability" on their lists of ideal features. If you own or manage an apartment community, implementing some common features found in WalkUP communities will help you attract more residents.
On-Site Shops and Restaurants
One of the key features of a WalkUP community is that residents can access all of their basic needs without having to jump in a car or ride a bus. When you're dealing with an apartment complex rather than an entire urban area, you have to scale down this design idea somewhat, since your residents will have to leave the complex to work. However, what you can do is make sure that once they arrive back at the apartment community after the work day, they don't have to leave again to get dinner or do their regular shopping.
In a smaller apartment community, you may want to consider adding a cafe or a small bar and grill where residents can grab lunch on the weekends, and a quick dinner during the week. For a larger community, contracting with chain restaurants can allow you to give residents several food selections.
Provide for your residents' basic shopping needs by including, at a minimum, a convenience store where they can buy the basics, such as toilet paper, dish soap and milk. If you have a larger community, working with a grocery store chain or a pharmacy chain may allow you to give residents even more choices.
Think of all of the other activities your residents partake in on a daily or weekly basis. They probably work out at a fitness center, take their children to daycare, do their laundry, and perhaps visit the salon for a haircut or manicure. Offering as many of these services as possible within the apartment complex reduces residents' need to leave the complex.
If you're currently managing an apartment complex and are not sure which services your residents would find most useful, consider surveying your current residents. Find out how many would make use of an on-site daycare service or salon before you start making moves to develop one. This way, you ensure you're investing money in the services your residents will enjoy the most.
If you're counting on your residents walking from their apartments to the community restaurants, shops and service centers, then the apartment complex must have streets or paths that are highly walkable. A few tips to keep in mind when evaluating and improving the walkability of your community include:
- Make sure sidewalks are well-maintained, so nobody trips on decaying concrete.
- Ensure that crosswalks are well-labeled and that crossing lights are functional so residents can safely cross streets.
- Keep the landscaping well-maintained so guests can enjoy a beautiful environment while they walk through the community.
- In areas where there is plenty of snowfall, ensure the sidewalks are kept free of snow. Contract with a local plowing company, or consider having heated sidewalks installed if you really want to focus on luxury.
Whether your apartment community includes 20 units or 2,000, focusing on improvements that allow residents to satisfy their needs without hopping in a car is a wise move. The WalkUP trend is catching on quickly, and sticking with this trend will make your community appealing to residents who crave convenience and safe, walkable streets. For more information, you may want to contact experienced property management companies in your area.