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Attracting Tenants in Today's Competitive Rental Market

November 2011
By David Nagahiro, AIA, LEED AP and Dave Ferris, AIA, LEED AP

With rental offerings booming in most Metropolitan cities and suburbs, how does a developer lure the best tenants? An optimal design and unit layout, exuding the feeling of space, warmth and comfort, will spark a “Wow!” response from prospective renters in any price bracket.

Whether a first time renter or seasoned tenant on the move, we know that first impressions count. A central objective for architects is to create that sense of wow as soon as a prospective tenant walks in the front door. Lobbies need to be designed with security, access, and the appropriate level of amenities and aesthetics in mind to convey an immediate sense of building identity and target market. There is a definite increase in the amount of common space offered in today’s more socially-engaging apartment buildings, often because the unit size is decreasing for efficiency sake.

In these smaller multifamily units, the challenge is to design spaces in ways that read larger and avoid the impression of compact size or confined living. The article presents four design ideas to overcome this challenge, and make creative use of today’s smaller floorplans: start with light, reduce foyers and corridors, open up kitchens and choose materials to expand space.

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