Accelerated amenities: Resident requests in a post-COVID-19 World.

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Author: John Salustri
Date: May-June 2021
From: Journal of Property Management(Vol. 86, Issue 3)
Publisher: Institute of Real Estate Management
Document Type: Article
Length: 1,562 words
Lexile Measure: 1180L

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There is an increasingly common theme around our ongoing experience with COVID-19. Namely, despite the watershed changes the pandemic has made to our relationship with work, productivity, and how we socialize, not every change we've experienced this past year is a COVID-driven disruptor. Alongside last year's quick shifts, there were also trends in place prior to 2020 that have only accelerated. We're seeing it with the growth of technology as well as the greater emphasis on locations other than our central business districts.

Such also seems to be the case when the topic turns to amenities. It's not just the obvious considerations like deeper cleaning, hand sanitizer stations, and plexiglass; this discussion revolves around the tenant and resident requests that make life bearable in both quiet times and periods of risk. These are the amenities that differentiate an asset and challenge property managers to think outside of the COVID-19 box, largely in the name of comfort and support. And, as you'll read shortly, these requests can be fairly colorful.

The same, only more

Says Kevin Owens, CPM: "Rather than create a new need, more than anything, the pandemic has accelerated the implementation and reconfiguration of certain amenities." Owens, the executive vice president of property operations for CF Real Estate Services in Atlanta, manages some 26,000 units and says the most common post-COVID request, especially from prospects, has been the ability to pass through a building and into their apartments in touchless fashion. And while CF was already building out its tech, the requests have ramped up, he says.

Despite CF's blossoming technological capabilities, the focus seems to be on traditional offerings with a COVID twist. "They're looking for areas to gather in a private space without a big crowd, with firepits and outdoor exercise equipment," Owens says. "We're not hearing anything much different than before."

"Residents are looking for us to up our game in terms of amenities," adds Miranda Jernigan, CPM, ARM, senior regional property manager at McLean, Virginia-based Kettler Management. Similar to before the pandemic, residents in the communities Kettler manages throughout the South and Mid-Atlantic states still want private work and play space. "They want us to have the latest and greatest in workout trends. Peloton bikes and virtual workouts are popular," she says.

She says residents look to management to provide anything they can't get in...

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