Apartment and condo dwellers have come to expect services that make their lives easier. But in the luxury market, it’s a whole other game. Millennials looking for a healthy work-life balance are turning the multifamily market on its head. To maintain a competitive edge, developers are increasingly adding an extra level of concierge offerings to help residents reclaim their time — and their lives.
“What you are seeing from a development standpoint are new properties that are going to cater to Millennials in big cities, in many cases, as part of a mixed-use development with some retail,” said Evan Serton, senior vice president and REIT and infrastructure portfolio specialist at asset manager Cohen & Steers. He added that landlords and developers are looking to make tenants “sticky,” or reliable, by offering amenities and services that are “more experiential.”
Concierges are handling everything from chartering yachts to making airline, hotel and theater reservations. Renters and owners also benefit from help with everyday tasks such as grocery shopping, dry-cleaning pick-up and in-home package delivery.
"Services like dog walking, house-cleaning services, grocery delivery and 24-hour package delivery make the residents’ lives more convenient and freeing,” according to commercial real estate website REjournals.
Here’s a sampling of concierge services that go the extra mile.
Chicago-based Related Midwest offers a customized concierge service, Life Simplified, to residents of three luxury rental towers in Chicago: 500 Lake Shore Drive, Landmark West Loop and One Bennett Park. To elevate the residential experience, Related partnered with the on-demand personal concierge service Hello Alfred to create a white-glove offering that marries technology and human service to create an intuitive home that anticipates a resident’s needs.
Service offerings include move-in coordination and apartment set-up, furniture ordering and delivery, baby- and pet-proofing, closet customization and organizing, grocery ordering, dry cleaning and laundry pick-up and in-closet delivery, apartment cleaning, entertainment planning and management, and special event offerings with neighboring cultural and dining venues. Additional concierge services include a 24-hour lobby concierge and doorman, along with in-home package delivery, dog walking and grooming, and pet daycare.
Haley Rafferty, multi-site senior general manager for Related Midwest, said residents have come to expect the exclusive amenities the developer offers.
“For a luxury building, it’s not just the physical aspect of it,” she said, adding that “it’s really the services that you would receive while living there, and not even necessarily the program services, but how you’re greeted and how you feel when you walk into your lobby and your home — how does that make you feel. How your guests feel when they come to see you. And anticipating what you need when you walk up to the building.”
Over the past five years, Related Midwest’s residents and buildings have become more sophisticated, said Rafferty. “There are so many different amenity rooms and packages and things that they can choose from when they choose their home,” she explained. “But what really sets Related apart is our services that we provide our residents that make a building a home. That’s one of our hallmarks, personal service and understanding who our residents are and what they expect. Training our teams how to anticipate their needs is what we strive to do.”
Related Midwest offers in-home package delivery service. With the rise of Amazon Prime, Rafferty said, “We’ve seen an influx of packages come to our buildings, so it’s really a two-fold benefit. The residents get what they want, and it helps our staff be more efficient in controlling inventory in the package rooms so we don’t have packages strewn about our lobbies.”
If residents prefer to have dry-cleaned garments placed on their bed or groceries unpacked and put in the refrigerator, Rafferty said a concierge could handle that as well.
“We ask them specifically what they would like done, and we can deliver upon those requests,” she said. “If they would like their dry cleaning placed in the entry closet, we’ll do that.”
Apps expand upon what the human concierge can provide. For example, Life Simplified is an app-based customer service offering that’s available exclusively to Related residents via Hello Alfred. It complements the building’s full suite of white-glove services.
At 15 Hudson Yards, a new 88-story luxury tower in Manhattan, residents can create their own tailored experience with access to an extensive array of concierge services.
The suite of services includes dining reservations and entertainment ticketing; pre-arrival provisioning, grocery shopping, delivery and refrigerator stocking; housekeeping; luggage packing and unpacking services; butler service; florist service; and catering and event planning services.
As if that’s not enough, residents have access to transportation assistance, including limousine, car and chauffeur services; pet care; plant care; in-residence personal chefs; business support services; translation services; personal assistants; in-residence spa treatments; in-residence salon services; laundry, pressing, dry cleaning, tailoring and shoe-shine services; art consultation and framing services; interior design consultation; personal shopper services and car detailing services.
One River Point, a luxury condo complex in Miami, takes concierge services to the riverfront. Through its yacht concierge, One River Point allows residents to travel to nearby bars, restaurants, shops and cultural activities. To facilitate this, the property offers a private dock and charter service. Nautical concierge services will also assist residents in all their water needs, from coordinating a paddle board launch to arranging a full yacht charter with a captain.
The developer of the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Miami Beach, has partnered with South Beach Diet founder Dr. Arthur Agatston to offer buyers a yearlong membership to a medical concierge service.
The amenity, which routinely costs $12,000 per household per year, is given to residents as a closing gift to provide a more convenient and personalized approach to wellness living. It offers households access to concierge physicians, full physical exams, a personalized health plan using Agatston’s platform, video consultations and remote monitoring.
The Miami development also offers a floating marina helipad that allows for flights from residents' yachts.
444 Social, a 302-unit apartment community in the Chicago suburb of Lincolnshire, gives pet owners peace of mind by providing dog walkers and cat sitters for its tenants. The development also offers car washing and detail, dry cleaning, healthy-meal delivery and private chef services.
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