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Quality of Life is Back

Posted on by Erron Smith

Quality of Life

In today's world, multi-family development and residential housing options across the United States are becoming as important in the corporate site selection process as workforce availability and incentives. 

There was a period in time when multi-family communal area amenities may have consisted of a small fitness center, a laundry room, and maybe a pool; and that would've been sufficient for prospective tenants.  This is no longer the case in 2019. 

To attract prospective tenants (which will mostly consist of members from the millennial and baby-boomer generations) to market rate residential options, developers are having to design projects with resident communal expectations in mind.  Unlike in the past, rental housing can no longer be viewed as a short-term option for the young transient professional.  The most competitive rental communities will need to satisfy the needs of tenants that are projected to rent for longer periods of time as a lifestyle choice.  Millennials are prioritizing the freedom that comes with a lease over the responsibility that comes with a mortgage.   And the burden of monthly student debt payments is creating a larger barrier to overcome for those that would like to purchase a home, now more than ever.  At the same time, some are looking to downsize and relieve themselves of the responsibility that comes with homeownership, and finding accommodations that can provide access to health care, restaurants, and a variety of retailers within walking or desirable shared riding service distance.

Design with Communal Expectations in Mind

It's not enough to be pet-friendly and allow for tenants to have a dog, tenants want to see a pet spa or a dog park.  It's not enough to have an on-site laundry facility, when the market commands a washer and dryer inside the residence.  Coffee bars, rooftop lounges, on-site yoga and spinning classes, theaters, co-working space, are all becoming chic and important amenities necessary for not only residential communities to attract tenants, but also for growing companies that are thinking about variables that could enhance retention among existing employees and increase the likelihood for successful recruitment of new talent to the area. 

Critical Component of Workforce Recruitment

While the conversations to identify solutions to address the workforce skills gap remains important and continues around the country, the quality of life factor for employers and employees alike is resurfacing as a critical component for workforce recruitment.  There was a time when labor would migrate to where the jobs were, and the characteristics of the community would emerge as a result.  Today's labor force is more inclined to migrate toward a vibrant, energizing atmosphere that satisfies a lifestyle standard of connectivity, gastro curiosity and diversity, and access to vast employment opportunities.  Employers are having to consider questions such as:

  • Will my employees be happy here when they aren't working?
  • How easy will it be for their spouse or significant other to find gainful employment in the field of their choice?
  • Are the housing options vast and diverse enough to meet the standards of the talent we wish to recruit?

These are also questions that communities should begin to ask as a soft method to identify areas for creativity and improvement at the local level that would complement the total package of elements desired to attract private investments.