Rich amenities make up for shrinking suites

Lifestyle trends usher in co-working spaces in new condo developments
Tuesday, March 27, 2018
By Dominic DeFreitas

Investors, developers, and builders are scrambling to keep pace with surging demand for multi-family housing as new condo sales hit an all-time-high for October last year.

The economic realities of development today have meant that suite sizes have had to shrink, and multi-family developers are creating amenity-laden buildings to compensate. It’s clear that residents across multiple generations are willing to trade in-unit square footage for common area spaces that complement their lifestyles.

Design should be leveraged to create holistic living spaces that transcend passing fads and recognize that residents want more than just four walls and a roof over their head. Here are four key lifestyle trends that will shape how builders, developers, and architects approach their projects in 2018:

Parcel pending

The rise of online shopping is disrupting more than just bricks and mortar retail; it’s quickly become the consternation of condo concierges across Toronto. Piles of packages and parcels mount up behind desks, creating a mess and chaos.

The design solution? Factor in dedicated storage to handle the daily stream of deliveries, including cold storage lockers so groceries can be delivered at any time and remain fresh when residents collect them. Alongside this, mobile apps have allowed couriers and concierge desks to alert residents to deliveries.

The hassles of storing and managing, the problem of loss or theft, and the everyday frustration of having to rush home before the management office closes are now a thing of the past.

The Well, a transformative mixed-use redevelopment in downtown Toronto, has given over ample space to meet the realities of the way urbanites shop today.

Co-working spaces

The boundaries between work and home have never been more blurred. The rise of the freelance life, the portfolio career, and the side gig means that today’s condo residents want something different from their building’s public spaces. They want flexible arrangements that let them work from home on their laptop and mobile phone; they just don’t want to do that alone in their living room.

Recognizing this, developer CentreCourt is creating Toronto’s first condo tower with a co-working space as part of the building’s amenities. The 4,000-square-foot space, complete with printers and private meeting rooms, will remain open 24 hours a day.

Flexible amenity spaces

With millennials now outnumbering other generations in Canada, by default they’re the largest group in the multi-family residential sector too. They’ve grown up with the ability to customize almost everything in their lives. Not surprisingly, they want to be able to customize their physical environments too.

Increasingly this is reflected in how lobbies and amenity spaces are being considered. These spaces should have flexibility built into them with demountable walls and screens, along with smart layouts that let residents book different areas without the whole area suddenly being off-limits to everyone else.

Fitzrovia Capital, the developer behind 390 Dufferin St., is taking this approach to its amenity spaces. Fluid, flexible spaces create a democratic common space that signals to all residents they’re welcome to use it how they like.

Elevated fitness facilities

People want to feel connected to each other, to their neighbourhood and to their homes. They also want their homes to provide respite from the world and to recharge them. What better way to meet both of these deeply held needs than a spectacular gym and fitness facility?

Take, for example, RioCan and Woodbine’s joint venture at The Well, which will be providing residents with a 6,000-square-foot gym on the 46th floor of the building. In addition to a spectacular view, the gym will offer a flexible workout space designed to be able to offer residents a wealth of classes, from yoga to Crossfit, and in so doing allowing neighbours to connect with one another in their vertical village.

Relegating the gym to a below-grade, joyless bunker no longer passes muster.

Solving for the challenges of how people live now results in developments that rise above the faddish, and instead meet the deeply held needs of what residents really want from their homes.

Dominic DeFreitas is VP of residential development at figure3.

Pictured above is a rendering of a co-working space designed by figure3 for developer Daniels.

One thought on “Rich amenities make up for shrinking suites

  1. The greater common facilities are well and fine when the building is new and the sales staff use that
    as a selling feature. The buyers in the main are in their fifties and sixties. But later on as the population
    of a building age These facilities are not used and are very costly to maintain ie swimming pools etc
    Building that are ten years or older pool tables etc enteraiment rooms remain unused for days at a time
    Developers and Architects should look at building that have been in operation for ten years or more
    with an average well into their seventies and the story is totally different that want the real estate
    salesperson made out Also the monthly fees are costly

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