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A former department store converted into a mixed-use community, a mid-rise suburban condo with a distinctly urban feel and small condos in downtown Los Angeles featuring multiple gathering spaces with spectular views were among the award-winning designs discussed during NAHB’s “Design Ideas From Award-Winning Apartment and Condo Communities” webinar last month.
Several architects shared their strategies and concepts on apartment and condo design, often focusing on the amenities available in the surrounding community as an extension of their projects.
Seafood Restaurant Lures Renters
Dan Withee, of Withee Malcolm Architects, discussed how a restaurant carved out of space for what would have been two apartments in Avalon at Anaheim, a mixed-use community in Anaheim, Calif., sparked leasing there.
“The commercial component is difficult to lease unless it is adjacent to a busy area,” said Withee. “Two units were taken out of the corner of the building to create the commercial space on the front of the development, creating an additional amenity to attract new residents."
The Catch restaurant moved into the space and “became a catalyst for leasing activity,” Withee said.
Other commercial space within the high-density, mixed-use infill project, which features 251 apartments, also functions as community amenities.
Nearby activities, including Angel Stadium of Anaheim, home to baseball’s Los Angeles Angels, also can help boost the number of prospective renters and keep vacancies down, he said.
Surrounding Township Serves as Condo’s Amenities
Bill Warwick, of BartonPartners, said 40Park, which was converted from a former Epstein’s department store, is part of a large mixed-use redevelopment that also includes apartments and shares Morristown’s amenities.
“The amenity spaces are fairly small in this building,” “Warwick said. The real thought was that the street level and the town itself would be the amenity space, as you would see in an urban environment.”
The community website boasts a walkable downtown with restaurants, cafes, galleries, boutiques, theaters and the nearby Morristown Train Station, where residents can quickly and directly shuttle to Manhattan.
The convenience of downtown Morristown wasn’t 40Park’s only draw, Warwick said. “Almost every unit has a unique and fun design giving it the feel of a custom condo home — because your unit is not the same as your neighbors’.”
Little Recreational Spaces With Views Mean a Lot
While the 2008 Pillars finalist for Best Mid-Rise Apartment offered smaller floor plans — 790 square feet per unit — and many smaller recreational spaces, Cox said the key to its success was capitalizing on its prime location along Sunset Boulevard by providing a variety of public spaces where residents could easily gather, socialize and enjoy the view.
“One of the real challenges for this project was to find quality open space,” Cox said. “We carved out a deck, leasing office and amenities right at the podium level 30 feet about the street — which provided unrestricted views of downtown L.A.”
“This created a major gathering space for the entire community,” he said.
To further maximize the appeal of the community’s vista, Cox said the kitchens in 7950 West Sunset were designed to afford residents a street view of Sunset Boulevard — because residents were inclined to entertain friends in their apartments, often in the kitchen.
In addition, Cox said four units on the fifth floor overlooking Sunset Boulevard were replaced with bars, lounges and other gathering spaces for residents.
The fee for a replay of “Design Ideas From Award-Winning Apartment and Condo Communities” is $19.95 for Multifamily council members, $24.95 for NAHB members and $44.95 for non-members.
To purchase a replay, click here.
For more information on upcoming multifamily webinars, visit www.nahb.org/elearning.
Pillars Electronic Applications Due Friday, May 13
Applications for the 2011 Pillars of the Industry Awards competition honoring excellence in apartment and condominium design and development, as well as leadership in marketing and property management, are due by Friday, May 13
The Pillars awards program is the largest and most prestigious of its kind, and both multifamily housing professionals and the media look to the awards as a showcase of future trends and innovation.
Complete details on the Pillars awards — including eligibility requirements, categories and electronic applications — are available at www.nahb.org/pillarsawards.