Access to community amenities can be one of the greatest advantages to living in a large multifamily building. Even the usual suspects, like an on-site fitness center or roof deck, can significantly add value to the resident experience.
While typically included in the monthly rent, this access does come with a price tag: a 2017 report from the National Apartment Association found Chicago renters pay an average of over $50/month for some of the most popular amenities, such as a fitness center, roof deck, pool, or concierge service.
However, to demand the top rents, the most luxurious of the bunch must find ways to separate themselves, and the competition has never been hotter. An amenities war barrels into 2019 with a few themes front and center: creating a sense of community, providing unique experiences, and maximizing convenience for the busy resident.
Here are a few of the ways Chicago properties are doing just that. Which would get you to shell out the big bucks?
- A dedicated wine tasting room: Over on the quieter side of River North is Parc Huron, a 222-unit building at 469 W Huron St, which boasts “climate-controlled wine lockers” within a dedicated wine tasting room.
- Extensive neighborhood discounts: Located directly between the Loop and West Loop, the area surrounding Catalyst has plenty going on. They’re looking to get residents a head start on all the area has to offer. Their VIP City Key program provides resident discounts at a handful of nearby restaurants, salons, and gyms. The gym discounts are, of course, in addition to the private yoga room and rooftop fitness center residents already have access to.
- A performance stage: Musically inclined? River West’s Spoke and South Loop’s Eleven40 have just what you need. Both properties have live performance areas, and Spoke even has a recording studio.
- “Tween” room: The newly-opened One Bennett Park, Chicago’s tallest all-residential building, isn’t the only building with a children’s play room. But it could be the only one with a dedicated “tween” room, which your child would presumably graduate to once the LEGOs and Play-Doh don’t cut it as entertainment anymore. The tween room features a pool table and a variety of games.
- Real-time transportation info: Lincoln Park’s SoNu Digs, which doesn’t offer any parking amidst the congested Clybourn Corridor retail district, is going above and beyond to help residents traverse the city. A TransitScreen in the lobby provides real-time info on CTA bus and train arrivals, current Uber/Lyft surge pricing and ETA, weather, and where nearby Zipcars and Divvy bikes are available. A mobile app provides residents with the same info updated live to their current location, wherever they go across the city.
- An athlete’s paradise: Apartment complex or health club? At River North’s Optima Signature, it can be hard to tell the difference. Why settle for a fitness center included in your rent, when you can also have a squash court, bocce ball court, golf simulator, and full-length basketball court? Afterward, steam and sauna rooms await you in full locker rooms.
- Hotel-style, on-demand housekeeping: While an increasing number of buildings feature conveniences such as dry cleaning valet services, Eleven Thirty in the South Loop truly brings the cleaning to you. Using a service called The Minte, residents can request a full hotel-style housekeeping clean of their unit, even same day.
- Pedway access: While a huge draw for luxury apartments in downtown and River North is the ability to walk to work, two Lakeshore East properties provide primarily weather-protected, climate-controlled Loop access, without actually being in the Loop. We’re talking about Coast and The Tides at Lakeshore East, both conveniently sandwiched between the Riverwalk and Millenium Park.