Beck Shares Multifamily Trends in Colorado Real Estate Journal

  • Jun 3, 2022

This column is featured in the June 2022 issue of the Colorado Real Estate Journal’s Building Dialogue.

By David Morris, Design Principal, Denver 

Like other high-growth states, there has been booming demand in Colorado’s multifamily residential market, prompting developers and investors to expand the supply of residential units needed to accommodate the population influx into the state and other desirable cities in the Sunbelt region. In metro Denver, Colorado’s most active multifamily market and one of the top apartment markets in the country, the construction of multifamily units is moving at a torrid pace.

According to a report released by Fannie Mae, an additional 1,100 multifamily units were added to the construction pipeline in metro Denver during the third quarter of 2021, bringing a total of 19,600 units. Like the country’s other multifamily hotspots, a shortage of available units drives rents higher and higher.

The growth in the market has also created a noticeable shift in multifamily design offerings, innovation in multifunctional living spaces and upscale hospitality-type building amenities in Denver and the other Front Range communities. While unique design features and amenities were evolving before this latest growth in the market and before the pandemic, these design features and new living trends have accelerated at a pace not experienced ever before in multifamily.

The pandemic has boosted demand for larger and more flexible spaces to accommodate those working outside the office in Colorado and other Front Range communities. More importantly, it required a re-assessment of over-programmed, non-flexible space.

Here are some examples of how unit design and both unit and building amenities are changing the function and feel of Colorado’s multifamily properties.

More Open and Expansive Kitchens

An earlier multifamily trend focused on designing smaller and more efficient galley-style kitchens, compact footprints with a more utilitarian focus. In the pandemic era, multifamily units are being designed with more spacious and more free-flowing kitchens, with higher-quality finishes and higher quality appliance packages. Kitchens also are being built more cental within the units, prominently focused as the hub of family and entertainment activity.

Bigger and Multi-Functioning Bedrooms

Studios to one-bedroom and multiple bedrooms are expanding in size, from as much as 75 SF to 100 SF, making the average unit between 900 and 1,000 SF. This has allowed increased flexibility in how bedroom space is used.

Utilizing Outdoor Space

Newer multifamily buildings feature larger and deeper balconies, providing more entertainment and other spaces. It also has led to designing an outside space as an extension of the interior space such as partially enclosed terraces and sunrooms.

Greater Storage Capacity

Closets and other interior storage spaces offer more capacity and a higher level of detail. One trend is building closets without doors and clothing rods. Instead, cabinets are being placed in closets to maximize space and usability.

A Multitude of Amenities

Amenities can be found in high-end multifamily units like temperature-controlled storage areas for online food and package deliveries, theater-quality entertainment, in-unit exercise equipment, co-working spaces, rooftop patios, and other unique amenities.

In addition to these amenities, there has been a greater emphasis on designing buildings with all-electric HVAC systems, vegan and recycled furnishings, and other eco-friendly features, driven by increasing demand for a carbon-free environment.

Projects in the Mile High City and surrounding areas serve as striking examples of the new wave designing multifamily living spaces.

Denver Multifamily Project Reflects Latest Design, Amenities Trend

One of those is a Beck multifamily project in Denver’s Tech Center. One of two planned high-rise buildings at Belleview Station will be built with the North Tower having residential units on the top floors and hospitality spaces on the lower floors. The project’s South Tower will provide a mix of hospitality and office space.

“Belleview Station residents will have more space dedicated to living and work-related activities.”

 

Those working from home will have access to the tower’s business center outfitted with conference tables, video conference software and other state-of-the-art technology – a dramatic departure from the old business center concept of a few chairs and desks, a couple of aging computers and a copy machine.

The buildings are also being designed to allow residents to edit their homes and easily convert their living rooms into work areas. For instance, wall-mounted TVs can be used as laptop monitors and curtains and sliding partitions designed to close or edit work activities from the balance of the living space.

Before the pandemic arrived, the design called for balconies on 60 to 70 percent of the tower’s residential units. Due to the pandemic and the desire for natural ventilation, it was later decided that all the units would include balconies and or outdoor terrace space.

Colorado’s multifamily residential properties are indeed changing with the times, driven by the pandemic’s lingering impact and fresh trends in how we live, work and play. Combining the latest residential designs with hospitality-type amenities represents the star of a new and vibrant phase in the ever-evolving multifamily market.