Developer Greystar is integrating smart technology features into its high-rise amenity package at Parq on Speer in Denver. The project will feature a broad range of smart-living amenities, including Lutron Bluetooth lighting, motor-operated blinds and Nest Thermostats, along with the standard amenities that tenants have come to expect in urban projects, like an outdoor pool terrace and spa, covered outdoor kitchen and cabanas, and views of Downtown Denver and the Rockies.
“Introducing smart-technology into a new development is part of our ongoing focus to deliver the best possible living experience for our residents,” Mai Olaussen, director of development at Greystar, tells GlobeSt.com. “When we looked at what we could do to differentiate the community, it made sense to incorporate smart-technology especially in a market that is extremely sophisticated in terms of technology and environmental consciousness. You need to know what advances are important to your industry and the Greystar team is adept at keeping on top of the latest products and trends. I have found while attending design/build shows that we’re fast approaching everything automated, especially with appliances that can be controlled through Wi-Fi and bluetooth.”
The smart amenities will change the resident experience at the property, both in and outside the unit. “Residents will be able to walk into their apartments using their phones rather than a key, have the heater/AC already on and set to their desired temperature and shades up or down,” says Olaussen. All units will feature these smart tools, while penthouses will feature Lutron Bluetooth lighting, motor-operated blinds and Nest Thermostats.
Denver has emerged in recent years as a major market in the Western US with a strong tech presence, and there is healthy demand for these types of home amenities. “Denver is tech savvy and the market is familiar with the latest technology and innovative gadgets,” adds Olaussen. “As a result, interest is high and demand is growing. Overall the response has been clear—residents in the market want more tech convenience in their apartment homes and communities.”
While these amenities will certainly drive leasing activity and attract tenants, it won’t necessarily secure stronger rents. However, Olaussen says that multifamily is moving in this direction, and competitive developers are integrating smart features that will give ensure the relevancy of a property for years to come. “When you design a project, you’re designing for the future,” she adds. “We know that this is where the future is going, so while we don’t expect to directly charge for new amenities and innovative features, we do believe that smart technology will add convenience and significantly enhance a resident’s overall living experience.”
This technology is certainly the future of rental living, and as renters become more accustomed to using smart technology in other aspects of their lives, they will come to expect it in their rental units. “Over the years, technology has become more and more integrated into our lives and we have all seen its value,” says Olaussen. “So why should that benefit, control, and convenience stop at housing? Take Smart Thermostats, for example. The product was introduced just a few years ago, but now are included in nearly every new build. We see that trend continuing with all sorts of other smart home technologies – everyone is moving toward convenience. In a few years, many of these features will be considered standard rather than special amenities or upgrades—much like granite and quartz countertops.”