Architects play a vital role in any apartment or condo construction project. They are responsible for the visual appearance of the building. From the developer’s requirements, they make use of creative ideas to bring the developer’s vision to life while still satisfying financial constraints and local building regulations. When designing apartments for the future, their influence will be instrumental in the success of any project.
The Future Is Upon Us
The challenges of future apartment design are these:
- Changing renter demographics/the boomer boom
- Finding innovative designs to maximize interior space functionality, including work-from-home spaces
- Utilizing durable and easily cleaned materials
- Repurposing existing structures to regain value
- Incorporating technological advancements and IoT devices to minimize operating expenses and promote renter satisfaction
- Creating exterior spaces that enhance the renter experience
The Current Situation
The following graphic shows the unit mix and sizing, unit count, and density, in 15 projects across the GTA, Ottawa, and Calgary. What you’ll notice across the board is the bulk of the units are one- and two-bedroom units. Regardless of location, market position, or market preferences, there is always a need for one-bedroom units which cater to the broadest potential resident base.
Repurposing Existing Structure
All economics move through cycles. A downturn can create the right opportunity for conversion of other asset classes to multifamily buildings: underperforming assets can be recalibrated to meet market demand.
Benefits and Challenges
Many municipalities are already open to conversion between asset classes, particularly in areas that have experienced economic downturns with closures across commercial, industrial or hospitality uses. We believe that there will be an accommodation by municipalities to allow apartment developers to convert these spaces to a more viable use. With an alignment of ideals and needs, municipalities will reduce the red tape necessary for the conversion of existing properties in order to increase the amount of available housing options.
Because the developer is dealing with a conversion site, it means conversion generates less construction waste, has less of an environmental impact, reduces labor time and cost of construction due to existing parking (some below grade), and has a core and shell already in place.
Most importantly, conversions keep neighbourhoods vibrant and cities looking refreshed and active. Development in an active community encourages strong local amenities that will drive rents and ultimate value. From the city’s perspective, conversions reduce the amount of unoccupied, derelict buildings, and makes room for negotiation with the planning process.
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