13 August 2019
By Lisa Potter, Communications Specialist, FirstPort
Build to Rent is a relatively new phenomenon in the UK, with Property Managers at the early stages of looking at how the concept works in practice. In contrast, our US counterparts have been delivering this model for years and are providing some on the ground experience of what residents really want from this type of living.
I was lucky enough to visit family in the US recently. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Neil and Christie, live right in the heart of Portland, Oregon where Build to Rent developments dominate the residential city centre skyline.
Their block – Heartline in the Pearl District of the City – is a typical example of a Build to Rent development. Its main appeal is the amenities and community that comes with this type of living and it highlights the lifestyle customers expect their building to provide.
Neil and Christie are your average Build to Rent customers. They live busy lives and they want their home to be convenient for that life – near to work, in the heart of the action, and able to complement their sociable lifestyles.
Their flat is cosy and homely. It’s somewhere they relax and unwind together as a couple, but they knew when they rented it that their apartment wasn’t going to be somewhere they could socialise due to its size. Because that’s often what happens in a Build to Rent development, you have a small (but perfectly formed) apartment that means your development effectively becomes an extension of your home.
The development boasts a communal kitchen that can be booked out to entertain guests and, guess what? Someone else even does the washing up for you (now I’d have that kitchen booked out every night of the week if I lived there!). It also has a cinema room where Neil and Christie were able to put on a private showing of their wedding DVD for all their American friends, many of whom were not able to travel to Europe to attend.
If you’re all about the views, it also has a beautiful roof terrace with communal seating areas, BBQs and dining tables – the perfect spot for another dinner party (you may have to wash up after this one!).
Lucky for us, the facilities for guests had been thought about too. It was seamless – even for us as a family with two young children. We had a beautiful, well-stocked guest suite, access to all the development’s facilities, car parking and we were made to feel like it was our home too.
This type of living is about so much more than having the right amenities though. In the short time we were there (under a week), there were two organised events run by the development staff. A wine tasting night sponsored by a local winery and a cinema night. There was also a planned launch party for a new cocktail specialist coming to town the following week – I was almost tempted to move in!
What struck me was that the whole development felt like home. There was a real sense of community that ran through the very fabric of the building. Residents chatting in every corridor, people in the communal areas having dinner, catching up on emails, or chilling with a glass of wine. A true extension of their apartment.
At FirstPort, creating communities in our developments is already happening and is really welcomed by customers. It’s exciting to see how, when a development has been built with this in mind, we as Property Managers can take this to the next level and create something really exciting for our customers.
What struck me was that the whole development felt like home. There was a real sense of community that ran through the very fabric of the building.