TYSONS, VA - Award-winning national architecture and planning firm KTGY Group, Inc.'s thought-leader Rohit Anand, AIA, NCARB, and the managing principal in KTGY's Tysons, Va. office, says that Millennials, defined by many demographers as ranging from ages 18 to 37, make up the largest population segment the U.S. has ever seen. The Millennial generation is considered to be 7% larger than the Baby Boom generation, which came of age in the 1970s and '80s. "And, the Millennial population could keep growing to 88.5 million by 2020, owing to immigration, says demographer Peter Francese, an analyst at the MetLife Mature Market Institute," reports Anand.
"Millennials have many names. They have been referred to as Generation Y (the generation to succeed Generation X), The Echo Boomers (refers to the fact that many Millennials are children of Baby Boomers), The Net Generation (since Millennials grew up with the Internet ), The Boomerang Generation (since so many Millennials move back in with their parents after going away to college) and The Peter Pan Generation (due to that so many Millennials delay the rites of passage into adulthood longer than most generations before them)," Anand said.
"The Millennial generation has already made a big impact on student housing. The number of students enrolled in college in the U.S. climbed by 30% from 2000 to 2011, helping to fuel a building boom on campuses across the country. And, with the surge in development came the 'amenity race' with the debut of lavish amenities. Many of these amenities have carried over into multifamily development," stated Anand.
"Multifamily developers and designers have been inspired by high-end amenities found at resort hotels and expensive membership health clubs as well as those amenities that single-family home owners would want," Anand said. "These amenities include resort-inspired pools, large spaces for vegetable and fruit gardens, additional storage closets off the patio and balcony area and/or in the parking garage, bicycle storage and repair, jamming/recording music studio, and a large fitness center with lots of windows, a Pilates/Yoga studio, and big screen TVs or even individual screens on each tread mill or stair climber. Some developers are including a training facility with personal training in their membership-quality gyms. Others have incorporated Fitness on Demand."
Anand says that Millennials want to live far beyond just the walls of their apartment so it is not only the apartment amenities that come into play, but also the neighborhood. They want to live close to where they work and play as well as transit.
"They want amenities that make life easier for them. Location is everything. What's in the neighborhood within walking distance is the most important amenity. Where services are missing from the neighborhood, developers might incorporate ground floor retail and services to include a 'grab & go' convenience store, dry cleaning, nail (and hair) salon, sports pub and/or cafe," Anand said.
"They want a Starbucks-like cyber cafe, where they can work from their laptop alongside their friends and neighbors. They enjoy social connections both in person and online," said Anand.
Anand reports that Millennials are looking to connect and socialize so programming space that facilitates interaction is critical. "We are designing open spaces inspired by creative office environments like Google or Facebook. This generation wants to do their work, read or catch up on emails in shared spaces. Even a space like a theatre room is now a flat screen TV with couches located within a lounge versus a dedicated room. Entertainment might also include a riveting 3D golf simulator and Wii games," Anand said.
In apartment buildings, the roof is no longer just a roof, Anand said. "We are designing elaborate roof top amenities to include pool and sun/viewing deck, private cabanas, lounge areas, an outdoor kitchen and entertainment area, running track, fitness center, a community garden and/or a rooftop night club," Anand added.
"As Millennials love their pets, savvy apartment developers are including grooming stations, a bark park or doggie run, and even doggie day care with pet walking services. Veterinary care and dog training might also be included," reported Anand.
To save money, Millennials like to share an apartment. At KTGY-designed AVA H Street in Washington, DC, the apartment unit design appeals to roommates who want to share space and split rent. "The two-bedroom apartments do not have a traditional master bedroom space, rather the bedrooms are split evenly with equally large closets, bedrooms, bathrooms and a shared washer and dryer," said Anand.
Developed by AvalonBay Communities, AVA H Street was one of the first apartment communities, built from the ground up, to focus specifically on the preferences of the Gen Y/Millennials. Situated in an emerging youthful, walkable neighborhood, the property offers residents ready access to DC’s Union Station, nightlife, galleries, restaurants and Capitol Hill.
According to Anand, "This project dared to push the limits of conventional apartment design by pioneering a number of 'firsts,' including the first in-home 'Utility Center' to manage the resident's electronics in one convenient place, plus trash and recycle bins and a chalkboard wall; a Gear Wall to store large items like a bicycle; retail-style closets with customizable slatwall; and an interactive social media 'Trending Wall,' featuring local Twitter and social media postings and trends from neighborhood. The Trending Wall also doubles as a floor plan and leasing tool by combining Apple TV, the iPad and AVA’s unique app."
Anand, an award-winning architect, is a frequent speaker at the most prestigious national and regional industry events and recently offered his expertise and insights at the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) Research Forum in Washington, D.C. The two-day event, which was held on April 29-30, targets the nation’s leading apartment researchers – in-house and third-party – and is designed to address the critical issues facing the apartment industry today. In September, Anand is slated to be a speaker at the 2014 Multifamily Executive Conference in Las Vegas, Nev.
Anand brings more than 25 years of professional achievement in leading the design of multifamily residential developments primarily in the mid-Atlantic and major East Coast markets. Anand's experience includes the design of more than 25,000 market rate residential units ranging from for-rent and for-sale multifamily units to single-family attached and detached homes.
Celebrating more than 22 years, KTGY Group, Inc., Architecture + Planning, is a national award-winning firm providing comprehensive planning and award-winning architectural design services for residential communities, retail, hospitality, mixed-use and related specialty developments. KTGY delivers innovative solutions that reflect clear understanding of development, market and consumer trends, and financial performance. KTGY serves clients worldwide with offices in Irvine, Oakland and Santa Monica, Calif., Denver, Colo., and Tysons, Va.