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Amenities Drive Luxury Rental Choice



As in many parts of the District, the Hill and nearby neighborhoods have seen their fair share of new luxury apartment buildings. Representatives of these new developments say that amenities are key to the success of these projects. Built with golf simulators, dog wash stations, indoor basketball courts, and rooftop pools with fire pits —let’s just say that developers are no longer depending on cable packages to attract tenants.

Instead, they’re betting that the various amenities will showcase the kind of lifestyle offered in a particular building or development, and attract new tenants in a competitive market made more so by the pandemic.

Over the next 36 months, more than 42,000 luxury residential units are expected to be completed across the DMV, according to commercial real estate authority Delta Associates.

In the District, the average vacancy rate in luxury apartments is currently 6.8 percent, compared to 4.1 percent last year. The race to attract tenants is heating up, and developers say amenities are critical to attracting tenants.

Makes or Breaks a Project
“I think today, it’s what makes or breaks a project,” said Feras Qumseya, Vice President of Foulger-Pratt. The company developed Beckert’s Park, a brand-new lifestyle concept at 1350 E St. SE, which began leasing in September.

Qumseya said the amenities chosen for Beckert’s Park were intended to be a one-stop shop for anyone who wants to live on the Hill, from young singles and families to older couples.

In addition to the golf simulator and the 60,000 square foot Safeway on the ground floor, Beckert’s Park offers a multi-purpose sports court that can be used for “almost any sport,” an aquatics court that combines a pool with outdoor seating, a fitness center, and a co-working space. That space was originally designed with entrepreneurs and young professionals in mind, Qumseya said, but is now attractive to a wider group. The “co-working lounge” includes booths for increased privacy.

Tenants are looking for quality of life, and that is not defined by the four walls of an apartment, he said, but by the experience in the community you’re living in — the microcommunity, within a building, and the macrocommunity, or the neighborhood. Those experiences as facilitated by the available amenities, Qumseya added.

“The more that you can differentiate yourself by what you can offer to people who are seeking quality of life in a building, the better,” he said.

Qumseya said that the development used the Beckert family, former owners of the block, as inspiration.The Beckert formerly ran an amusement park, brewery and ice cream factory on the property. “The Beckert family created a fun environment on that block, and we wanted to maintain and honor that quality of life,” Qumseya said.

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