Developers struggle to keep up with millennials’ tastes.

Perhaps all of us can learn something from the apartment industry’s struggle to please millennials.

According to a recent post on the commercial real estate site Bisnow, millennial renters want “something unique” and “authentic”, “the coolest place possible, where everything is happening, and the coolest building”.  But all that coolness needs to be affordable.

One solution:  “smaller units but bigger common rooms”.  Out with the billiards room, in with the business room, “where young people can work on laptops together”.

Another solution:  be selective about amenities–no sauna (remember those?) or pool, but plenty of bike parking.

So who needs that so-1999 amenity, parking, since millennials will soon be hoverboarding to work?  Not so fast.  “Parking is the No. 1 amenity”, according to one developer.  Maybe we’re heading toward a carless future, but developers don’t get rich by building for the maybe future.  And they don’t get bank financing unless they have adequate parking.

Is anything else expendable?  “Big kitchen appliances”, even if they’re shiny stainless steel.  Ovens and refrigerators are so out these days, microwaves and freezers so in.  “When [millennials] move out, we open the oven.  They have never used it.”

Being in the trenches of real estate 24/7 as I am, this shouldn’t surprise me.  Walking through a Palo Alto apartment vacated a few days ago by a young techie, the kitchen looked like it hadn’t been cleaned since the inauguration–except the oven, which was as spotless as the day he moved in.

So if you’re thinking of pitching a cable show called Baking For Millennials, you might want to reconsider.

copyright © John Fyten 2017

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