When a lot of people think about high-rise living, they don’t necessarily jump to the idea of families in high-rises. In many cities, high-rises are still considered the domain of the young and single, or couples without kids or active retirees. The New York Times even ran a piece, in 1987, decreeing that “A High-Rise Is Not a Home for Children.” But today, thanks to a Millennial generation that doesn’t want to commute from the ‘burbs, more and more high-rises are actively courting families as residents.
In New York City, more people now want to stay in the city even after they’ve had kids, rather than making the traditional move out to the suburbs and commuting into the city for work. Marc Kotler, senior vice president at FirstService Residential, said that he’s seeing more opportunities become available for families to stay in the city. “It depends on where you are,” he said. “The downtown financial district and the Wall Street area is not where you’ll find family properties. But I am seeing new units around Madison Park that are attractive to families. These units are offering larger floor plans, and family-friendly touches like an all-sports court on property, dog runs and playgrounds.”
Although large units used to be available only in the mid-rise buildings around Central Park West and Park Avenue, Kotler said that large units suitable for families are plentiful in 432 Park Avenue, which is the tallest residential building in the western hemisphere.
Andrew Schlegel, executive vice president at FirstService Residential, said that California isn’t seeing as much growth as New York City and Chicago in the family high-rise market, but he does anticipate slight upticks. “It’s a trend that should be recognized: it is possible for a family to live vertically,” he said. “A building that accommodates a family with children might attain a competitive advantage since most of the existing urban developments were not designed with young children in mind, or located in kid friendly areas.”
How are existing buildings welcoming families as residents? Amenities are being updated to meet the needs of younger members of the community. Spaces previously used as card rooms or business centers are being repurposed into playrooms for children, outfitted with themed carpeting, wall treatments and fixtures. The rooms are stocked with toys, play tables, games and activity centers, state-of-the-art gaming consoles, foosball tables and much more.
Florida high-rises often provide a resort-style experience for residents. According to Christopher Christie, senior director of residential hospitality at FirstService Residential, many of those high-rises are providing special areas at their pools and beachfront, offering property-branded buckets, shovels, beach toys and water service, as well as use of kayaks and other water toys.
Christie said that some concierges are now offering arrival toys for young children. Additional concierge services may now include services catered to children such as a birthday card service, party planning, organized play dates, holiday-themed parties, “dive in” movies at the pool and even “Meet the Nanny” day, which gives families the chance to meet other families and their nannies in the building.
Times are changing! The Urban Land Institute, a global non-profit that studies responsible use of land and thriving communities worldwide, recently issued a report on Gen Y and Housing. The ULI reports that Millennials see themselves as city-dwellers and suburbanites in equal measure. As that generation continues to marry and have families, the demand for high-rises that accommodate families with active children will continue to grow.

A professional property management company can help your high-rise adapt to meet the needs of changing markets and homeowners’ demands. To learn more about how you can keep your amenities attractive, contact FirstService Residential, North America’s largest property management company.  

Families are a growing part of the urban lifestyle trend. Creating a more family-friendly environment is one way to improve your building’s marketability.
Tuesday October 25, 2016