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Defining Three-Dimensional Residential Real Estate

By News Creatives Authors , in Small Business , at August 3, 2021

Founder & CEO Dreamscape Companies.

How would you like to live in a luxurious Las Vegas high-rise, yet one that skips catering to drunk tourists playing slots in the lobby in favor of providing an intimate, amenity-packed escape?

Or, how about a boutique getaway in Miami, with not only a branded gym in the building but also retail, restaurants, a world-renowned spa and shared workspaces?

This scenario — living spaces commingling with aligned enterprises — is emerging as a generational shift; it looks at residential real estate in an entirely new light. The two organizing poles of this industry have always been cost and location. Now, there’s a third term in the mix: dynamism. It relates to the purposeful creation of an environment that incorporates a program of retail, recreation and cultural amenities that, together, set an ultra-dynamic tone for residential living. My experience developing — and redeveloping — properties have shown me this incorporation and its potential for growth as a sector of real estate. 

I call it “three-dimensional real estate.” It means thinking beyond cost and location by adding surrounding factors — and hard product diversity — into the formula. 3D real estate pulls curated components of the public sphere into the private realm, creating vibrant residential communities that enhance both the tenant experience (paywall) and the property’s value itself. It also, importantly, differentiates residential offerings in an increasingly crowded market. 

Experience Is Paramount 

In the hotel industry, a preceding concept — the “boutique hotel” — was pioneered by Ian Schrager a few decades ago. It electrified hospitality, and it transformed hotels into desirable social destinations — even if one wasn’t actually overnighting at the property. Like Schrager’s boutique hotels — a now-ubiquitous term — new boutique real estate ventures are partnering with prestige brands and custom services to produce 3D experiences in the context of residential living. Residential buildings that embrace experience-driven lifestyle servicing might include resident lounges, a bar and/or restaurant, a fitness center with curated programming, an all-access terrace, an all-day café, a local coffee shop, a unique interior design concept and more.

Finding Your Crowd

Single individuals, families and senior citizens all want different things from their respective residential situations. Ultimately, 3D real estate may be developed as such to cater to specific social demographics. A Generation Z 3D resident might resemble something college-like, where the gym is centrally located and the bars are dim and lively. In another direction, a 3D residence for families might feature a children’s playroom or playground, a movie theater and even a daycare center. Communities for retirees? Salons, game rooms and more, all can be incorporated into the building’s design and commercial partnerships. The beauty of 3D residences is that there is a fair amount of modularity; many offerings may be updated and switched based on programming – such as tenants in retail plots or multi-use rooms like theaters.

Building In 3D

Over the next five years, I believe the industry can expect curated living environments (3D residential real estate developments) to be popular in markets with both high employment levels and notable population growth. Think Austin, Denver, Miami, Atlanta, Nashville and more. When one fuses consumer trends, stand-out amenities and curated communities to and within these buildings, one can expect to create appreciable value and, in turn, a return on one’s investment. Furthermore, 3D real estate can emerge from either new construction or repurposed spaces. In both cases, developers should look for the following:

Existing common areas to generate revenue. Significant common areas or less desirable retail spaces within existing buildings can, in most cases, be converted into tenant amenities. To this point, the building will ideally have an integrated food and beverage element that can be easily accessed from its residential portions.

Dead space to monetize. A key factor in the boutique residential format is that it monetizes otherwise dead space. If you’ve got a large lobby, for instance, consider bringing in a coffee bar. An under-utilized basement? Add a bowling alley.

Efficient unit layouts. In a fully integrated boutique residential asset, tenants will be satisfied with smaller than typical unit sizes because the building and its amenities serve as an extension of their living room.

Incorporate at least 150 units with at least 20,000 square feet of common space. The ideal development or redevelopment of existing assets consists of at least 150 units of residential space with at least 20,000 square feet of common areas or retail spaces that can serve as amenities to tenants.

In the coming years, lifestyle-defining residential buildings will move concurrently with the demands of the market. Therefore, it’s essential for developers to understand this elusive but critical third dimension in residential real estate: the experience of the surrounding environment and the vibe just outside a tenant’s front door.

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