New Lease On Life: Older Apartment Communities Stay Relevant - and Competitive – With Luxury-Inspired Service Offerings


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

In 2017, Chicago will see more than 6,600 new apartments come online – more than the past two years combined. As the supply has grown, so have rents, complicating the apartment search for renters looking for the latest services and amenities at an affordable price.

“It goes beyond the upgraded kitchens and bathrooms, which have become the norm,” said Mark Durakovic, principal of Kass Management Services. “Today’s savvy renters have been exposed to a highly amenitized rental experience – either themselves or through a friend – and they want an apartment community that caters to their lifestyle. They also want that sense of connection, not only to the unit they live in, but also to their neighbors and neighborhood.”

Founded in 1985, Kass has experience managing all types of rental and condominium properties, including communities that vary in size, age and location. This familiarity with buildings small and large, newly constructed and recently renovated, allows Kass to identify ways owners can elevate the resident experience while adhering to budgets for both their building and the residents who call it home.

“Not everyone can afford to live in a newly constructed apartment tower, but that doesn’t mean they have to forgo all of the lifestyle services offered at the newest luxury buildings,” said Durakovic.

Below are some creative ways Kass is implementing popular services and amenities across the 400 buildings it manages:

Making Room (Literally) for Health, Wellness and Socialization
“Fitness is key for the majority of renters, especially millennials,” said Durakovic. “An on-site fitness center is often the most-used – and most-requested – amenity, allowing renters to streamline their schedules and reduce expenses.”

While the majority of new buildings Kass manages come with fully equipped gyms, this is not always the case with older properties. The solution? Kass has successfully converted underutilized spaces such as basements and storage closets into gyms and resident lounges, creating amenities where none previously existed. And the firm doesn’t always stop with the physical transformation of a space. Kass recently partnered with LulaFit, a concierge fitness service, to provide residents with a holistic wellness experience. “LulaFit is a great service we can provide residents in both new-construction luxury buildings as well as older buildings,” said Durakovic.

“With LulaFit, we are able to turn any indoor or outdoor area into a space for health and wellness through on-site fitness classes and other programming. Additionally, residents can hire LulaFit specialists at a discounted rate for one-on-one in-home services such as personal training, massage therapy, nutritional coaching and instructional cooking.”

Kass also works with LulaFit to host events like “Yoga and Wine Nights” that help build a sense of community by giving residents an opportunity to meet and mingle.

According to Aaron Galvin, owner and managing broker of Luxury Living Chicago Realty, facilitating socialization among residents can help owners and managers not only attract but retain renters. “If a resident makes one friend, they are 50 percent more likely to renew,” said Galvin. “That number goes up to 70 percent if a resident makes two friends and 80 percent for three.”

Around-the-Clock Package Delivery – Without the Doorman
While online shopping offers convenience, it can also be a logistical nightmare for condo and apartment residents when it comes to actually receiving the packages.

“Since the vast majority of apartment and condo buildings in Chicago do not have a doorman, finding a solution to the package delivery dilemma has been a priority for us,” said Durakovic.

Over the past year, Kass has implemented a convenient package delivery and returns solution at many of its buildings. The service, fittingly named Doorman, works by providing residents with a personal Doorman shipping address at an off-site location. Doorman signs for the delivery on behalf of the resident, sends a notification to the recipient, and then holds the package until a convenient delivery date and time is provided, allowing users to schedule their package deliveries as late as midnight, seven days a week.

From Closet to Crate: On-Demand Storage Solutions
Even for those lucky enough to land an apartment or condo with walk-in closets, storing larger seasonal items like skis, bikes and golf clubs can still be a challenge. Having to lug everything to an off-site storage unit and retrieve them when needed is an even bigger hassle, especially for urban dwellers who don’t own a vehicle. That’s why Kass has partnered with Blue Crates, an on-demand storage service that delivers crates or wardrobes right to residents’ front door at the time and day of their choosing.

“Blue Crates is a great service that allows residents to store and retrieve items with just a few clicks or swipes on their smartphone,” said Durakovic. “It’s a fast, easy way for residents to declutter their apartment, free up valuable closet space and get rid of the golf clubs sitting in the corner of their bedroom. Not only is it convenient, but it’s also affordable. Renters can store their items for less than $10 a month in most cases.”