The Westwater Apartments in Kirkland, WA
The Westwater Apartments in Kirkland, WA
The Westwater Apartments in Kirkland, WA

What if the amenities at your apartment community went beyond the usual pool, tennis courts and fitness center — way beyond? How involved might you choose to be in an apartment society, a place that encourages shared involvement with fellow residents?

In California, an apartment community developer is going beyond the basics to give new meaning to “community,” creating programs like theater troupes, adult enrichment courses and after-school care for residents. And in Denver, some lucky sports fans can look forward to cheering for baseball… from their own rooftop!

Programs that have paid off
According to John Huskey of Los Angeles-based Meta Housing Corporation, apartment communities can do more to support families who live there. In building his most recent family-oriented apartment communities, Huskey discovered that there was a real need for on-site programs — and specially-designed spaces — where children could gather after school and continue to learn. That’s why his company has created after-school learning and mentoring programs which are available to residents living in the apartment community at no extra cost.

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The benefits to the children who participate have proved to be substantial. The after-school programs kept kids at home, actively engaged in study — instead of involved in risky behavior. And the learning opportunities increased their confidence at school. These programs have been so successful that Meta Housing Corp. has begun building dedicated, school-like structures in more of their apartment communities to accommodate the programs.

Sharing the arts at home
The same is true in Meta Housing Corp.’s senior communities, where education and art programs have been wildly successful. The company first began offering adult enrichment classes to seniors in great-room spaces, noting that the most popular courses involved creativity and the arts. They also noticed that, while the great-room environment was attractive to some residents, most found it too impersonal for social activity. In later generations of their senior communities, they have developed smaller, more intimate spaces for residents to gather to take classes and get to know each other. These new spaces foster a tighter-knit sense of community.

Seniors have enjoyed the enrichment and social aspects of arts classes so much that Huskey’s company went as far as building a 78-seat theater in one apartment community dedicated to a permanent theater troupe. When the theater troupe isn’t giving professional performances on-site, residents are allowed free access to use the theater building, as well.

Take me out to the ballgame… next door!
Another approach to creating community at home is featured at Broadstone Blake Street in Denver, Colorado. Alliance Residential is building a modern apartment community right next to Coors Field downtown. (Residents will be able to see the field from the rooftop of the community.) The residence-in-development is thought to appeal to young people — perhaps especially men — who want to live in a walkable area with easy commutes for working and access to downtown excitement, like ball games. Sharing that excitement with apartment neighbors — and built-in proximity — will make living in this community THE place to be a sports fan in Denver.

Toward apartment societies
The success of Meta Housing Corp.’s children and senior programs might indicate that apartment communities are evolving. With an emphasis on enriching resident lives beyond basic shelter, these spaces — based on what residents want and need — might become known as apartment societies in the future.

What else might the future hold? Amenities including on-site senior services like medical care and support groups, or family-oriented services like childcare or even home schooling could be possibilities. As apartment living continues to change shape and mature, multifamily community developers around the country will be looking to Huskey’s success to gain insight on new ways to meet the needs of their residents. In the meantime, you can look for ways to create community in your own apartment life today.

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Photo credit: Shutterstock / Monkey Business Images

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About The Author

Steve Harper enjoys seeking out and writing about topics that matter to renters for the Apartment Guide Blog. He hails from Atlanta, Georgia. Find Steve on Google.

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