Self-serve dog-washing stations are reinforcing strong bonds between multifamily residents and their beloved canines.
There’s a construction boomlet under way in dog-washing facilities at U.S. and Canadian apartment and condominium communities.
Half of U.S. dog owners live in the 25 largest U.S. metro areas, where dog-focused amenities are common at apartment and condominium properties. More than half (55.2%) of respondents to this publication’s 2017 “Amenities Survey” said they had installed a dog-wash spa in a multifamily projects.
Dog ownership has risen 29% in the past decade, claims pet-food market researcher Packaged Facts. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, singles and renters make up the fastest-growing group of new dog owners.
Dog-washing stations provide renters and condo owners with an on-site amenity that’s a lot more practical than bathing a pup in a ceramic or fiberglass tub intended for humans. “Most tubs in multifamily building units have a conventional kitchen sink drain that can easily clog with dog fur, leading to maintenance and hygiene issues,” said Gary Sherman, Founder/CEO, Evolution Dog Wash Company, Los Angeles, who has installed about 50 such systems in residential buildings in North America.
The cost of installing a dog wash station can run from $3,500 to $8,000 per tub with all equipment, said Dan Hembree, President, Hemcor Construction, Cary, N.C. Some multifamily communities offer it as a free amenity; others charge a one-time fee or a per-use or monthly fee.
We asked four experienced professionals about installing these amenities. Here’s what they recommended.
Select a convenient location. Our experts recommend locating the dog-wash stations close to elevators, with easy access to the exterior, if possible. The dog spa at the 41-story Quartz at City Place condominium tower in downtown Toronto is adjacent to a small outside dog park, which is accessible through a side entrance. “Residents can whisk their muddy dogs inside quickly and without tracking them through the main lobby area,” said Dominic De Freitas, ARIDO, IDC, NCIDQ, Vice President of Residential Development at interior design firm figure3, Toronto.
Size it right. Dog-washing spaces range in size from 100 sf to more than 1,000. The most basic house a utility sink and a few prefabricated stainless-steel tubs, said architect Brian Romanelli, Associate, Solomon Cordwell Buenz, Chicago. Larger, more sophisticated dog spas feature custom-designed systems with wall-mounted blow dryers and grooming tables. Rooms should be adequately sized to give dog owners easy access to all equipment, he said.
Connect the space to other pet amenities. At AMLI Residential’s new AMLI Arc luxury apartment tower in downtown Seattle—a city where pets far outnumber children—the “Canine Social Club” in the 12th-floor amenities space has a dog spa with two self-serve washing areas and a grooming station with a hydraulic lift. The space is adjacent to an indoor-outdoor pet lounge that’s connected to a semi-outdoor dog run with artificial turf. "We were able to create a large, playful space that benefits both the residents and their pet family members,” said Camilla Watson, Interior Designer, ZGF Architects, Seattle.
Where there are multiple tubs, position the water valves on opposite sides of the tubs, so that two dogs aren’t facing each other while bathing. “Helps avoid conflict,” said Hembree.
Provide a ramp for the dogs, especially larger species, to get into the tub. “It can be a strain to hoist and control a rambunctious pup who isn’t crazy about getting wet and soapy,” said Sherman.
Never ignore aesthetics. Developers want to avoid making dog-grooming spaces feel like utilitarian, back-of-house facilities, said De Freitas. “There’s more of a focus to create a spa-like environment, especially in purpose-built rental projects,” he said. At the Sinclair, a 35-story, 390-unit luxury apartment tower in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood, the finishes in the dog spa are consistent with the project’s other amenity spaces. “Tile floors, wainscoted walls, custom decorative lighting, and natural-toned finishes were incorporated throughout the space” as requested by the developer (Fifield Companies), said Romanelli.
Pay close attention to maintenance, air quality, and noise. Select wall and floor finishes that are easy to clean and resistant to moisture, including slip-resistant floors with a dog-friendly coating, said Romanelli. “It’s also important to provide adequate ventilation to ensure that no strong odors leave the room.” Sound-absorbing ceiling tiles and other acoustical treatments can prevent boisterous barks from penetrating into adjacent spaces.
Make sure electrical outlets are designed to accommodate hair dryers—in some cases, a 220-volt receptacle may be needed. Install wall-mounted hair dryers within easy reach of human users. If necessary to avoid accessibility problems, have the manufacturer weld custom brackets underneath the grooming table, said Hembree.
Specify non-slip grooming mats on drying tables. “A good rubber mat allows the wet animal to stand comfortably without fear of slipping,” said Hembree.
Look into built-in storage. The dog spa at AMLI Arc has open bins for residents to store their supplies short-term and lockers for long-term storage, said Watson.
Build community. Pet owners gravitate toward other pet owners, and dog-washing stations can serve as social connectors in multifamily communities. “We’re seeing a big push to create a community-like environment within a building,” said De Freitas. “As these spaces continue to get larger, they’re inevitably going to become more social as well.” At a new apartment building De Freitas is designing in downtown Toronto, the glass-fronted dog-wash room will be clearly visible from the main lobby. “We want the lobby to feel active and conducive to community,” he said. “So many people in these buildings have dogs. We’re trying to celebrate that, instead of hiding it.”
Prepare for future enhancements. De Freitas predicts that professional dog-grooming services, such as nail trimming and shearing, will become more common as developers and property managers test new and more elaborate pooch-friendly services.
Newbies to Chicago’s suburbs are increasingly stowing cars and slipping into walking shoes.
No longer are McMansions, white picket fences and sprawling square footage topping suburban buyers’ most-wanted list. Instead, proximity to a suburb’s downtown and easy access to restaurants, schools and parks are priorities. For many, walkable suburbs reign supreme.
“Buyer demand has shifted from wanting to be situated in the suburbs, to homes in the urban core,” said Nathan Freeborn, real estate agent with realty website Redfin. “People are trying to get away from using their cars as much as they can.”
That was the goal for the Franken family — Mara, 37; David, 38; Matthew, 5; and Eva, 2 — who moved from Chicago to Glenview about a year ago.
“We wanted to find a home that was close enough to the downtown to enjoy walking like we did in the city,” Mara Franken said. By foot, the Frankens can easily reach a library, train, four parks, a grocery store and a few restaurants.
“It almost feels like we’re in the city, with the benefit of having a yard and neighbors and a garage,” Franken said, noting that they checked the walk score — a measure of how walkable an area is — of houses before touring.
The shift toward more walkable suburbs started over the past two decades, thanks to planning efforts concentrated on creating mini-downtowns to revive traditional suburban centers, said Kheir Al-Kodmany, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs.
Suburbs throughout Illinois added restaurants, cafes, stores, movie theaters, parks and sidewalks.
For instance, Wheeling recently spent $110 million to create a 16.2-acre downtown, slated for completion in late 2018, which will include a 25,000-square-foot plaza and a 100,000-square-foot retail area that includes a movie theater, restaurants and more. And in downtown Glenview, a four-story mixed-use development featuring 138 luxury apartments wrapped up in 2014.
“These suburban downtown places offer alternatives to the city’s downtown, which is increasingly expensive, unaffordable, congested, noisy, crowded and polluted. As a result, the suburbs could offer the best of both worlds,” Al-Kodmany said. “Low-density, affordable, peaceful and comfortable living that is accessible to vibrant, busy social places.”
A 2017 study by the National Association of Realtors found that walkers span the generations. Sixty-two percent of millennials and 55 percent of those born before 1944 prefer walkable communities and brief commutes, even if it means living in an apartment or town home. And 53 percent of Americans would give up a home with a large yard in exchange for a home with a smaller yard that’s within walking distance of the community’s amenities, according to the study. That figure is up from 48 percent in 2015.
It’s part of a shift toward valuing time and experiences more than possessions, said John Burns, CEO of John Burns Real Estate consulting.
“We coined the term ‘surban’ for this trend, which is development that is bringing the best of urban to the suburbs,” Burns said.
The housing prices reflect the shift away from the larger suburban homes to the suburban downtown condos.
A larger home in the far-out suburbs that may have sold in 2003 for $700,000 could be seen on the market today for $100,000 less, while a home in a downtown suburban area developed just two years ago will have already gone up in price, according to Julie Dunne, a Barrington-based realty agent with Keller Williams Success Realty.
A 2016 study from realty site Redfin seems to support Dunne’s point. The study took into account more than 1 million home sales between January 2014 and April 2016 and found that homes with higher walk scores tend to have higher sales prices than comparable homes in less walkable areas. One walk score point can increase a home’s price by an average of $3,250. In Chicago, the study found an increase of one walk score point can bump a home’s price by $2,437.
Developers haven’t missed the trend, and suburbs throughout the Chicago area have transformed into construction zones.
Construction began last November at Park Place Glenview, a 26-residence development in downtown Glenview located in the 40,000-square-foot former village hall. It’s one block from an elementary school, and is within walking distance to Starbucks, Trader Joe’s, the Glenview Metra station, North Shore Country Club, a brewery and restaurants.
“People are excited to have the best of both worlds,” said Tom Drake, president of The Drake Group, builder and developer of Park Place Glenview.
Buyers want the schools and amenities that the suburbs provides, but they don’t want to give up anything the city has to offer either, Drake said.
Construction is also underway in Lake Forest’s downtown, where the luxury Kelmscott Park development is introducing a mix of 12 single-family homes, 42 condominiums and 111 apartments designed by architecture firm Booth Hansen. Kelmscott Park is within walking distance of the Lake Forest Metra station, grocery stores, restaurants, parks and boutique gyms. All the condo and apartment parking is underground because it’s supposed to feel like an in-town experience, said Tim Anderson, CEO and owner of Focus, the developer of Kelmscott Park.
Some realty agents say millennials and first-time suburban buyers are at the center of the downtown suburban living trend.
“The most common profile” says realty agent Freeborn, is this: “young families moving up from the city who are reticent to give up the walkability of urban life.”
Danielle Braff is a freelance writer.
Chicago has issued a $24 million building permit for a project that “co-locates” affordable housing above a new Chicago Public Library at 6800 N. Western Ave. at what is known as the Northtown branch.
Perkins+Will designed the four-story project. Powers & Sons Construction is the general contractor.
The initiative is a collaboration between Chicago Public Libraries, the Chicago Housing Authority and private developer Evergreen Real Estate Group, which is also developing a similar project in Irving Park.
The permit describes the project as a “mixed use building, concrete structure” with an occupied green roof on the second level. There is a surface parking lot west of the building, and “row and alley improvements”. The permit document says the exterior wall assembly on the third and fourth floors and the library ceiling will have a separate permit.
May 3, 2018 | Dan Rafter
Large portfolios worth more than $150 million gave the medical office market a boost in 2017. JLL reported that these major portfolios made up an impressive 60 percent of the medical office sales recorded throughout the country last year.
Overall, the $5.9 billion worth of portfolio sales in the medical office sector last year exceeded the total sales for all years before 2015, according to JLL’s research.
JLL cited the sale of Duke Realty’s healthcare division at $2.7 billion as the biggest medical office sale of 2017. This deal boasted record-breaking pricing levels for medical office, encouraging other owners of medical portfolios to hit the market, too.
The Duke sale along with the MBRE Healthcare recapitalization of $640 million, the Meadows & Ohly sale of $600 million and the Investors Real Estate Trust healthcare division sale of $368 million dominated transaction activity for the year. JLL reported that these big sales made up 41 percent of 2017’s medical office sales.
Overall, there were 19 portfolio sales in the medical office space during 2017. These sales had an average value of $312 million. Compare this to 2014 through 2016, when the sector saw an average of 12 portfolio sales each year with an average sales price of $214 million.
The trend of large portfolio sales grabbing headlines has continued into 2018. The PHT portfolio and Welltower’s sale of its Aurora Health Care medical systems each consisted of 1.4 million square feet. Two other big medical office portfolios are now on the market: the 950,000-square-foot Hammes portfolio and the 1.02 million-square-foot Elliott Bay healthcare portfolio.
Hoffman Estates village board members are moving towards approval of a massive concept plan that will redevelop the former AT&T campus into a self-contained “City Works” residential/business community.
Published reports indicate that community’s planning, building and zoning committee approved a proposed development agreement with Somerset on May 7, setting the stage for the full council approval on May 14.
There are still additional levels of approval before construction can start on the 150- acre site. Final approval of even the earliest office components is likely six months away, The Real Deal reports. However, councillors are impressed with Somerset’s proposal, applying lessons learned on a conversion of the two million-sq. ft. former Bell Labs building in Holmdel, NJ.
DataBid reports the plans call for self-contained metropolis (Metroburb) with new residential retail and hotel developments.
There will be 550 residential units at the telecom giant’s former home, which will also include a “town center” with 1.2 million sq. ft. of offices 80,000 sq. ft. of conferencing space 60,000 sq. ft. of ground floor retail and a neighboring 200-room hotel.
Preliminary plans show 375 apartments and 175 town homes primarily on the property’s eastern border which would bring “24/7 life to the site that is vital to its success,” DataBid reports.
The existing buildings would mostly continue to be used as offices with suites ranging from 1,000 to 100,000 sq. ft. but with the atrium in the main building used as a “pedestrian street” with retail shops and restaurants with 24-hour public access.
A later phase of the development would include constructing the hotel near the northwest corner of the main office building.
A rendering of the Meijer Bridge Street Market coming to Grand Rapids, an example of the type of physical retail that is thriving today.
May 3, 2018 | Dan Rafter
The headlines are filled with major store closures. Sandwich chain Subway just announced it plans to close 500 of its U.S. locations this year, while GNC reported that it will shutter 200 of its vitamin and supplement shops.
Earlier this year, Toys R Us made news when it announced it was closing all 735 of its stores this year, ending its U.S. business. And department store chain Carson’s will close all its stores by late this summer, wrapping up more than 160 years of retail operations.
The news, then, appears to be bad for physical retailers. But that’s a bit misleading. Not all brick-and-mortar retailers are struggling. Many are actually thriving. And in many Midwest markets? Retail is showing solid, if not explosive, growth.
Those retailers that are doing well are embracing the omnichannel approach, focusing both on physical stores and bustling online presences. You might visit a physical location, view a limited number of products on display and then make your actual purchase on a Web site. The retailer doesn’t care where you buy its product, as long you buy it.
So, where in the Midwest is retail performing well? Grand Rapids, Michigan, is a good example. According to CBRE’s first quarter Grand Rapids retail report, the average retail vacancy rate during the quarter here stood at 6.9 percent, down from 7.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017.
The retail market in Grand Rapids saw positive absorption of 96,566 square feet, too.
CBRE said that Grand Rapids’ Central Urban Area is seeing an influx of new retail opportunities. The most notable of these is the Meijer Bridge Street Market, a 37,000-square-foot urban grocery store; the Warner Building project, which includes 10,000 square feet of retail; and the Diamond Place mixed-use development, which will include 22,000 square feet of retail.
Finally, there’s the Studio C project that will include a 47,200-square-foot movie theater and 14,500 square feet of additional retail.
Grand Rapids isn’t the only market in the Midwest and across the country that is seeing a bit of a retail rebound these days. The Urban Land Institute, in its 2018 forecast, said that an expected increase in consumer spending should provide a boost to the U.S. retail market in 2018 and 2019.
The institute predicted that retail vacancy rates across the country would hit an average of 9.8 percent in 2018 and 9.9 percent in 2019. Those rates are higher than, say, in Grand Rapids right now, but are actually lower than what experts with the Urban Land Institute predicted six months earlier.
The Urban Land Institute also predicted that retail rental rates should grow at 2 percent in 2019 and 1.8 percent in 2019. Those aren’t booming numbers, but they do show that retail rental rates should rise at least somewhat during the next two years.
In Honolulu, Anaha at Ward Village offers a first-of-its-kind amenity for Hawaii.By Leah Demirjian
Architecture, interior design, and planning firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz announces the completion of the second residential condominium tower in Honolulu's Ward Village. Dubbed Anaha—which translates to "reflection of light" in Hawaiian—the tower is a residential cornerstone of the Howard Hughes Corp.–developed, cosmopolitan Hawaiian complex.
The tower's most novel feature—a glass-bottomed, saltwater pool—extends 15 feet off the edge of the building's seventh floor. Supported by cantilevers, the 75-foot-long swimming pool is the first of its kind in Hawaii and offers sweeping views of the coast and downtown Honolulu. The pool was conceptualized by Surfacedesign, the project's landscape architects.
The 60-acre master planned community, which is located in the vibrant Kaka’ako district of Oahu, showcases how architectural place-making can transform a city's center into a bustling urban core. The 40-story, 857,000-square-foot Anaha tower creates 311 condominium homes with the hope of transforming a previously industrial and retail-focused district into a thriving mixed-use community.
The tower's undulating architecture—inspired by its coastal location—features a wave motif that lends the project a distinctly island-style feel. Its form is derived from a sequence of shifted, interlocking curved floor plates, and its floor-to-ceiling glass curtain walls provide unobstructed views of the ocean and mountains. Anaha's façade is designed with a green-blue glass cladding meant to mimic the colors and shapes found in the Pacific Ocean.
"The composition is reminiscent of the play between the crests and troughs of a calm ocean wave," said the architects in a press release. "And like a wave, the reflection of light off the façade will constantly alter as the viewpoint and environmental conditions change."
In addition to the floating infinity pool, the building offers a bevy of luxe amenities, including the largest green living wall in the United States, which contains a blend of 8,000 indigenous tropical plants, as well as a sand volleyball court, a dog run, and a movie theater.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Leah Demirjian is senior associate editor of design for Custom Home, Builder, and previously, ARCHITECT. She holds a bachelor's degree in writing. Before joining Hanley Wood Media, she worked with an architecture firm in Los Angeles.
Chris Coleman, VP of Development at Wingspan, periodically shares his thoughts and observations on property development news.