Real Estate

Apartment Community Amenities Help Cure Covid-Era Cabin Fever

Challenging winters and cabin fever go together like subzero wind chills and waist deep snowdrifts. But the odds of turning a bit stir crazy grow even greater in this character-building winter of 2020-21, given Covid lockdowns and work-from-home protocols.

One group is less likely to feel confined, though. It’s made up of renters in multifamily communities featuring sanity-saving spaces perfect for combating winter isolation.

Attentive property managers have instituted cleaning and sanitizing practices in on-site fitness centers and co-working spaces. That makes them more inviting than some not-so-familiar space outside the building.

Management-supervised property-wide social events can also help residents break down barriers and savor a sense of community. Three out of four folks hunting for an apartment consider co-working spaces a must-have amenity. And a good 75 percent of them also prioritize amenities in their search.

So says Ericka Rios, president of Downtown Apartment Company, which helps Chicago renters find luxury apartment communities in the Windy City. “It’s so important for renters, especially those in small units or who live alone, to get out of their apartments for a change of scenery or to engage with neighbors,” Rios observes.

“Shared amenity spaces are generally where that happens. We’ve seen so much creativity with apartment buildings in Chicago to keep those spaces safe and activated for residents, so they can still enjoy all that the building has to offer. From Zoom-menities like virtual cocktail tastings or cooking classes, which are a big hit right now, to reservable meditation rooms and distanced workout equipment, property managers are going above and beyond to keep community engagement strong.”  

In fact, amenities designed into apartment buildings address every one of the “Four Ms of Mental Health” identified by board-certified psychiatrist Dr. Sue Varma, those being movement through physical activity, meaningful engagement with other people, mastery of a hobby or new skill and mindfulness, with meditation a prime example.

Sanity savers

Fifield Cos.’ new Chicago properties Logan Apartments and Westerly have co-working spaces well suited to those looking to stay healthy while working remotely or avoiding heading out into the city’s infamous icy winds. Booths, separate conference rooms and enclosed mini offices let residents leave their own apartment homes but still ensure a comforting measure of the distancing strongly advised during the pandemic.

“Feedback we’ve received from our current residents and prospects who have toured has confirmed the importance we place in providing access to premium amenities like comfortable co-working spaces, fitness centers and resident lounges to Chicagoans living in apartments,” says Jon Schneider, Fifield Cos. senior vice president.

“Winters here can be brutal, even without the limitations caused by the pandemic. And residents appreciate being able to leave their apartments and stay active and connected to their community right in the building, without having to navigate the cold, wind and snow.”

Spurring movement

At developer Related Midwest’s One Bennett Park, residents can reserve the meditation room for relaxation and mindfulness. They can also take part in socially-distanced small group activities for residents and their children, like pop-up obstacle courses or action songs that encourage movement and interaction with neighbors. Fitness classes in adjacent Bennett Park incorporate strollers into cardiac routines.

Parkline Chicago, a newly-unveiled, 26-story 190-unit luxury community from developer Moceri + Roszak and partner Thomas Roszak Architecture, lets renters take advantage of 22,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor amenity spaces. These range from small 18th-floor conference rooms for distanced work to a 4th-floor fitness/ wellness facility with reservable yoga studio for meditation or individual yoga practice.

Collectively, these spaces loom large at a time when Covid restrictions mount in tandem with measurable snowfall. As Rios observes, “These small measures can make a big difference in the life of a renter. The happiness factor is huge!”


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