Luxury Apartment Buildings Tempt Renters With Over-the-Top Pet Amenities. ‘Dog People Really Are Dog People.’
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Luxury Apartment Buildings Tempt Renters With Over-the-Top Pet Amenities. ‘Dog People Really Are Dog People.’

Dog art class, ‘yappy hours,’ rooftop play spaces: How developers court high-price tenants

By MAGGIE EASTLAND
Thu, Aug 24, 2023 8:31amGrey Clock 3 min

The beauty pageant was in full swing outside an apartment complex in an Atlanta suburb. Decked out contestants pranced up and down a red carpet, while dozens of residents cheered and snapped photos.

The winner, who wore a custom-tailored red gown made by one of the tenants, went by the name Choupette. The gown didn’t quite cover her tail.

It’s unlikely Choupette understood everything that happened that night, even though her prizes included a stuffed catfish toy and a container of dehydrated chicken livers. Chris Melerski, the building resident who owns the Greater Swiss Mountain dog that won the crown—a gold foam board cutout, trimmed with faux white fur—was very appreciative.

“Dog people really are dog people,” he said. “When they offer things like this where you live, it means a lot.”

For years, pet needs tended to be an afterthought for the firms that managed luxury apartment towers. Landlords believed that showering tenants with deluxe amenities such as fitness centres, swimming pools, basketball courts and outdoor grilling stations was the way to fill up a building and command high rents.

Covid-19 altered that calculus after an explosion in pandemic pets. Millions of Americans adopted dogs as companions for long stretches stuck at home.

Pet mania has unleashed fierce competition among property owners to lure new tenants by offering the most generous—and sometimes over-the-top—dog perks, from dog schools to pet happy hours and giant rooftop dog parks. About 36% of U.S. apartment residents had a pet in 2022, according to a survey by the National Multifamily Housing Council.

“From the moment you start thinking about your business plan and start thinking about the design, you’re thinking about pet owners,” said Raul Tamez, a senior director for Greystar Real Estate Partners, the largest U.S. apartment manager, which operates more than 2,800 rental properties.

Greystar’s San Diego luxury high rise features a “bark bar” in the lobby with treats, bowls of water and a list of every five-star dog walker who works nearby.

Landlords say renters are prioritising the needs of their pooches over other factors long considered the most crucial when choosing a place to live. A survey of 1,170 apartment renters this year by developer Cortland found that dog owners rank a building’s pet policies, such as size restrictions and fees, as more important than even the cost of rent or a property’s location, according to the Atlanta-based firm that manages more than 250 apartment properties.

When Mike and Kelli Callanan looked for a new place to live in New York City, their pet’s needs were top of the list. The Manhattan building they found features a pet-bathing and grooming area, and doormen with a weakness for doling out dog treats.

“Darby was the main reason that we moved,” said Kelli Callanan, referring to their mini bernedoodle.

New York developer Related hired a designer to build a 5,600-square-foot rooftop dog park atop a San Francisco apartment building. The park is matted out in artificial turf and includes a replica fire hydrant to encourage bathroom breaks. Staff take care of cleaning.

In New York and other cities, Related also created Dog City, a daycare with activities including art, gardening and baking, aimed to accommodate dogs that live in its buildings.

For one project, staff dipped dogs’ paws in pet-safe paint and guided them where to stomp around the canvas to form the shape of a tree—one of many activities likely more entertaining for the owners than the dogs. Employees dressed pups up as artists to take photos of each with their paintings. Charcoal and Ashes, Annette Krayn’s two Chihuahuas, gave the art to their “Grandma.”

All dogs undergo temperament exams to ensure they can get along with daycare classmates. New dogs meet with each existing member individually, under the supervision of staff on the lookout for troublemakers.

“It’s harder than getting into a kindergarten at this point,” said Krayn. Charcoal initially failed the test—Krayn said he was dealing with anxiety after a kidnapping incident—so she enlisted a handler to help him pass the exam.

Cortland hosts “Yappy Hours.” The outdoor mixers offer peanut butter and pretzel swirl flavoured Ben & Jerry’s Doggie Desserts and “pup cup” ice cream for the dogs, and pizza, tacos and loaded fries from food trucks for the humans. At some buildings, staff set up sprinklers, mini inflatable pools and splash pads in the dog park.

In New York, the Callanans’ dog, Darby, slipped away from the person who was walking her on Randall’s Island while the family was away in Massachusetts. Darby found her way across the river and back to her building in Manhattan, sopping wet. The doormen recognised her right away, and helped get her to a vet’s emergency room, where she spent two days recovering.

Dog City, the doggy daycare, sent Darby a get-well-soon gift basket that included blankets, toys, a Yeti water bowl, dog treats and a $100 Dog City gift card, with a note that read: “She is a miracle and a celebrity in our eyes with her amazing yet terrifying adventure.”



MOST POPULAR
11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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The ball is in the buyer’s court with this knockdown/rebuild opportunity

By KANEBRIDGE NEWS
Tue, Apr 18, 2023 2 min

Glenhaven in Sydney’s Hills District is one of those areas that locals tend to keep to themselves. Leafy with large blocks on offer, the suburb takes its name from its valley location, with the northern end originally known as the Glen and the southern end called the Haven. 

En route from Parramatta to the Hunter, Glenhaven has become an ideal place for growing families in search of a little more space, or even room to house several generations under one roof.

The challenge is finding properties that tick all the right boxes.

As demand for trades and supply chain issues continue to ease, now could be the right time for a knockdown/rebuild project for would-be buyers looking to create their dream home.

Fairmont Homes specialises in knockdown/rebuild projects in Sydney. General manager at Fairmont Homes, Daniel Logue, said there are key features to look for when choosing a knockdown/rebuild site.

“The key items we look for are the site falling to the street, not to the rear, to help with stormwater drainage as well as access to the site,” he said. “Neighbouring property front setbacks are also important. In some older areas, the older houses are set closer to the street, meaning your new home will have to be set to suit.

“Value for money and the return on the end sale price of the home is another issue.”

If possible, he said designing a home that meets the criteria of the Complying Development legislation will speed up approvals considerably.

While suitable knockdown/rebuild sites can be hard to find in Glenhaven, there are still hidden opportunities if you know where to look.

One block at 158 Gilbert Road, Glenhaven is ideally suited for rejuvenation. With almost 850sqm to play with, it slopes down to the street and sits between neighbouring properties that have already been stylishly updated.

 

 

An existing basketball court at the rear could provide the perfect teen backdrop to a family home, or it could make way for a larger house with landscaped gardens and pool. Alternatively, it could be the perfect position for a cabana or granny flat to serve as in-law accommodation or a source of secondary income.

With recent sales of completed homes in nearby streets reaching well above $5 million, it’s a great opportunity to make a slam dunk of a buy into one of Sydney’s best kept secrets.

Address: 158 Gilbert Road, Glenhaven
Price guide: $1.8 million
Inspection: By appointment only

 

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This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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