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Author: Kelsi Maree Borland

Featured: Felicia Hyde, Principal/Design Director, H. Hendy Associates

In the amenity race, multifamily developers are upgrading the old business center into co-working models.

Co-working has become the new hot multifamily amenity. In the ongoing race to provide better and better amenities and – more recently – services, multifamily developers are now trading out business centers for co-working centers, equipped with high-end technology and scheduling tools. These on-site co-working centers are meant to appeal to the growing number of people working from home.

“Every single developer that we have been working with has requested a co-working space,” Felicia Hyde, multifamily studio director at architecture firm Hendy, tells “Developers are competing to try to get the best amenities in a space. Now, developers are doing co-working spaces. Last year, we were seeing more traditional business centers or small co-working spaces, but developers are starting to expand on those much more. They are larger, and they are putting in more technology.”

The new trend started to emerge a couple of years ago, but has now become the most requested addition on new developments. This is a stark change from the trend of eschewing business centers in years past. “Developers are looking to tap into the people that are working from home,; says Hyde. “Before developers looked at the space as a business center, not as a way to service people working from home. Because we work on corporate spaces, we have been able to educate developers on the importance of a co-working space.”

However, these co-working spaces are different than the traditional business center. They are highly designed and equipped with the best technology. As a result, these amenities come with a high price tag. “Developers want more aseptically designed and higher-end,” adds Hyde. “That has helped to drive construction costs through the roof. The tariffs issue is also putting a lot of pressure on us to develop a high-end space that fits within a budget.” Despite the expense, developers see the value and are finding ways to make it work, even if that means removing ceiling fans, wall coverings or replacing high-end fixtures.

In addition, developers are choosing to build these spaces into the communal areas of the property, rather than working with an operator or building a ground-floor commercial space with the intention of leasing to an operator. “Building it into their space is less hassle because they don’t have to work with an operator, and they are implementing scheduling technology to make it more self-serve,” explains Hyde.

While this is the latest trend in the amenity race, it is all part of the evolution toward more full-service, hotel-like multifamily experiences. “We are seeing more in the operations side, where we are seeing more services,” adds Hyde. “By operating services, I mean concierge services and poolside services. People want services to care of their needs. It is becoming more hotel-like. That is the goal.”