This is a green generation. And with this new generation of renters, the millennial generation, apartment operators are continuing to shift toward environmentally friendly amenities, with better technology and ultimately more bells and whistles. One of the many focal points in this shift, especially in urban areas, is the interest in bicycling rather than driving. In many major U.S. urban markets, like Los Angeles, Seattle, and New York City, bike lanes are multiplying and so is the availability of bike parking outside retail locations. Biking as a mode of transportation has increased by a whopping 60% in the last 10 years.
Many apartment communities have been catching on to the trend and see bike amenities as a new way to attract and retain the new millennial renters. By providing a space for bicycle storage, renters are no longer having to store their bikes in their bath tubs- because let’s be honest, there isn’t much room to store a bicycle in most urban apartments. They don’t want their bikes to take up precious space in their apartments, but they also want to be sure that their bicycle is in a safe place.
Best Ways to Approach Your Bike Storage Amenity
Whether you’re catering to your renter’s interest in bicycling by installing bike walls in individual units for tenants, or you’re building a custom bike storage facility – your environmental enthusiasts will thank you.
- Storage options
- Indoor Bike Storage Facility: This is probably the preferred option for bicyclists- a secure, covered area to store their bike in a storage facility. Even strong locks can be broken, so some renters are fearful of having their bikes locked up outside. The inside advantage: you can create secure access and security cameras. If you develop an indoor storage facility, add a simple motion detector and light to deter any potential theft and further protect the area.
- Outdoor bike parking: At the very least, you should provide bike parking racks outside in your community. This is the easiest addition to make, and will prevent renters from being forced to bring their bike indoors. The next best option outside would be the addition of bike lockers, which basically serve as bike “safes” or “vaults.” A potential benefit to bike lockers would be the opportunity to rent them out. If your building is located somewhere central or close to business centers or a public transportation hub, your renters are more likely to seek this amenity.
- In-unit wall mounts: If you don’t have space in communal or outdoor areas to create bike storage, the next best thing would be to provide correct bike storage options in-unit. If you’re in an urban setting where you know your renters like to commute via bike, adding this to your unit renovation list could improve tenant retention AND prevent potential damage from a tenant trying to create this themselves. There are some really aesthetically intriguing and practical ways to add bike storage to your multifamily units.
- Maintenance: Go above and beyond for your tenants by providing additional maintenance resources in your bicycle storage area. Some luxury apartment communities complete their bike areas with air pumps, equipment lockers, or “bike kitchens” that offer tubes and patch kits etc. For the bicycle enthusiast who spends $1000 on a high-end bike and takes the transportation method seriously, these added perks will be of great value. Another thought- include a bike washing station as well!
- Shared bike rentals: Originally this notion began on college campuses, but it has since spread beyond college communities. If you are in an area where folks are less invested in biking, but might want to be able to enjoy the benefits, then offering shared bike rentals can be the perfect option for your multifamily. Bike sharing stations are growing across metropolitan areas where renters yearn to become more immersed in their community and explore their city, in a different way.
Benefits in Adding this Amenity to Your Multifamily
- Appealing to millennials – Not only is the millennial generation “the green generation,” but they are also less eager to buy a home and get locked into a mortgage. Because many of them prefer renting today, they understand that this typically means no garage and no yards. If you can give them some of the benefits that these things offer, even in their absence, you will improve tenant retention and increase ROI overtime.
- Environmentally friendly – By promoting a more green-friendly lifestyle, you are endorsing a positive shift in how we treat our environment. And by providing bicycle storage at your facility, you can actually qualify for LEED credits (the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), which can be a great marketing tool.
- Parking space saver – If you promote a biking culture in your community, you might be able to reduce the need for extra parking space.
Add a Bicycle Storage Area to Your Renovation List
If you have decided on which bike storage approach you’d like to take, you can get started in the renovation or building of the space as soon as you’re ready. If you’re going to include bike racks in individual units, this may be something that will have to take place during initial development or during your unit-turns (as to not disturb current tenants). Take a look at your outdoor and indoor available square footage and contact a contractor to begin the planning process. Multifamily contractors like us will be able to walk you through your configuration options and can come up with a design that matches your building, and tenants’ needs.