Luxury Rentals Use Apps to Pique Interest
Posted On July 28, 2017
The High End
By ROSS BARKAN
Rose Associates, the developer,
has an app for 7 West 21st Street.
The typical app allows a resident to pay rent,
book a fitness class or report a problem.
When Nicole Silver wants to book a yoga class in her new apartment building or notify the doorman that her cousin is staying over while she jets off to Thailand, she does not make a phone call, send an email, or leave a note. She just opens up an app on her phone. In seconds, she is done.
“It’s the first app that actually makes a difference in my life,” said Ms. Silver, a 28-year-old Manhattan lawyer. “It makes everything seamless. ”
Ms. Silver is just one of many residents in high-end buildings now getting the app treatment. Living at 7 West 21st Street, an 18-story Flatiron rental building replete with the accouterments of modern luxury living — including a fitness center, golf simulator and rooftop garden — she was surprised to learn that the building came with a new perk: a customized app, courtesy of the developer, Rose Associates.
While smartphones are ubiquitous and their apps are de rigueur for daily living, developers only recently embraced them. Rose first tested its app last year. Like versions being rolled out by Brookfield Properties, Extell Development and JDS Development, the Rose app offers easier access to the amenities that entice renters to pay more than $4,000 a month for a studio.
The typical app allows the resident, with an easy swipe and tap, to complete tasks like paying the rent, booking fitness classes, arranging dry cleaning, reserving common areas for parties, receiving package notifications or telling the resident manager that you need your stove fixed. The Rose app offers discounts for neighborhood businesses looking to promote themselves.
“Some of it is as basic as: ‘How do I reserve things? I want to have friends over for a barbecue on Saturday night. How do I know I can reserve the barbecue?’” said J. Brian Peters, Rose’s chief operating officer.
At 555 10th Avenue, a new Hudson Yards development, a residential app is a “very important aspect” of the building, said Laura Kirschbaum, the vice president for development at Extell.
The app for 7 West 21st Street
includes pet services.
“We’re seeing a tremendous amount of engagement,” Ms. Kirschbaum said. Ninety-three percent of residents pay their rent through the app, for example, she said, adding, “We’re doing everything through apps.”
Residential apps are flourishing as the luxury market, particularly in Manhattan, cools off. With prices plateauing and demand slackening, developers and building managers are turning to new toys to lure prospective tenants.
At 7 West 21st Street, an 18-story Flatiron rental building, there are many aspects of modern luxury living, including party rooms to reserve and a fitness center.
Suddenly, steep prices need to justify themselves, and a rooftop garden is not enough.
“This notion of buildings developing apps to communicate with their tenants and make it more convenient is a great example of how buildings and developers are thinking creatively about alternative concessions and incentives,” said Lauren Riefflin, a senior manager for marketing and communications at StreetEasy, the listings website. “It’s a product of a changing competitive landscape in the luxury market.”
App developers see an opportunity. Francesca Loftus is a creator of hOM, an app used by a number of developers, including Rose, AvalonBay, Brookfield and Kushner Real Estate.
About Rose Associates, Inc.
Based in New York, Rose Associates is a developer, owner and operator of premium residential properties. From planning a new development to managing day-to-day property operations, the Rose 360 Platform offers a full range of services designed to maximize the value of real estate. The firm oversees more than 26,000 units across New York, with approximately $2 billion in projects under development. Rose recently opened the historic skyscraper 70 Pine Street, which the firm is transforming into a luxury rental property with 644 residential units, 132 extend-stay apartments and a destination restaurant/lounge occupying the top four floors.