Yoga classes, spas, organic gardens, billiard rooms, rooftop terraces, indoor pools, concierge service. And, of course, Wi-Fi, everywhere, all the time. These are among the popular and appealing amenities spreading through New Jersey’s rental properties. Gone are the days when a few tread-mills in a dark basement room or onsite laundry facilities qualified as amenities. In today’s luxury rental market, the amenities are so rich and varied that they often become the deciding factor for discriminating renters.
In fact, the NMHC/Kingsley Associates 2015 Apartment Resident Preferences Survey showed that 94 percent of respondents said their top housing priority was high-speed Internet, beating out runner-ups, such as walk-in closets and a patio or balcony. Some common themes emerge when viewing the landscape of amenities — convenience, relaxation, fitness and connectivity.
“Today’s renters have two burgeoning demographic sectors: millennials who have never owned homes and the baby boomers who once owned, sold and now choose to rent,” said Kristina Hedden, vice president of marketing for BNE Real Estate Group, developer of The Waverly, a luxury rental community in Neptune. “While the needs and financial wherewithal of these two groups may differ, what draws them is the same: maintenance-free living with amenities and services that enhance their lifestyles.”
For busy young professionals, convenience is key. And even baby boomers want to maximize their free time. So amenities, such as onsite dry cleaners, electronic bill pay, package pick-up and the ability to walk to shopping and restaurants, are a huge draw for today’s renter. The Beacon in Jersey City exemplifies this lifestyle that is convenient and luxurious. Residents enjoy resort-style living in the city, with stunning views of the Manhattan skyline, an indoor pool, hot tubs, steam and sauna rooms, a spa, a grotto lounge, a billiards room, a great room, a poker room, a playground and an organic garden. There also are food trucks on-site, as well as a convenience store and bike repair shops.
Beacon residents also appreciate the proximity to downtown Jersey City’s vibrant nightlife and cultural centers, made even easier to access with the property’s complimentary, frequent shuttle service to downtown and its transportation hubs. Or Beacon residents can stay at home and enjoy the many events the property management hosts each month. Wine tastings, art shows and other events regularly take place at the property, giving residents a convenient way to meet neighbors and make new friends.
“What sets us apart is that we host a lot of events, usually three or four a month,” said John T. Masso, regional manager. “We make events very easy to attend. As you’re coming home, you can just stop in at the lobby for a bit.” While the Beacon is listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places, its six ornate buildings are all 21st century when it comes to connectivity, with complimentary Wi-Fi in apartments and common areas as part of the package. Perched at the highest spot in Jersey City, The Beacon offers a broad array of living options, from studios to three-bedroom triplexes, with rents ranging from $1,600 a month to $8,000.
Convenience, location and luxury meet at The Waverly, a new 272-unit luxury rental community on the border of Tinton Falls and Neptune Township in Monmouth County. Located a few minutes from some of the Jersey Shore’s best beaches, near shopping and within striking distance of the Garden State Parkway and trains to northern New Jersey and New York, the Waverly combines state-of-the-art technology with indoor and outdoor amenities to draw both young professionals and baby boomers looking for a hassle-free lifestyle, Hedden said.
“Wi-Fi business lounges, Internet-enabled furniture, coffee bars, rentable office space and quiet lounge areas are extremely popular,” Hedden said. “We’ve seen a huge uptick at all of our properties in renters working from home that utilize our amenity spaces as their daily offices.” Enter the Wi-Fi business lounge where telecommuters can work in a business atmosphere right at their own property. When they finish working, they can relax in residents’ lounge with a fireplace, cozy seating and a kitchenette. The heated outdoor pool is a great place for relaxing in the summer and has a terrace, lounge seating, a picnic area and two playgrounds for the children.
The Waverly’s apartments also are state of the art, equipped with smart-home technology systems, which allow residents to control temperature set-tings, security and other aspects of their home from their mobile device. “The location is nice and quiet, but it’s in the middle of everything,” said Raj Singh, a Waverly resident. “There is a Wi-Fi lounge which I use quite of-ten. Whenever I am working from home or if someone is coming to visit me, I can just sit in the lounge, which is awesome.”
The Waverly offers one- and two-bedroom apartments, ranging from about 853 square feet to 1,147 square feet of living space. Tenants find luxury and value here, with monthly rents starting from the low $1,700s for one bedrooms and low $2,000s for two bed-rooms. Today’s renters also are looking to stay fit, but they want more than a few treadmills and some weights. “Yoga studios, spin bikes with personalized video instructors, pilates ma-chines, oversized swimming pools — residents want access to commercial-grade fitness equipment steps from home,” Hedden said.