I found myself back in Downtown Los Angeles last weekend (no surprise!), but this time it wasn’t to grab a bite to eat or do a bit of window shopping, it was to visit with an old friend who just moved back to the area. Halfway through the evening, I finally convinced him to take me on an impromptu tour of his apartment building. The tour was great—the apartment was well decorated and it had all the modern upgrades and amenities that residents look for, but I wasn’t ready to up and move home just yet.
Then he showed me the rooftop and I was blown away.
It wasn’t just the fact that the rooftop offered virtually 360-degree panoramic views over the DTLA skyline. It wasn’t just the allure of the comfy lounge chairs and fire pit. It wasn’t just the peaceful, tinkling waters of the fountain in the little garden. It was the fact that for the first time ever, I had escaped the noise, traffic, and hustle and bustle of downtown without having to drive to the valley or the beach.
Want to give your current and prospective tenants the same feeling I had of being on top of the world? Follow these tips to rise above with a rooftop deck for your DTLA multifamily.
Getting a Bird’s Eye View of the Competition
First, let’s look at the current rooftop scene in Los Angeles. Two of Foursquare’s top 10 best places with a view in Los Angeles are located downtown, so there are clearly stunning views to be found. Moreover, according to Zillow, by having a rooftop deck, your multifamily will be in the minority. Of the 100 apartments currently available to rent in DTLA, only 25 have access to a rooftop deck, so if you do have one, you must utilize the space to its full potential. In fact, a rooftop is more than just a way to stand out from the competition on an Internet search. Real estate brokers interviewed by the New York Times believe rooftops exert an almost gravitational pull on prospective buyers and tenants.
Making the Most of Your Rooftop
Whether or not you already have a rooftop deck, consider the following suggestions to create an outdoor retreat that could have prospective tenants drooling over your multifamily and will give current residents another reason to stay:
- Create a viewing deck. Hopefully, if you’re considering adding a rooftop terrace, your apartment has the kind of views that make people stop and stare. They don’t have to be breathtaking, but as long as you can see more than the surrounding buildings then the design of your rooftop deck should center on the views. Consider adding a multipurpose seating area that takes advantage of the views and allows residents to take in all of DTLA whether they’re eating, reading, or working. You should also make sure safety barriers don’t interfere with the view if possible. Glass is always a good choice here.
- Add a pool. Just because you’re in the heart of DTLA doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the city’s sunshine and have an outdoor swimming pool. It’s of course not essential for creating a beautiful outdoor space, but it’s certainly an amenity that will draw people to your multifamily. Engineering a rooftop pool can be a complex process, and they generally cannot be as large or deep as ground pools, but the appeal alone may be enough to convince you to undertake the project. Just like with a regular outdoor pool, consider the impact of shadows from neighboring buildings. No one wants to swim in the shade. And don’t forget to make the most of your pool area by adding couches and sunbeds, as well as umbrellas or other shade structures.
- Create a rooftop garden. If you can have an outdoor pool in DTLA, then why can’t you have a garden as well? Adding turf, plants, and trees to your rooftop can turn it from an observation deck to a rooftop retreat that tenants will return to again and again. But remember where your garden is located; maintenance may be a bit more complicated when the garden is 200ft in the air. Plan carefully to ensure your garden remains easy to maintain with landscape features that won’t need constant TLC to look their best.
- Add a technological touch. It’s not worth creating a stunning rooftop deck if residents won’t get the use out of it. Guarantee they do by making sure your rooftop is tech-ready. This means ensuring the building’s public wifi reaches the rooftop and installing USB ports and charging stations so that whether guests are trying to work or relax, they aren’t off the grid.
- Add other must-have amenities. Frankly, there’s no reason a lot of amenities can’t work on a rooftop. BBQs, fire pits and dog parks can all have their place on a well-designed rooftop, although perhaps not all in the same place. The sky is literally the limit when it comes to adding amenities on top of your apartment.
As you can see, you can take your rooftop in a multitude of directions. Of course, what works well for one multifamily apartment may not work well for another. Whatever renovations you ultimately decide on, always design and build with your ideal tenant in mind.
Help Getting on Top
Renovating a rooftop space will require creativity and a bit of ingenuity to utilize the area in the best way, but the returns on your investment will be worthwhile. The area will no doubt attract potential residents as well as create a social community space for current tenants and their guests. Do also note, however, that renovations of this kind are also going to require sign-off from the city’s building and safety department. Make sure you notify the LA Department of Building and Safety immediately if you plan to carry out work to your rooftop. If you’re planning on implementing the amenities discussed above, you should also check out the following guidelines and requirements for building a rooftop garden and swimming pool.
The renovations suggested here are far from run-of-the-mill. If you’re serious about making the most of your rooftop, then you will require a team of renovation experts. REIG can help you create a rooftop deck that will put your multifamily head and shoulders above the competition. For more information on how our team can help or to get a quote for your project speak to one of our friendly advisors or use the contact form below.