The Concept Community project came alive at the recent Multifamily Executive Conference with a keynote presentation from AvalonBay's Jon Cox, KTGY's Rohit Anand, and J Turner Research's Joe Batdorf.

When AvalonBay approached KTGY Group with their unique idea to build a community around the very specific Gen Y demographic, everyone involved realized that although it hadn’t been done on a large scale yet, it had the potential to be a game changer.

Several different surveys were conducted by AvalonBay on the housing preferences of Gen Y, and those findings informed how Rohit Anand, principal at KTGY, designed H Street. It was evident that location and technology were of some of the utmost importance to potential Gen Y renters, and that the aesthetics and space requirements of other generations were disparate.

“It’s how they see themselves,” says Joseph Batdorf, principal at J Turner Research. “That’s how you’re going to market to them.”

Urban Migration
Gen Y looks for affordability, personal flexible space, social spaces, and urban locations. AvalonBay focused on urban locations, landing on H Street, NE in Washington, D.C. The hotel-inspired AVA H Street was planted in an up-and-coming neighborhood to keep rents low, and the common areas both inside and out were designed to foster interaction and promote convenience.

The challenge was in creating a product that resonated with the demographic, Anand said, so they chose a design team that best represented Gen Y. KTGY brought in some young architects, all of which were members of Gen Y, from its Southern California office to give H Street a fresh perspective. 

AvalonBay was careful to avoid trendiness on the design, but kept some vertical design elements of the neighborhood, which was filled with row houses. Though the floorplans are smaller, the community's plush common area spaces and its space-saving in-unit amenities (like a rolling kitchen island) complimented the scheme.

The courtyard includes a grill and multiple iPod docks, while the mailroom was opened into a social lobby rather than placed in a nondescript hallway. The leasing hub also takes place in the lobby, allowing more space for social interaction.

The community is due to open in November, and AvalonBay is marketing heavily now. Knowing that Gen Y placed so much trust on rating sites like Yelp and required constant communication, AvalonBay is leveraging social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and 4square to raise interest.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Washington, DC.