The coronavirus pandemic is forcing a rethinking of the multifamily amenities so important to attracting and keeping tenants in apartments over the last decade.

Some social distancing built into the design is going to need to be an option, though the exact nature of changes isn’t clear yet.

Tenants will expect changes, but not a decline in quality, Illinois-based Optima President and Principal Architect David Hovey Jr. said.  “We believe that residents will expect the full return of their amenities and services, but also changes to accommodate safe social distancing without sacrificing their experience,” Hovey Jr. said. One design strategy, at least for larger multifamily properties, will be to spread the amenities out. The 490-unit Optima Signature in Chicago, which was completed in 2017, offers 1.5 acres of amenities across four floors. That includes seven distinct fitness spaces with overflow areas, so there is space to spread out equipment and add sanitizing stations, Hovey Jr. said.

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