flexiblefullpage -
billboard - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
Currently Reading

Multifamily amenity trends: The latest in package delivery centers

Multifamily Housing

Multifamily amenity trends: The latest in package delivery centers

Package delivery centers provide order and security for the mountains of parcels piling up at apartment and condominium communities.


By David Malone, Associate Editor | April 26, 2017

Package center at The Frasier, Arlington, Va., designed by KTGY Architecture, comes with its own trashcan plus tabletop. Photo: courtesy KTGY Architecture

Why did you refuse that?” George Costanza asks Jerry in a 1996 episode of “Seinfeld.” “Everybody loves a package.”

That might have been true back then, when Amazon was a mere online bookstore and receiving a package hadn’t become part of the daily routine. Today, anyone managing a decent-sized apartment or condo community may find the onslaught of packages overwhelming. With residents able to get delivery of anything from a pack of gum, to a $600 iPhone, to the refrigerated ingredients for that night’s dinner, multifamily complexes are awash in a swirling tide of cardboard boxes and plastic bags. 

“The exponential growth of Amazon and other package delivery services has had a profound impact on the design of today’s multifamily communities,” says Rohit Anand, AIA, NCARB, Principal, KTGY Architecture + Planning. “Everything from groceries, to dry cleaning, to traditional online purchases is being delivered on a daily basis, leaving it up to property managers to determine how best to distribute them to residents.” In some cases, says Anand, residents expect around-the-clock access to their packages due to their busy schedules.

The solution: dedicated package delivery centers. Such facilities have been around for the last decade or so in some multifamily communities, but have grown in number and sophistication as the flood of packages has risen, and as residents’ reliance on them has gone up exponentially. Apartment managers and condominium associations  also have to be concerned  about legal liabilities associated with lost or damaged packages, and the mounting cost of staff hours devoted to accept and deliver packages.

 

DEFINING THE PACKAGE CENTER

A package center is a dedicated, secure space for delivered packages to be stored until residents can pick them up (or, in some cases, have them delivered directly to their units). Some centers take the form of a traditional mailroom, staffed with personnel to retrieve and manage packages for residents. But employing enough staff to allow residents 24/7 access to their packages can become difficult and expensive, so package delivery centers are automating.

Automated systems, such as those provided by Package Concierge or Parcel Pending, store packages in secure lockers. When a courier delivers a package, he/she will follow the integrated touchscreen’s prompts to enter the recipient’s name and select an appropriately sized locker. A locker will then open and the package can be placed inside. 

Once the locker door is closed, a text message is sent automatically to the recipient alerting the person of the package’s arrival and providing a unique PIN. To get the package, the resident need only enter the PIN and the locker door will automatically open. Residents can access their packages any time, day or night.

 

The Palisades at Sierra del Oro, Corona, Calif., developed by MBK Rental Living, uses an automated center to give residents 24/7 access to deliveries. Photo: MBK Rental Living

 

Due to the ever-increasing volume of deliveries, package centers are getting bigger and bigger. “Prior to the recession, we would allocate about one square foot of wall area per unit when designing a package room,” says Anand. “We later doubled that number to two square feet, and now are finding that we need to set aside three square feet per unit in some of the newest residential communities.”

Kass Management offers a service called Doorman, where packages are collected at an off-site location until residents can arrange for pickup. “We wanted a solution that addressed the need, yet was still economical,” says Kass’s Mark Durakovic, Principal.

Steven Fifield, President of Fifield Companies, says his company is even coordinating deliveries of “lifestyle-service” providers—Pilates instructors, dog groomers, personal chefs—who perform in-home services for apartment and condo dwellers.

Then there’s the proliferation of food-delivery services like Peapod and Blue Apron. To keep food from spoiling, package centers are starting to incorporate refrigerated rooms or lockers. RMK Management Corp. is retrofitting some properties with coolers and installing refrigeration rooms in new developments. “Refrigeration was virtually nonexistent before the recession,” Anand says. “Today, it is offered in approximately 10% of new residential communities.” 

 

IT’S A COMMUNITY AFFAIR

Many rental and condominium communities integrate package centers into high-traffic areas. Not only does this make it easier for couriers to find the center and deliver packages, it also makes receiving a package a neighborly event.

If planned and designed appropriately, package centers can strengthen community ties among residents. The inclusion of communal tables and recycling bins gives residents the option to open their packages immediately while socializing with their neighbors. “Ultimately, it’s about the resident experience,” says Anand. “As designers, how can we create a community where serendipitous encounters lead to long-lasting relationships among residents?”

What about drone deliveries? Now that Amazon Prime Air and others are toying with the idea, figuring how best to integrate drone deliveries with package centers may prove to be a bit of a head-scratcher for designers. “Drones and packaging centers will need to be compatible,” says Rick Fletcher, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, MBK Homes.

But large-scale package delivery via drones does not appear to be imminent. There are plenty of logistical and regulatory hurdles Amazon and its online siblings will have to overcome before the skies will be filled with the sonorous buzz of package-laden drones.

 

With the Package Concierge touchscreen at Village Plaza, Chapel Hill, N.C., designed by KTGY Architecture, the tenant follows the touchscreen prompts, enters a PIN, and the correct locker automatically opens. Photo: courtesy KTGY Architecture

Related Stories

Multifamily Housing | Nov 29, 2022

Number of office-to-apartment conversion projects has jumped since start of pandemic

As remote work rose and demand for office space declined since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, developers have found converting some offices to residential use to be an attractive option. Apartment conversions rose 25% in the two years since the start of the pandemic, with 28,000 new units converted from other property types, according to a report from RentCafe. 

Multifamily Housing | Nov 22, 2022

10 compelling multifamily developments debut in 2022

A smart home tech-focused apartment complex in North Phoenix, Ariz., and a factory conversion to lofts in St. Louis highlight the notable multifamily developments to debut recently.

Sponsored | Multifamily Housing | Nov 16, 2022

Commercial Framer Training: Back to Basics for Big Buildings

A glimpse into the most common wood construction framing errors, and how to avoid them, in today’s nonresidential construction industry.

Legislation | Nov 13, 2022

U.S. voters pass numerous affordable housing measures

Voters in many U.S. jurisdictions passed housing measures Nov. 8 that will collectively set aside billions of dollars in new funding to create more affordable housing and provide protections for renters.

BAS and Security | Oct 19, 2022

The biggest cybersecurity threats in commercial real estate, and how to mitigate them

Coleman Wolf, Senior Security Systems Consultant with global engineering firm ESD, outlines the top-three cybersecurity threats to commercial and institutional building owners and property managers, and offers advice on how to deter and defend against hackers. 

Codes and Standards | Oct 17, 2022

Ambitious state EV adoption goals put pressure on multifamily owners to provide chargers

California’s recently announced ban on the sale of new gas-powered vehicles starting in 2035—and New York’s recent decision to follow suit—are putting pressure on multifamily property owners to install charging stations for tenants.

Multifamily Housing | Oct 7, 2022

Design for new Ft. Lauderdale mixed-use tower features sequence of stepped rounded volumes

The newly revealed design for 633 SE 3rd Ave., a 47-story, mixed-use tower in Ft. Lauderdale, features a sequence of stepped rounded volumes that ease the massing of the tower as it rises.

Multifamily Housing | Oct 5, 2022

Co-living spaces, wellness-minded designs among innovations in multifamily housing

The booming multifamily sector shows no signs of a significant slowdown heading into 2023. Here is a round up of Giants 400 firms that are driving innovation in this sector.

boombox1 - default
boombox2 -
native1 -

More In Category




halfpage1 -

Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021

 



Magazine Subscription
Subscribe

Get our Newsletters

Each day, our editors assemble the latest breaking industry news, hottest trends, and most relevant research, delivered to your inbox.

Subscribe

Follow BD+C: