The 408-unit Crossing at Cooley Station opened in 2020 on Williams Field Road with luxury amenities such as poolside ramadas, internet cafe, indoor basketball and racquetball court and studio of virtual yoga.
A year later, the 380-unit Soltra in San Tan Village opened and screamed extravagance with an on-site chef’s kitchen, multi-tiered pool with a lobby bar, lounge, and bar. for residents, an outdoor cinema wall and a 2,000 square foot skydeck lounge. .
And when the 360-unit Aiya opens next to Loop 202 later this fall, it promises even more tony offerings, like a community kitchen with an espresso bar, craft beer on tap, a 24-hour fitness studio with protein shake machine, lounge with ping pong and more.
Over the past decade, all 4,000 apartments that have come online in Gilbert have been classified as high-end, earning the city the number one spot in the country for new construction of luxury apartments, according to a recent study by Storage Cafe.
The National Warehouse Finder website is part of Yardi Matrix, which develops and supports industry-leading property management and investment software for real estate companies.
The other two Arizona cities on the top 20 luxury apartment list are Chandler in second place with 99% and Scottsdale in fourth place with 98.5%. Mesa ranked No. 53 with 84% of all units built during the 10-year period considered luxury.
Overall, Chandler has seen the addition of over 6,800 new units over the past decade, while Scottsdale has added 8,600 apartments to local inventory. Luxury apartments in Chandler and Scottsdale, averaging 970 and 983 square feet, respectively, are about 200 square feet larger than their non-luxury counterparts and feature a host of additional amenities, the study found. .
Overall, Arizona has shown a trend toward luxury living, with cities in the valley building almost exclusively upscale apartments over the past 10 years, according to study author Maria Gatea.
The study analyzed 3.1 million apartments built over 10 years, looking only at complexes with 50 or more units, according to Gatea. The ranking is based on a patented property rating system by Yardi.
“We considered the luxury properties that the property ranking system determines to be in the A+, A, A- and B+ categories, based on a range of factors including unit size, architectural , build quality, finishing details, amenities, etc,” Gatea said in an email.
In addition to lifestyle-oriented amenities, Gilbert’s apartments offered more elbow room, having an average size of over 1,000 square feet, about 250 square feet larger than those in the non-luxury category. .
“Gilbert is slowly becoming a premier hub for life,” Gatea said. “All of these new apartment buildings have resort-style pools and spas, manicured gardens and playgrounds, and more convenient features like outdoor storage.”
Other high-end amenities include communal lounges with game stations, outdoor seating areas with gas grills and fire pits, bike storage, and bike repair shops.
“Volleyball courts are also prevalent in Gilbert – about 53% of prime apartments built here in the last decade offer tenants the opportunity to play volleyball,” Gatea said.
“Pet-related amenities are also becoming increasingly popular at Gilbert’s new resorts, with pet wash and grooming rooms or barkyards offering care options for four-legged friends. residents.”
According to Gatea, what is fueling the growth of these apartments is an employee-focused labor market with companies such as Go Daddy Software, Banner Health and Deloitte doing business in town. The city’s population also grew over the decade, from 210,000 in 2012 to around 270,000 today.
The study notes that people are staying renters longer than before, so their expectations of what their homes should offer have changed and developers are racing to meet them.
“As tenants continue to spend more time at home, developers should rethink what are considered standard amenities and implement new, higher-impact alternatives,” said Doug Ressler, chief business intelligence officer. at Yardi Matrix. “Concierge and rental services, work-from-anywhere conveniences, and support from the local community top the list of tenant must-haves.
“Offering a coworking space that goes beyond the standard conference room will be increasingly appreciated now that 40% of workers plan to work from home at least one day a week this year. Rethinking these strategies provides an opportunity to both attract new residents and retain existing ones.
Despite all the bells and whistles conveniences these projects bring, Gilbert residents are still hesitant to embrace them.
When multi-family projects have been presented for approval in recent years, residents have generally opposed them, citing concerns about increased traffic, noise, impact on property values, loss of small town atmosphere and crime.
“Driving here tonight I’ve looked at all these apartments and I’m just flabbergasted,” resident Jean Frakes said at the last council meeting on June 28. “Because when we moved into our house, you couldn’t build a two-story house because they didn’t want to take away the beauty.
“What do we have now?” Look at the apartments when you leave the house tonight, it’s because people haven’t spoken.
And, in June, when a 19-year-old woman was shot and killed in her Gilbert apartment, people on social media were quick to point the finger at the multifamily for her death with comments including, “The apartments bring crime!” “Keep building these apartment complexes and watch what happens!” and “Apartments will be the low crime downfall in Gilbert.”
And several of this year’s crop of candidates vying for city council are using anti-apartment sentiment in their campaign platforms.
According to planners, however, multi-family housing accounts for about 11% of all types of residential development in Gilbert, compared to 48% in Scottsdale and 30% in Chandler. And of Gilbert’s total land use, 3% has been zoned for multifamily development.
As Gilbert continues its trend of allowing developers to exclusively build these high-end residences, affordability comes into play. Rent in Aiya will be around $1,700 for a studio.
Recent Arizona State University alumnus Garrett Glover, who is running as a written candidate for council, said affordable housing is a big deal for him and many of his friends.
“The rent is too high,” said Glover, who still lives in the family home. “We just can’t afford it financially right now. I want to fight for more affordable housing solutions so that people who grew up in Gilbert can stay in Gilbert instead of moving elsewhere in the country to find affordable housing.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development considers an individual in the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale area earning $49,500 per year to be low income; very low income at $30,950 and extremely low income at $18,559 and all may qualify for housing assistance.
Gilbert has no public housing in town and does not offer Section 8 housing vouchers, which provide rent subsidies to qualified low-income families, provided landlords accept them.
But, the City says it is doing its part to ensure people of all income levels can afford to live in Gilbert.
“Gilbert encourages a variety of housing types to meet the needs of all of our residents,” spokeswoman Jennifer Harrison said. “This includes multi-family developments, single-family neighborhoods for rent, and single-family homes of various sizes on various lot sizes.”
Page Commons’ 100 units in the Heritage District are aimed at renters 55 and older with incomes between 30% and 60% of the area’s median income. Affordable units are also available in San Clemente at Power Ranch and The Reserve at Gilbert Town Center.
Because the 336-unit San Clemente participated in the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program, it must reserve a certain number of apartments for low-income families. Gilbert’s downtown reserve has also reserved a number of affordable units.
The other two complexes with affordable units are San Miquel Apartments and The Groves Apartments in Mesa but near Gilbert, according to the city.
Additionally, Gilbert currently has 18 homes purchased and renovated under the ongoing Affordable Rental Program, Harrison said.
In general, apartment construction in the country is on an upward trend, with 2021 being the peak year for new apartment supply – 417,000 new units entered the market last year, up 12% year-over-year, according to Gatea
The apartment construction market has also intensified the arms race with 86% of new apartments delivered over the past decade across the country classed as luxury housing, she said.