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Pros & Cons: Walking Trails & Grass Areas in a Build-to-Rent Community

build-to-rent podcast market research Sep 12, 2021

Something that Chase said, and it's a weird little exception. He said grass, right? And that grass, you got to mow it. You got to care for it, fertilize it, you got to do all those things. We've noticed one thing in our projects in Houston, Texas, I wish we could get all the grass out of there. Right because it's expensive to water in that market all the time. 

And it's Houston. There's all kinds of weird bugs and stuff in the grass and you know where we live here in Utah. kids go out and they play on the grass. It gets green in April. Right, It starts to fade by October. But you get six months out of the year where people are playing in the grab their soccer whatever and games. In Texas, it's a place to call them chiggers, right? And all kinds of bugs and you don't want to be on the grass nearly as much as I think when we talk about the landscape and the amenities, what what's the standard and what's good popular locally, but also don't let that sacrifice being creative. You mentioned pickleball A few years ago, that wasn't a thing. But now it's absolutely crazy in a lot of the projects that we do.

Sherida Zenger

Back to grass. So one thing that was interesting is we had a conversation down in Lake Powell last year with some friends. And they were saying like St. George, so location south of Salt Lake, Southern Utah, they a lot of people down there are doing astroturf just to give it that look, right, and people still pleasant for people to look on. We obviously I haven't experienced that in any of the projects that I've been involved in. I haven't seen that. But you know, maybe that's another option for some people where you're not having as many bugs. Obviously, there's maintenance to that.

Chase Leavitt

Maybe something we should do in Arizona. But does that get too warm or too hot?

Sherida Zenger

These people actually put sprinklers that came up through it. So it kind of defeats the point of wasting the water. Right. But I don't know, I know, a lot of people are going to zero escapes. That's what a lot of Arizona is is more of a zero escape, right? Yeah, I think you do need some kind of an area, even if it's in the tot lot area for kids to play if this project lends itself to throw a bunch of kids younger demographics.

Steve Olson

Yeah, if you're doing like an infill build-to-rent apartment building, like near downtown in some major American city, that's much less of a concern. But if it's that kind of garden style, you're spread out over a lot of acreages, you have to have somewhere for people to, to run around. But that Yeah, like we spend a lot of money on water in Texas, and we may tear some of that stuff up, and doozers get a lot less maintenance.

I think that walking trails instead, is probably something that tenants like a lot more. What do you think about that?

Sherida Zenger

Well yeah, because if you have little kids, that's a great place for them to go ride their scooters or their skateboards, bikes, something like that, where it's not in the street, you're not having to go behind the units and drive in the alleyways.

Chase Leavitt

I think it comes down to who is your tenant? What if it's a 55 and older community? What if it's a larger apartment complex? What if it's townhomes? Whatever the case is, who is going to be your consumer, the tenant?

Steve Olson

How do you find that out?

Chase Leavitt

By doing your research ahead of time and in who you're trying to target comes down to what you're looking to build within that area? And what makes the most sense.

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