Trends: What Future Downtown Chicago Apartments May Look Like

January 10, 2015 | By Amy Galvin
Reading Time: 3 Minutes

With new downtown Chicago apartments being announced every day, developers have been trying to outdo one another when it comes to interiors, design and amenities to attract Chicago renters.

The design trends for the past few years have been featured more in the common spaces of buildings with large amenity floors and space for residents to explore within a building outside of their apartments.

For example, when 73 East Lake and OneEleven (111 W Wacker) opened in spring 2014, the two buildings featured grand lobbies with million dollar art installations, private dining spaces and well-appointed resident lounges.

While spectacular amenities are now the new norm, we think the future trend for downtown Chicago apartments will focus more on the interiors and functionality of apartments.

Here are five trends we think you may see in future downtown Chicago apartments:

Bye Bye Stainless Steel Appliances

The end of the stainless steel era is here. Appliance manufactures are introducing new materials to outfit kitchen appliances. Whirpool just announced the addition of Sunset Bronze to their collection hoping to inspire new kitchen design with a beautiful color that is smudge- and fingerprint-resistant.

If you look at the new properties that recently opened in Chicago you’ll see a shift away from stainless with Scott Residences (211 W Scott) featuring GE Artistry appliances in black and Jones Chicago apartments (220 W Illinois) offering sleek, white, cabinet-fronted refrigerators.

Seeing Double Master Suites

We think another future apartment trend could be the double master suite.

Many professional couples are still opting to rent versus buy due to the lack of inventory of new construction condos and a growing job market that may require employees to relocate.  These couples would certainly be enticed by two master bedrooms that feature en-suite bath options and larger closets – perfect for visiting guests, more in-unit storage space and his and her bathrooms.

Double master suites also appeal to roommates. Equal sized bedrooms make dividing the rent easier and no one feels slighted.

Lowering Energy Costs with Nest Learning Thermostats

The latest in thermostat technology is Nest and you better believe the Nest Learning Thermostat is the next big trend in downtown Chicago apartments. The Nest learns a resident’s schedule, programs itself and can be controlled by phone. Once Nest learns your heating and cooling habits it can lower bills up to 20%.  This conserves renter’s money and a building’s energy usage. Jones Chicago apartments is the first building in the city to feature Nest in their apartment homes.

Edible Landscape Architecture

Landscape architecture is the design of outdoor public areas, landmarks, and structures to achieve environmental, social-behavioral, or aesthetic outcomes. In Chicago, Landscape architect – Stephen Ulman has been helping residents take their backyards and transform them into an “edible landscape” filled with greens, herbs, nuts and berries to form something that’s both beautiful and functional.

If you think this trend is only for people in single-family homes, think again. AMLI River North (71 W Hubbard) features an organic garden on their amenity deck maintained by The Organic Gardener Ltd. Through the design, installation, and maintenance of the organic garden, as well as landscape master planning, AMLI River North offers their residents an inviting and interactive outdoor environment with an abundance of fresh, organic produce they can pick and bring back to their apartment for cooking.

We think you’ll see more edible gardens as Chicago apartment developers create more green space around their buildings for residents to enjoy.

Transit Oriented Developments

Currently, a big buzz word amongst the Chicago development community is “Transit Oriented Development” or TOD. TODs are anchored by some form of public transportation, usually a train line. The purpose of a TOD is to concentrate development close to existing transit infrastructure to provide an alternative to using a car. With 142 CTA stations on seven rapid transit lines, Chicago is prime for TODs.

In addition to being close to public transportation, these types of properties are often also close to different activities in walking distance, eliminating the resident’s need for a car. These building do not feature parking garages.  Residents work, commute, or shop near their homes promoting exercise and social interaction around the community.

Do you have any other predictions about the future design trends of downtown Chicago apartments? Share in the comments below.

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