As the main point of entry, the lobby is the gateway to the multi-family building and what visitors, tenants and their guests will see first when they enter. In some multi-family buildings, the lobby doubles as the leasing office, all the more reason that its design should reflect careful thought and strategic use of innovative décor and technological trends to appeal to the right resident.

“Your lobby is your front door – it’s the first and last impression for your employees, tenants, and their customers,” says Charles McClafferty, chief operating officer with New York-based Sage Realty Corporation to Buildings.com.

A well designed multi-family lobby space suggests to visitors and prospective tenants that this is a respectable business that will take care of their home and facilities. In contrast, a lobby or leasing office with outdated furniture, drab walls and no sense of style might give the opposite impression – one of a business that has either fallen on hard times.  A lobby and leasing office that is poorly designed could be interpreted as a sign that management might be neglectful when it comes to building maintenance.

To step up your building’s brand, here are a few design trends to consider:

Get Away from the Traditional Desk.

One of the latest design trends is to remove traditional desks from the lobby area and replace them with easily accessible counter space for a more casual experience with clients. Here, clients can walk up to a reception area that somewhat resembles a bar or hotel concierge desk. This design makes for a meeting with residents that is more casual and feels more personal than the traditional desk layout.

Incorporate Technology.

‘Save the trees and go paperless’ is a philosophy adopted by many multi-family developers as they embrace the concept of green living. Instead of printing invoices, notices and brochures, agents in the leasing office work with portable tablets and laptops to respond to queries and provide updates on the go. Important documents are emailed or posted on an electronic screen to avoid wasting paper.

Anton Hacienda - St. Anton Partners - Pleasanton, CA

Anton Hacienda – St. Anton Partners – Pleasanton, CA

Embrace the Internet of Things.

With the Internet of Things, connectivity extends to the services and perks available to tenants. This means they can report a leak from the lobby’s iPad, schedule appointments for maintenance or unlock the front gate on their smartphones. Thanks to high-tech gadgets and advanced technology, leasing staff is accessible from the comfort of a resident’s home to address minor issues which don’t necessarily require a trip to the lobby.

Luxury Concierge Services.

Appointing a social director in luxury multi-family units makes it possible for tenants to access a range of concierge services. Whether it is dog walking or dry cleaning services, or if you simply want directions to the nearest Italian restaurant, the lobby/leasing office is the one-stop location to point you in the right direction. With Wi-Fi and internet connectivity, these services may also be booked remotely at the tenant’s convenience.

The Lobby as a Destination

A collaborative lobby area could be a significant differentiator in the leasing of multi-tenant buildings, according to architecture firm Perkins+Will.

“This is not the ‘check the box’ amenities package of yesterday. These spaces are hip, eclectic, and cool. They feel more like a hotel lobby than an office lobby, and they are not just functional and useful, but designed as places people seek as destinations,” says perkinswill.com.

To sum it up, this is where many prospective clients will decide whether they should even consider doing business with you, and if the lobby/leasing center isn’t up to par, you may lose their business for good. Put your best foot forward and represent the quality of your brand by designing an inviting lobby and leasing area for your building.

Check out more multi-family trends here.