Buildings go high-tech in effort to lure tenants

Aug.August 01, 2003 10:49 AM

With a glut of rentals on the market in New York, every little perk that might draw renters helps.

In addition to one or two month’s free rent or free gym memberships, some building owners are going the high-tech route to lure renters.

Related Rentals, which operates 16 luxury rental properties in Manhattan, recently unveiled a host of high-tech services from Wi-Fi in apartments to e-mail concierge services that notify residents when they have a delivery to the ability to pay rent on a credit card.

The high-tech services were unveiled last month at The Westport, a new Related project.

The building at 10th Avenue and 56th Street is in competition with many other new residential high-rises on the far West Side for today’s young renters, who are tech-savvy and demand a high level of service.

“The lives and lifestyles of renters are different than they used to be,” said David J. Wine, vice chairman of The Related Companies, which is the developer for AOL Time Warner building. “We’ve got to adapt. We want people to be happy.”

At the Westport, and at most all other rental properties Related Rentals operates in Manhattan, clients can deal with a number of day-to-day concerns electronically. Users can submit service requests via e-mail, access messages from the concierge or building staff and receive notification of package and laundry delivery. LCD monitors have also been set up in the mailroom to list building notices and package deliveries. The Westport also offers a “resident web site” where renters can access building announcements and other information and make online rental payments.

A move-in coordinator helps residents set up and coordinate telecommunications, cable and technology services. Apartments at the Westport feature multiple phone lines, and access to Wi-Fi service, as well as DSL, digital cable and satellite TV.

The perks don’t end there. Renters are also able to earn miles by paying their rent with the American Express card.

Many of Related’s buildings also offer Business Centers where residents can work, teleconference and hold meetings with clients and colleagues. Free fax and copy services are also offered, and many buildings include ATMs and even Metrocard dispensers.

And should a particular Related property not suit a renter, they can always transfer to another property, for free, with only 30 days notice.

“We just had a couple living in one of our buildings, and the wife found out she was pregnant,” said Wine. “Within a month, they were at a bigger, three bedroom apartment in one of our other buildings.”

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