Wisznia | Architecture & Development is a New Orleans-based firm that creates beautiful and practical multifamily spaces by blending the best of form and function. And founder Marcel Wisznia is always looking for products and partnerships that enable him to enhance a building’s design while also adding convenience for residents.
“I’ve always wanted to create more opportunities for our tenants and prospective tenants to control their lives and their lifestyles—and Latch fit perfectly into that goal,” Wisznia said.
A Modern Multifamily Experience from the Start
Each of Wisznia’s projects is focused on transforming unconventional buildings into thoughtful and innovative living spaces. Their latest building in downtown New Orleans, The Garage, was no different.
“We had been admiring the building for some time,” said Marcel Wisznia, President of Wisznia | Architecture & Development. “We saw an opportunity to listen to our tenants’ needs and provide them so much more than they’d dreamed of. By thinking about all the possibilities, we created flexible spaces that redefine traditional apartments and prioritize the resident experience.”
First built in 1952 as a parking garage, the building then became a car dealership for the next 50 years. When Wisznia’s team bought the building, it had been sitting dormant. They decided to channel its car-focused heritage and transform it into a multifamily space that paid homage to the building’s automotive past.
Along with maintaining some of the building’s original elements like concrete joists and garage-inspired details like beams and concrete floors, The Garage also features mid-century modern design details, kitchen islands made of garage tool boxes, and in-unit translucent glass and aluminum roll-up garage doors. Each apartment has a large balcony and a versatile living space that can be transformed using the roll-up garage doors, millwork walls, and wheeled furniture to lend unparalleled versatility and flexibility to the space and prioritize the resident experience.
But The Garage team knew that the resident experience doesn’t start at move-in—it begins the first time a prospect engages with the building. So they set out to update the leasing process to match the building’s modern design.
A Leasing Process that Prioritizes the Prospect
The Wisznia team began evaluating how they could improve their leasing process to complement the building’s modern design and functionality. The first step was to utilize technology to enhance the overall experience.
The Garage created real-time video and Matterport 3D tours to digitize the leasing process. By offering these to interested prospects on The Garage’s website and through email communications, it gives interested renters an inside look at the space without ever stepping foot inside.
Along with their new online tours, The Garage also began offering unattended showings, made possible by Latch. These self-guided tours enable prospective residents to visit on their own time and see the building in person, without the hassle of scheduling time with the on-site leasing team. “Latch enables us to provide self-guided showings, which is a benefit for both our team and prospective residents, so they can come whenever it suits them. Latch really makes it much simpler,” said Wisznia.
A Secure and Flexible Unattended Leasing Process
With Latch, The Garage’s leasing team is able to remotely share access with prospective residents or brokers, allowing them to access both the front door and unit doors anytime of the day.
“While we were initially interested in the Latch system to provide our residents with a better access experience and the ability to share access, we also realized that the same could be applied for prospective renters. We’re giving the potential tenant the opportunity to walk the property and view specific units on their own time and in a way they feel comfortable,” Wisznia said.
Once a prospect has expressed interest in a unit at The Garage, the building’s property manager offers either a 30-minute guided tour throughout the building or allows prospective residents to visit The Garage and specific units they’re interested in on their own. She also shares access with prospects who have visited the property but would like to come back at another time for a second look or who want the opinion of a friend or spouse.
With this new process, residents can visit the property at any time of the day, extending the showing hours outside of the typical 8:00 AM-5:00 PM hours of operation for The Garage’s on-site office. Latch doorcodes allow them to visit early in the morning or at night without necessitating a staff member to be on-site with a set of keys. Latch also takes a photo every time a common door is unlocked, allowing the property staff to keep track of who is coming into the building and when.
“Latch has really allowed me to improve our leasing process. Being able to give access from afar has made things much easier than it would have been with a traditional lock,” The Garage’s property manager said. Thanks to this added flexibility, at least five prospective tenants have utilized this self-guided tour opportunity in the past six weeks alone.
“I don’t know that I would have thought about self-guided tours as being possible if it weren’t for Latch,” Wisznia added. “I’m not sure there are other products out there that could make this happen as easily and as securely.”