By Brian Bokor
People outside of the real estate world may not be familiar with the concept of ‘build-to-rent’ housing, yet it is a rapidly growing movement highlighting some important emerging trends in today’s housing demand. Recently, a $71.5M loan was secured for the purpose of developing 360 built-to-rent townhome units in the new Brandon Town Center project.
Build-to-rent (BTR), as the name implies, is a type of housing where the developer builds all products specifically as rental units. One of the fast-growing developers in this niche markets its brand as “Rents Like an Apartment. Lives Like a Home.”
What makes units in these communities different from typical apartment complexes are upgraded features such as soft-close cabinetry in kitchen and baths, including quartz or granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, hardwood flooring, in-unit washer and dryers along with architectural upgrades like coffered or vaulted ceilings.
These lushly landscaped single-family rental communities offer one, two and three-bedroom-attached townhome units and/or detached single-family homes providing private yards, another unique feature distancing this product from your typical apartment complex. Professional property management and exterior maintenance are included without burdening residents with additional HOA and/or CDD fees.
The Brandon Town Center project—not to be confused with Westfield Brandon, the large shopping mall nearby, which previously shared the same name—will be a 660-unit townhome-style project located north of Brandon Pkwy. between Providence Rd./Lakewood Dr. and Pauls Rd. The development will include 75,000 square feet of commercial space along with a dog park, fire pits, walking trails, swimming pool and fitness center. The initial phase of construction will be the aforementioned 360 townhomes with phases two and three to follow. In mixed-use projects such as these, residential areas will typically be constructed before commercial uses are developed.
Estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau show 65 percent of Americans under the age of 35 currently rent, with research showing they are looking for more desirable rental options along with longing for a true sense of community. Build-to-rent neighborhoods offer luxury, quality, privacy and convenience, allowing the kind of live-work-play lifestyle desired while remaining free from the long-term financial obligations that accompany single-family home ownership.