Luxury Housing Marks the Latest Trend in Stadium Amenities Around the Country

Press Release

By Troy McMullen, The Washington Post

By the time it’s completed in 2019, the new stadium complex for the National Football League’s Los Angeles Rams will span almost 300 acres with free-standing concession stands encased in glass and a 50-foot-tall video board covering the length of the playing field.

Premium suites inside the 70,000-plus seat facility will include up to 20,000 club seats and loge boxes, including Lux Cabanas, a beach-themed club at field level hovering above one of the end zones.

Yet the $2.6 billion project just south of L.A. in the city of Inglewood will also include another coveted amenity for any die-hard sports fan: luxury homes.

In addition to a hotel, casino and 620,000 square feet of retail space, the new stadium complex will include Hollywood Park, a residential property development with up to 3,000 homes.

While some of the new dwellings are aimed at middle-income residents who have been increasingly squeezed by L.A.’s soaring real estate market, most will target the luxury sector with sprawling apartments overlooking the stadium outfitted with wedge hardwood flooring, sliding glass doors and soaring beamed ceilings. The project’s developers, Wilson Meany and Stockbridge Capital Group, have yet to reveal prices.

“We’re building a year-round community, not just a sports stadium,” says Gerard McCallum II, project manager for Wilson Meany who is overseeing Hollywood Park. “This will give fans and Los Angeles residents a great opportunity to be a part of the sports environment and connect with a real community.”

As more cities across the United States break ground on expensive new sports stadiums and arenas, some are including real estate components either directly on the complex grounds or nearby. From Atlanta to Minneapolis, Sacramento to Miami, developers are rushing to add condominiums and rental apartments to the long list of amenities available to ardent sports fans.

The move to add real estate is fueled, in part, by wanting to bolster the fan experience, but it is also an attempt to offset the soaring price tags to build new stadiums in some cities, say real estate experts.

In some cases, developers are also being pressured by city governments and local residents to add affordable housing to these massive stadium projects.

Residents have begun moving into First, a 325-unit apartment building at 1263 First St. SE in the District near Nationals Park. The mixed-use project is being developed jointly by Grosvenor Americas and McCaffery Interests and will include more than 24,000 square feet of retail space and a Residence Inn by Marriott.

Rents for the studio, one- and two-bedroom units range from $1,785 to $4,740.

The new property includes a swimming pool, a hot tub and a key selling point — stadium-style seating on the roof with views into Nationals Park.

“I can watch batting practice from my apartment. I make something to eat and go on the roof and watch the game,” said Bob Lind, 52, a software developer, who moved into First in early April.

“There’s stadium seating with a big screen,” added Lind, who also goes to the games. There’s also a “panoramic view of the city — there’s the [Washington] Monument, the [National] Cathedral, the Capitol and the Anacostia River. You see everyone partying in the bullpen — it’s pretty cool.”

After more than a decade of delays and lawsuits, a major development around Barclays Center in Brooklyn — the home of the Nets and Islanders that opened in 2012 — is finally accelerating construction of affordable housing.

While the $1 billion arena is the centerpiece of the Pacific Park project, thousands of apartments are also being built aimed at working- and middle-class families who are shut out of a rapidly gentrifying area near downtown Brooklyn.

Nina Maluenda says being close to Barclays Center was only part of the reason she and her husband, Mehdi, moved into 461 Dean Street, one of several new towers in Brooklyn overlooking the sports complex.

Developed by Forest City Ratner Cos., the 32-story building has 363 rental units that are designated as 50 percent affordable, 50 percent market rate. “It’s nice to be so close to the sports arena, but we really liked being in the center of culture and the arts in Brooklyn,” says Maluenda, a marketing associate. “The building is right next to a lot of art and performance spaces in this part of Brooklyn, and that really appealed to us.”

But the push in Brooklyn to build affordable housing as part of a sports complex is largely an exception rather than the rule.

“Some developers see a real financial upside to adding middle- and upper-income housing to these projects,” says Selma Hepp, chief economist at San Francisco-based Pacific Union. “They are creating communities that they think will deliver financial reward in the long term.”

In Sacramento, the new state-of-the-art home of the National Basketball Association’s Kings cost nearly $600 million to build. The 17,608-seat arena opened last fall and includes 82 luxury suites and year-round access for its owners. An in-arena app also allows fans to help control the temperature in their section.

But developers of the Golden 1 Center are also set to open a 16-story mixed-use office tower including a 250-room hotel in the summer and residence on the complex grounds later this fall. The Sawyer overlooks the new arena and includes 45 condominiums with some of the highest prices in the city.

The Atlanta Braves moved into their new $672 million ballpark this season. Yet beyond the 4,000 premium seats and 18,000-square-foot hospitality club, the project at SunTrust Park also includes Home at the Battery Atlanta, three new residential communities under construction on the complex grounds.

Totaling 531 units, the three rental properties will feature one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments with amenities ranging from exclusive clubhouse access to rooftop bars and lounges with wraparound balconies with ballpark views. Developer Pollack Shores says one of the three communities, Residences, was ready Opening Day on April 14 when the Braves hosted the San Diego Padres. The other two communities, Parkside and Flats, will open in May and July, respectively. Rental prices range from $1,225 to $4,505.

“We’ve created this unique opportunity to not only tailgate from your patio but also to enjoy other qualities residents look for like walking and biking trails and easy access to major highways,” says Steven Shores, president and co-founder of Pollack Shores.

The new residential developments arrive amid another boom in stadium and arena construction around the United States. At least a dozen new professional sports complexes are under some form of development, with twice as many in the planning stages, according to the CoStar Group, an online marketplace for commercial real estate. This is on top of the dozens of professional ballparks and stadiums erected during the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Despite putting up with the noise, crowds and traffic (to say nothing of losing seasons), adding residential property near or on a sports complex can add value to a home, housing data indicates.

According to real estate website Trulia, the areas around major league baseball stadiums saw home values rise 15 percent higher than the greater metropolitan areas in which they were located. While those values vary widely based on stadium location, Trulia data showed that the areas around 18 of the 29 stadiums had higher median home values compared with the cities in which they are located. Rents in those 18 neighborhoods were either higher or equal to those in the surrounding towns, Trulia says.

Homes around newer baseball stadiums — which tend to be in pricier neighborhoods — fared better, Trulia notes. Of the 14 stadiums built since 1999, only two neighborhoods — around Marlins Park in Miami and Miller Park in Milwaukee — had home values lower than the metros in which they were located.

Opened in 2008, Nationals Park in Washington is perhaps a prime example of a ballpark fueling residential development and lifting home values. Once home to one of the District’s grittier neighborhoods, the area around the ballpark is today booming with new construction, including upscale apartments, restaurants and bars.

Since 2012, more than 2,300 residential units have been added to the area around Nationals Park, and 3,727 are in the pipeline, according to RealPage, a maker of property management software. The influx of development makes the area the fifth-busiest submarket in the United States for apartment construction, RealPage says.

And the area is getting more property development. Construction is expected to begin soon in the nearby Buzzard Point neighborhood on a new D.C. United soccer stadium and two apartment projects with a combined 869 rentals and condos.

“The Nationals’ stadium has been an absolute property boon to that area,” says Michael Rankin, managing partner of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty in the District. “The city hasn’t seen anything like it in decades.”

The Baltimore Orioles helped usher in the stadium-building boom in 1992 when they opened Camden Yards. But Trulia found that home values around that ballpark were 16 percent lower than the greater metro area: $211,724 near the stadium vs. $251,724 for the city.

But Seema Iyer, an assistant professor of real estate at the University of Baltimore, says the Trulia data doesn’t consider the longer view of housing around Camden Yards.

“If you look at what home prices were like in that area of Baltimore before the park was built and compare that to today, you’ll see fairly sharp housing appreciation,” Iyer says. “Camden Yards was a pretty depressed area before the park arrived, but since then it’s seen a tremendous level of commercial and retail activity, so the park literally created a housing community that didn’t exist before.”

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