If you’re a regular reader, you know that at Wildhorn Capital we are a creative apartment buyer, looking for the value-add that others don’t. We buy legacy communities and look for out-of-the box ways to re-position them, renovate them, create new income streams and in doing so, make them more attractive to would-be residents.
Last October we closed on a two community portfolio of 388-units in San Antonio. Both locations presented lots of value-add potential for us. One of the elements that quickly caught our eye were the tennis courts, one in each property. After doing a little digging and being on site it was apparent that despite decent upkeep, both courts had absolutely zero utilization. Now a quick multifamily history lesson. Tennis courts were a popular amenity that apartment developers put in during the 1980’s. I’m not sure if the decision to include tennis courts were because Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe were trending pop culture stars, or if they were just cheap to put in. Either way, in 2019 we had two big concrete slabs that were totally under-utilized and provided us with a blank canvas with which to work.
And that’s where the fun started. We love being figuring out cost-effective and unique ways to add high value amenities. At another community, we got rid of a duplicate on-site pool to create a playground, saving money and adding a new feature. What did we want to do with these tennis courts?
When thinking through our options, we always start by looking at the competition. What amenities do they have (that we might lack)? What is popular and being asked for by tenants? What does our onsite staff think is most needed and would sell the best to prospective renters? In the case of these two communities, both were pretty lacking in the amenity department. Outside of a pool and small gyms, neither had much to offer. We decided we needed to re-purpose the tennis courts and create multiple amenities out of these–and take advantage of the flat, level open space.
So what will we do? We’ll turned these old, underused tennis courts into new community centers. Each tennis court will be split into thirds, creating three new amenities. The first third is going to be a basketball half court and blacktop. We’re installing a regulation hoop and 3-point line, but also painting in a hopscotch and four square to maximize its functionality. In the middle third we’re building a playground–installing slides, swings and a general jungle gym for kids. Since the area is already flat and clear, we simply need to add wood chips and erect the equipment. For the final third, we’re adding grills, islands, seating and picnic tables to create a place for that holiest of Texas traditions (BBQ) and tenant congregation. We think that these three amenities together work well together and help generate the type of family friendly environment we like to promote.
Tennis courts, dog parks, yoga studios; it’s impossible to tell what amenities of today are going to be gone tomorrow, but we love the challenge of keeping our eyes peeled and ears open to find what that killer next re-positioning might be. Have any other creative amenity re-purposings you’ve managed or seen? Shoot me a note, let’s talk more!