A smart door lock allows residents to key in codes and never worry about losing their keys, or set a temporary code for a guest or repair person. Multi, built in motion sensors turn on lights automatically as you walk into the house. Phone apps, Alexa or Google Home can also be used for controlling the lights or setting the temperature.
Smart home features like these aren’t unusual in houses and condos, but this smart technology is now also included in a new Fort Myers apartment complex.
Matt Valentine, Partner in MJ Development Southeast that created The Reef at Winkler, stresses the importance of this technology for every home, even rental apartments.
“Home automation technology can not only simplify daily routines within a living space, but can also reduce energy consumption and provide additional independence for physically challenged individuals,” he stated. “Integrating home automation into the daily habits of individuals and families is similar to wearable technology. It took a while for people to accept that wearable technology had benefits. Now, people are setting aside their Rolex and wearing technology that can give them valuable feedback about their health and daily routines. Home automation will become just as important to the majority in a very short time.”
Having a smart home is a benefit that Amilcar Flores now enjoys at The Reef. He moved here recently from California and works from home.
“I can light my apartment from here,” he said pointing to his phone. “I can turn off all the lights. It is nice. I work from home so I like everything here.”
Bob Chvala agrees.
“You can talk to Alexa and she can do everything for you,” he said. “My wife tells her to turn fans off and lights on. I like that everything is relatively new.”
The Reef at Winkler has 160 two and three bedroom apartments. Rental prices start at $1,780 a month. Apartment sizes range from 1,116 square feet to 1,292 square feet. Each home includes stainless-steel appliances, quartz countertops and wood-style flooring along with the smart-locks, smart lighting and smart thermostats. All apartments come equipped with an Amazon Echo Dot for voice-commands.
Valentine has a background building condominiums, so when it came to constructing The Reef, he wanted it to have that same feel.
“We developed The Reef at Winkler in a way that raised the bar for apartment living in Fort Myers,” he explained. “The cookie cutter apartment box doesn’t work any longer. Residents are much more discerning and want spacious and vibrant living spaces as well as amenities that enhance their lifestyle. We feel we have delivered the resident lifestyle experience we set out to deliver with this project and the response has been fantastic.”
The response has been so fantastic that every apartment is occupied. When one resident recently broke a lease, that apartment was filled immediately.
“We are all full,” said Kelly Tull, leasing manager for Lincoln Properties. “It’s insane. People are calling all the time.”
Tull says it is the condo-style living, the technology and the amenities that make The Reef so desirable. The complex has a zero entry swimming pool, a children’s splash pad and a barbecue pit. In the fitness room, a Wellbeats system allows residents to key in the workout they desire and interactive classes or workout instructions appear on the giant flat screen television. Four giant monitors in the clubhouse give residents a fun way to gather for football or other sports viewing or watch movies or television on multiple screens. The Reef also has two dog parks. The apartments were designed to overlook cypress preserves, wetlands or a Zen garden.
“We have been here since December,” Chvala said. “We like the facility. We like everything here.”
This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Apartments of the future