During my acting days in New York City, I lived in some, um, interesting apartments. At least half, unbeknownst to me, were illegal spaces. My favorite was a sublet of a sublet, where I had a bed, a shelf, and a suitcase in the hallway of a railroad-style apartment in Hell’s Kitchen. At night, the 100-year-old mortar from the brick wall my bed was smashed up against often crumbled onto my bed (and face) as I slept. Luckily, I found a picture of it (point-and-shoot Kodak circa 1997).
I was so busy doing that thing called city living that I was rarely there. I slept there. That’s about it. However, I couldn’t help but fantasize about what living the high life in a midtown condo equipped with a doorman would be like. I not only lived in a hallway, but I was forced to use a post office box to get mail and packages – which was several blocks away.
This summer, Amazon launched The Hub, pitching landlords the concept of installing digital lockers on their properties that allow tenant packages to be securely delivered, freeing up valuable mailroom floor space and employee time managing all those packages. Amazon penciled deals with huge apartment owners like AvalonBay Communities, Equity Residential, Greystar, and Bozzuto Group, which represent more than 850,000 units nationwide.
If you’ve been to some higher-end complexes in cities like Los Angeles and New York, you’ve probably seen these lockers. They are impressive. Mailrooms never looked so cool. The smallest locker is 6 feet by 6 feet, and landlords pay at least $10,000. The Hub is slightly different from Amazon Lockers, which are marketed exclusively for Amazon delivery. Amazon Hub, on the other hand, allows delivery from multiple vendors including FedEx.
Regardless, both locker programs require landlords or property owners to pay anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000, depending on the locker size. From the looks of Amazon’s application, landlords of apartment buildings appear to need on-site management (for now) in order to use the service. Landlords will also need at least six feet of linear space in a well-lit area that is ADA compliant (there goes 100% of the places I lived in). The lockers must be plugged into a standard 110v circuit, but no internet is required—the lockers use cellular modems.
So, if you’re an apartment owner who has at least $10,000 and space to spare, here’s the application link. It’s interesting that Amazon isn’t paying you, the landlord, for access to your real estate. Instead, you’re paying Amazon for the privilege of offering an amenity to your tenants. Well played, Amazon, well played.
Unlike lockers in apartment complexes, those in an HOA can be unmanned pending the same requirements. For investors with other business locations (or maybe perhaps you have a vending machine business as a side hustle) lockers could be a money maker. But, wait until you read the rest, because it might not end up being the best bang for your buck, thanks to another interesting Amazon invention.
Amenities Increase Rents and Value
Apartment and condo complexes that can afford the lockers come at…