Among the many amenities at the Broadridge Philly Apartments in Philadelphia, one in particular — the Sound Studio or “podcast room” — stands out as uniquely specialized.
Located on the fourth floor in the building’s amenity suite, the Sound Studio consists of a large, soundproofed room with three pentagon-shaped, individual-size soundproofed recording booths from Bend, Oregon, manufacturer VocalBooth located inside. The booths are all of different sizes, averaging about 24 square feet per booth. Residents can reserve any of these spaces via an online scheduling system, including the larger room for group productions or one of the individual booths for solo projects.
“The podcast booths appeal to renters who want to create more professionally oriented podcasts but work from home without a studio,” Cheryl Smith, regional practice leader at Nelson Worldwide, the project’s Philadelphia-based designer, told Multifamily Dive. “Users can use the booth for recordings — digitally mix music, special effect sounds, videos, etc., in an acoustically controlled environment — anything typically created for web sharing these days.”
Each pod is outfitted with wooden stools, soundproofing foam in orange, purple or blue, ventilation, lighting, multiple electrical outlets and pass-through cable ports. Users supply their own recording equipment.
The studio was created with podcasting and audio and video recording in mind, but they’re far from the exclusive uses for the space. “Coworking would likely be a natural fit as a shared space, particularly from a conference room perspective. The soundproof nature of the podcast studio would make it ideal for conference calls or a quiet area to concentrate,” John Lewis, practice leader for multifamily architecture at Nelson Worldwide, told Multifamily Dive.
Broadridge, developed by New York City-based RAL Cos. & Affiliates and opened in 2021, has a total of 60,000 square feet of amenity space — 20,000 indoors and 40,000 outdoors. Much of it is given over to more traditional amenities, including a coworking area. Monthly rents for the 478 residential units range from the $1,400s to the $3,200s.
RAL and Nelson Worldwide are far from the only companies putting specialized studios in their communities. Gaithersburg, Maryland-based The NRP Group has also provided recording spaces in a few of its properties and is currently studying how they are used by residents, according to Ryan Moody, NRP’s vice president of creative design.
And in Los Angeles, Dallas-based design and project management firm Premier’s 1600 Vine project features amenities specifically geared toward content creators in that market, including a sound room and a photography studio, according to Ryan Kimura, senior vice president of strategic partnerships.
While the cost of providing a podcast studio is minimal in the grand scheme of a development, the square footage required for the amenity, plus how much it may or may not be used, may pose a roadblock to its incorporation into a building’s amenity package, according to Lewis. Despite this, he believes the demand for sound studios is here to stay — especially given how media production and consumption has evolved over time.
“I don’t see this as a flash-in-the-pan trend,” Lewis said. “People are thirsty for information and entertainment through non-traditional methods. People are back on the go after the pandemic and often utilize podcasts while traveling, at the grocery or in a carpool. Children rarely watch regular TV and often rely on YouTube channels for entertainment. …Therefore, space to provide these services will be in demand.”
For that matter, independent media production is itself work — and for renters without a garage or basement, soundproof spaces are a vital tool, according to Smith.
“Having podcast booths on site at multifamily residences provides an economical means for renters to make money with their recordings,” Smith said.