Doggy Daycare Facility Opens In Rittenhouse Hill Apartments

Will facilities such as Just4Paws become standard in Philly real estate?

The Just4Paws facility at the Rittenhouse Hill Apartments.

The Just4Paws facility at the Rittenhouse Hill Apartments.

High-end luxury real estate is a competitive business. Amidst all the top-notch facilities springing up around the city, developers have to look for creative ways to stand out. It is with this in mind that the Rittenhouse Hill apartment community in Germantown has recently opened Just4Paws, a doggy daycare spot for residents of the building and those in the surrounding area.

“We just want to create the best living environment for our residents, with everything they would need,” said Mike Pestronk of Post Brothers, the developers of the complex. “Pets are members of the family, so we wanted to accommodate that.”

The facility, which is believed to be the first of its kind in Philadelphia, offers dog owners in the building the option to have their dogs trained, groomed and cared for while their owners are away at work. Residents, who owner of Just4Paws Sara Rooney says make up about 90 percent of customers, get discounted rates and can even have their dogs picked up directly from their apartments for daycare. This is a trend that has been popping up in different cities around the country, but has not yet established itself in Philadelphia.

This type of investment is probably a smart one for Post Brothers, and will be for others in their business. At Global Pet Expo 2015, researchers GfK revealed that 35.2 percent of millennials—the types of people who live in, and are going to live in buildings such as Rittenhouse Hill—own pets. This is the largest percentage of any age group. Additionally, and more importantly to people like Mike Pestronk, 63 percent of millennials agree that their pets should be pampered.

A trainer tending to one of the customers of Just4Paws.

Pestronk added that this is now something that they want to add in any new complex that they can. If they are opening a new complex that has over 300 apartments, which is the number they need to make the facility make sense financially, there will be a facility for dog care.

Having pets in an apartment complex can be a contentious topic among tenants and landlords. After all, not everybody owns them, and those who don’t often have very specific reasons against living with animals. Rooney believes that facilities like hers can help avoid those problems.

“If there were issues with people being around dogs, they have a place to take them so if the dog is barking all day, there’s an outlet for that and they don’t have to worry about being evicted,” she said.

Post Brothers has tried to run a similar, scaled-down operation at a previous site, but the person running it wasn’t up to the standards of the residents and the developers and it failed, according to Pestronk. He doesn’t feel that that will be the case with Rooney on board, but it certainly has to be taken into account for anyone attempting to incorporate a facility like Just4Paws.

Nonetheless, he feels that it’s worth it to encourage dog owners on the developer’s side, and that these facilities should be standard going forward.

“The arguments against it never made sense to me. People blame the maintenance costs, but those aren’t really too large and our apartments don’t have carpeting so that’s not an issue,” he said. “Millennials like pets. They like dogs in particular and cats are out of style. It’s become more and more over the last fifteen years and its only going to get bigger. Honestly, it’s a no brainer.”