For the last decade or so, newly-constructed residential buildings have featured all kinds of new amenities, from the opulent to the simple, and the trend shows no signs of slowing down. This leaves older buildings sparser amenities in a lurch, making it harder for them to draw in new residents and justify asking prices. Not wanting to be swept away by the tides of progress, older buildings have been doing their best to keep up.
The Bike Race
“There’s an amenities arms race between new construction and older buildings,” says Richard Cohen, the president of Velodome Shelters, a company in the tri-state area that designs and creates bicycle storage rooms and stations. “It used to be just a washer and dryer, then it was the fitness rooms, and now most buildings have bicycle rooms. In older buildings they have empty space that’s used as bicycle rooms, but they waste so much space and it looks like a jungle.”
In 2009 the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) passed a zoning amendment that required newly constructed buildings - as well as substantially enlarged buildings and those converted for residential use - with 10 apartment units or more to provide one bicycle space for every two units. As a result, bicycle storage has become more and more common, leaving older buildings rushing to catch up.
“On new construction the DOB mandate is one bike parking space for every two units of new construction,” says Steven Frind, co-founder of Rack and GO in White Plains. “It gets a little bit trickier with existing buildings, since there is no mandate. We typically recommend the same sort of formula as a guideline. Some buildings don’t need as many spaces, while some need more.”
“It’s a constant flow of interest,” says Ben Cramer, a salesman with Dero, a national bike storage company. “In New York, the priorities are maximizing bicycle parking for the space, and security. Very typically I will see a small- to medium-sized room on the ground floor or basement, where we now see piles of bicycles in utter disarray. Management will be looking to find a systematic way of parking those bicycles in a much more user-friendly and secure way.”