Hot New Amenities Bells, Meet Whistles

Amenities are catnip for the potential condo buyer. Whether we choose to admit it or not, most of us can't help but be enticed by shiny new things. Not a big swimmer? Okay, but it's still nice to know that the pool is there in case you change your mind, right? Allergic to most pets? Maybe this in-house doggie spa can convince you to find an exception. We may well be experiencing an upswing in luxury amenities, with a Forbes piece by Eustacia Huen released in late May describing lavish benefits of living large from 'in-house lifestyle curator' to a 'feng shui consultant.' Not everyone wantsor can afford—a 'lifestyle curator,' but most buyers are looking for more than just an aging laundry room with fluorescent lights buzzing overhead.

Seeing the Light

There's been a concerted push of late to take advantage of natural light and greener features in amenitiesand as we've now officially entered summer, the desire to flee the confines of one's apartment and feel some grass between one's toes is palpable. "I manage one property with an amenity that they refer to as 'The Courtyard,' and that I call 'The Italian Garden,'" says Ira Meister, founder and president of Manhattan-based Matthew Adam Properties. "On one side, there's a plot where people grow vegetables, flanked by grapevines. A string of glass bulbs runs across the roof, illuminating the area, and on the other side, there's a 50-plus inch television. So people can congregate out there, and it looks and smells beautiful."

Outdoor fitness equipment is another trend aimed at drawing people outside. This kind of amenity for adults is expensive to implement in the city, says Meister, but in more suburban communities, outdoor leisure equipment manufacturers have noticed an increasing demand for workout equipment flanking children's play spaces, so parents can supervise their kids while getting some exercise of their own.

Speaking of the children, the sky remains the limit when it comes to innovative playground design and location. "We're about to build an outdoor playroom on the roof of a building, 35 stories up," says Meister. "It's going to be entirely fenced in, obviously, and have netting, like what you'd see surrounding a tennis court. If a kid bounces a ball, it won't fly off the side of the building. The property is close to Central Park, but parents still want to have something local and contained where their kids can play during the summer."

Michelle Kleier, president of Manhattan-based brokerage Kleier Residential, echoes this sentiment. "My clients with kids at The Kent at 200 East 95th Street are loving what they've dubbed 'Camp Kent.' It's the only amenity of its kind in a residential property, as far as I know. They have a treehouse, a teepee, and a picnic table for arts and crafts - all outside in their own private park."

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