Not the Norm Uncommon Common Areas

Time was, a nice spacious condo unit with a good location, a decent view and several basic amenities like a laundry room, a doorman and a gym or pool were what New York City buyers wanted when they went home-shopping. However, as more buildings were constructed or renovated, and as competition became more intense for existing units, management began to offer more and more elaborate amenities as incentives for new buyers. At the same time, some people began buying condo units as an investment and/or a second home. For these people, amenities can be as important as the building’s location.

Today you can find condo and HOA developments offering a dazzling assortment of amenities. (Interestingly, the term “amenities” seems recent—I can remember them being described as “special features” or “luxuries.”).

All the experts we spoke to pointed to a wide variety of amenities in high-end condos today. Some of these include wine cellars, putting greens, yoga rooms, Pilates, jetted swimming pools, takeout service from nearby restaurants, Zipcars, private party rooms, playrooms for young children, movie-screening rooms, indoor basketball courts, bowling alleys and even roof-top helipads.

Indeed, a resident in a prestigious condo building could easily stay indoors for an entire week, ordering in food from an upscale restaurant within the same building or next-door, having his concierge service take clothes to and from the dry cleaner, and going to the building’s basketball court, pool or gym when he or she is in the mood.

“In the newer buildings, the ones that came in during a wave when putting in amenities was really important, all of those buildings have lounges and outdoor spaces,” says Dan Wurtzel, president of FirstService Residential Property Management in Manhattan. “They have some type of fitness center and health club. We have a building that has a bowling alley. Some of these buildings have dog washing stations where you can give your dog a bath or shower if you don’t want to do it in your apartment. Residents have responded really well to those.”

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