On-site health clubs as well equipped as any private gym or spa. Playrooms for children, all-weather roof decks, and private screening rooms. Remote-controlled fireplaces, climate-controlled wine storage, 360-degree enclosed glass showers and disappearing kitchens. These are just a few of the high-end residential building amenities mentioned in the real estate section of any given edition of the Sunday Times, and they illustrate the continuing trend past the merely convenient and into the realm of the luxurious and futuristic.
Of course, luxury features and technological innovations have always been selling points for apartment buildings -- if you had an apartment in an elevator building with heat, hot water and electric lights (as opposed to gaslights) in 1910 for example, you were fortunate indeed. In the decades that followed, realtors tempted discerning apartment-seekers with refrigerators and washing machines. In the 1950s and ’60s, buildings with built-in air conditioning and terraces were considered the living end.
But what about today -- and what about the buildings of tomorrow? Nowadays, with apartments selling for record figures, people clearly want to get maximum return on their dollar. Even rental buildings are jumping on the luxury bandwagon. For example, the Tribeca Park rental building in Manhattan offers its residents a private park, swimming pool, health club, and children’s playroom.
So what has become standard in the luxury marketplace? And what’s next for the Park Avenue and Fifth Avenue crowd -- and eventually, for the co-op and condo industry in general? What will developers and brokers use to tempt buyers into their buildings…and justify the inevitably massive price tags on their properties?
Wired for the Future
Certainly, the Internet itself and wireless Internet connectivity (sometimes known as Wi-Fi) have been among the biggest things to hit the apartment amenities scene during the past 20 years, according to Clifford Finn, director of new development marketing at Citi Habitats Inc., a prominent New York City apartment sales and rental firm.