As the market for co-op and condo units continues to soften in Manhattan and throughout New York City, co-ops and condos are looking to make themselves more competitive. One area where existing co-ops and associations can raise their profile among potential buyers is in the amenities they offer. New buildings often have a laundry list of built-in amenities provided by the original developer. However, older more established buildings often have to find both the space and the funds to add similar amenities--among them gyms, roof decks, and up-to-date storage installations. We asked several real estate experts about what prospective buyers are looking for when it comes to amenities and related features.
Up on the Roof
“A roof deck,” says Joanna Mayfield Marks, a broker at the Brooklyn office of Halstead. “This is a huge upgrade, especially if it has a furnished common space. Outdoor space is a fantastic, distinctive amenity for resale advertising purposes, and an additional benefit is that common outdoor spaces create a sense of community, with residents watching the Fourth of July together or bumping into neighbors at the sunset hour for a cocktail.”
Dan Wollman, CEO of Manhattan-based property management firm Gumley Haft, concurs. “The top amenity co-op and condo residents desire in their buildings include some kind of common outdoor space. They seek an area where people – neighbors and their friends – can congregate. This could be a roof deck.” But, he cautions, “a roof deck must be in compliance with the rules of the ADA [Americans With Disabilities Act]. If you can’t get to a roof deck, the building can’t have a roof deck. There are also issues with the load that a building’s roof can bear, which may make a roof deck moot.”
“Anything related to fitness,” says Sarah Marsh, Principal of MAAI Marsh Architects in Manhattan. “That can include anything from bike rooms to gyms.” She says that even a somewhat small space - 20 feet by 20, say - can be converted into a well-appointed gym, depending on the configuration of the building. “Say you have a 14-story apartment building with two apartments per floor, as often found on Park Avenue. A 400-square-foot gym will serve the residents well.”
At 760 Park Avenue on the Upper East Side, Meryl Sacks, President of Sacks Real Estate Management, oversaw the reconfiguration of existing storage space. “We demolished it,” she says, “to accommodate the construction and installation of a gorgeous, state-of-the-art gym, with mirrors, Peloton, and everything you could want.” The building had the right budget in place for Sacks to accomplish the goal of adding a gym in the prewar building.