When Older Amenities and Technologies Yield Way to the Next Big Thing Nothing Gold Can Stay Forever

One expert says there's been less demand for that 'game-oriented' common area (iStock).

One thing denizens of condominiums and cooperatives alike agree on is amenities; they just gotta have them. The more the merrier even. But while celebrated luxuries like pools or mainstays like lobbies are unlikely to ever fall out of favor, certain perks lose their luster as newer and shinier options come along. Others still evolve, whether gradually or rapidly, until they seldom resemble their original forms or functions. In the world of amenities, everything is fluid and nothing is forever.

Yesterday's News?

Some amenities reach a point where they're no longer practical, or economically feasible, or viable given a superior alternative, or just wanted anymore. It's survival of the fittest in residential real estate, and certain popular options are currently teetering on the brink of irrelevance.

Paul Gottsegen, the president of Halstead Management Company in New York, is quick to list refrigerated storage rooms for grocery deliveries as one such feature. Apparently, these are no longer being installed in new developments, as Fresh Direct and similar vendors offer their customers much more precise delivery windows, thus enabling unit owners to have their food delivered precisely when necessary. This eliminates the need to have various residents' orders cooling in a shared space upon their arrivals home.

Perhaps more surprisingly, alternatives are starting to emerge that may threaten the role of the trusty doorman. “Not every building has a 24-hour doorman or concierge on duty,” says Alex K. Kuffel, president of Pride Management Corp., in Manhattan. “Virtual doorman systems are on the rise, because they enable residents to receive essential notifications anywhere, anytime and by various means, while also providing a security tracking system with long-term documentation.”

While some may scoff that the replacement of an actual human person for a digital program that is centered somewhere off-premises (potentially even out of state) removes a certain personal touch, it may actually give an association an opportunity to explore other useful options. “We've replaced the doormen in some buildings with porters,” notes Abdullah Fersen, CEO of Newgent Property Management in Yonkers. “It's less costly than a full-time doorman, and, with the virtual doorman in place, these part-time porters are free to to move about the building, helping owners move things, or do repairs, or assist with lost keys.” Fersen reveals that one property that underwent this human doorman-to-virtual doorman/porter transition went from paying $96,000 per year to only $45,000 for the retooled setup.

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