Your Roof-Lounge or My Library? Next Generation Common Areas

If you flip through the advertisements for new condo buildings in the real estate section of New York magazine or Time Out NY, you've probably noticed that more and more developers are including well-appointed libraries, residents-only social clubs, roof decks, and other social spaces in their building plans. They're calling them "resident lounges," "observatories," or "sun decks," and these spaces are intended to get the new unit owners out of their units and networking, socializing, and generally hanging out with each other - as well as fostering a feeling of exclusivity and privilege among prospective buyers.

Such amenities are relatively new additions to the usual array of in-house gyms, concierge services, and bare-bones community rooms that yesterday's buyers came to expect, and while they are adding to the social ambiance of the community of unit owners, they are also adding to the value of the buildings.

Old and New

New condo buildings are going up all over the city, with current development hotspots in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Manhattan's West Side - particularly along the 42nd St. corridor - and Long Island City. In order to distinguish one building from the rest, developers have started offering high-end amenities to lure potential buyers, especially those in higher income brackets. New buildings are catering to a new audience - one who knows what they want in a living environment.

"The new spaces are more focused, spaces that are definitely libraries or children's playrooms," says Barbara Fox, of Fox Residential Group. "These are spaces that are earmarked for something very specific and very today."

William Ross, director of development marketing for Halstead Property, agrees. "The spaces are divided up into specific uses: some of the newer building have rooms that are designed for exercising and some that are designed for children."

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