Staying competitive in a growing condo marketplace can often mean attention to detail. Second only to location, it is those little details—a property’s included amenities—that often sway the balance for a potential condo buyer. And as Americans of all stripes grow increasingly health-conscious, experts say fitness-related amenities can be key to the overall health of condo residents—and a condo community’s bottom line.
“It has a big bearing if positioned properly,” explains author and fitness expert Todd Bradley, who’s seen failing condo communities make dramatic turnarounds through the proper marketing of fitness centers. “If you’re trying to attract [residents] and fill up this complex, you can leverage the fact that you have this fitness center and spark some interest by pointing out the benefits and setting up programs…. It can have a lot of interest, but it needs to be leveraged from the real estate agent involved. They have to bridge the gap between that facility and the potential [owner] and spark the interest, point out the benefits, and then have something in place as a catalyst that will prompt them to use it.” One such realtor, Jim Black of Keller-Williams Realty in Worcester, Massachusetts, has often worked with condo buyers. And although he’s rarely known the absence of a fitness center to be a deal breaker, Black feels a base-level facility is an expected amenity. “I think it’s important to have something there, even if it’s just a smaller facility…that people can use. But I don’t know that you get as much back by having this big, elaborate facility.”
“You could put equipment in as little as a hundred or two hundred square feet and still have some basic offerings,” says Dave Ramsey, commercial sales manager for Massachusetts-based Precision Fitness Equipment. “[Condo properties must] have some type of offering for a fitness area if they want to be competitive.” And being competitive, Ramsey notes, requires knowing the needs of your condo community.
While the general fitness center demographic trends toward professionals ranging in age from 25 to 55, experts say condo communities with residents of any age may find value in such a facility. The main variable, says Ramsey, is the mix of equipment. “Certain pieces of equipment are more suited for seniors than they are for the more active and able-bodied. You’re going to consider also, the spacing between the equipment. Seniors, if they have limited mobility, may need additional space to maneuver around the machines.”
Consultants agree that success in condo fitness means knowing your condo residents and balancing the setup to meet their needs, whether that be ADA-approved machines for disabled residents or Swiss balls for younger Pilates enthusiasts. “A lot of times what happens with these fitness centers in a [condo] location, they’re inadequate,” says Bradley, owner of the Hopkinton, Massachusetts-based Fit-Force Consulting. “And most people will realize that. They go down, they see it’s limited, and they lose interest quickly. I’m going to say 90% of the fitness centers out there in the condo domain are like that.”