Years ago, when you bought a co-op or condo apartment, you looked for a unit that had the right number of bedrooms and bathrooms, a perfectly-sized kitchen, and some great living space. For the longest time, that ideal combination was all a condo needed to attract a buyer to a particular building or association. As property values increased, and as developers built more and more new multifamily developments however, they needed a way to draw homebuyers away from one building and over to theirs. And so began a battle of the multifamily Joneses. Building A had the state-of-the-art gym, so Building B added a gym and a movie screening room. Building C added all of that and then some, including a private personal trainer on-call at nearly any hour of the day.
Amenities Arms Race
How common is this tale of dueling amenities? Common enough that last April, Forbes magazine featured an article on condo amenities one-upmanship and how it’s fueling sales in high-end high-rises across many urban markets. Author Beth Weinberg explained that the newest lure for high-rise residents in New York City is a built-in supermarket. She reported that six specialty food stores had opened in the city within the year in mixed-use residential/commercial spaces. And the trend is hardly exclusive to Gotham; in just one example, a 100-unit condominium and loft development in Vancouver shares space with a Choices Market.
Closer to home, the battle for the supreme ruler of amenities rages on. One such development, The Millennium Place condominium in Boston, has offered its luxury residents access to their own exclusive club, which includes a wine tasting room and a social area for residents to use.
“Developers desire to provide as much service as possible to differentiate them from the next,” says Joshua Golden, founder and principal of Luxury Boston. “The more amenities you can give to people for the money they pay for condo fees, the better. Millennium Place residents enjoy such amenities as a lounge with coffee in the morning and a bar at night that nobody else can access,” he says. “They also have their own private concierge who can book reservations for them, get tickets and more.”
Golden says that a gym is a must in today’s buildings, but new buildings are definitely bringing in new perks. “There are buildings with movie theaters and stadium seating, and other buildings that have social nights and catering.”