It’s a different world for amenities, these days. Just a decade ago, if you were fortunate enough to live in a building with a gated entrance or a nicely-landscaped swimming pool, you thought you hit the jackpot. It was easy for the building or condo association too, because they simply had to water the lawn or add chlorine regularly, and the residents were happy.
If you had a health or fitness center in your community center, it contained some free weights and maybe a treadmill—and no one complained.
But those days of simple amenities are long gone. At a time when empty condos are a dime a dozen, and home prices are falling, technological advances and an increasingly sophisticated real estate consumer have prompted condominiums old and new—but especially new—to raise the amenities bar in order to attract buyers, increase value and preserve the importance of the building. From dog runs to playrooms for kids, from private media screening rooms to resident lounges with daily continental breakfast, condos and co-op buildings are taking it to the next level.
Not Necessarily New
Even during the housing recession that crippled Chicago and the rest of the United States, the amenities market was booming.
“They were using their amenities to grab more people instead of scaling back to save money,” says Arin Agase, marketing director for Chicago Signature Properties, a full-service luxury apartment finding and brokerage company.