These days, buying a new condominium might mean access not only to your dream home but also to the kind of high-end amenities that can transform a beautiful home into a spectacular one. At least that is the goal of developers and boards seeking to draw new buyers and keep current unit owners happy. Beyond the bricks and mortar, the condo experience is becoming more about lifestyle, not just living space.
In Chicago, new construction of condos and co-ops has been slow, with more rental complexes than owner-occupied buildings coming to market. This has slowed the introduction of on-site amenities and put the focus squarely on experience, convenience and quality.
The Few, the Proud...
According to real estate experts in the Chicagoland area, few condos and co-ops have been developed in the last few years; though, new apartments have been amenity rich, forcing co-ops and condos to repackage in order to compete with what apartment buildings are offering with basketball courts, entertainment centers, pools, outdoor fire pits, concierges, and the like.
According to the professionals, residential shareholders and unit owners are more focused these days on the perks inside their private residences than in shared common spaces. “People want amenities more in their units than the building,” says Lynn Kummerer, director of relocation, sales, and leasing for The Apartment People, a real estate brokerage in Chicago. “Floor to ceiling windows is a big one and you see that in newer construction. The biggest want is higher end finishes in units. People would rather have higher quality finishes and appliances in the unit than a computer room downstairs.”
Other in-unit enticements include “open kitchen and views,” says Gail Spreen, president and owner of Streeterville Properties, based in in Chicago. “Stainless steel is always appealing but usually already ‘standard.’ Adding technology features to the condo is becoming a strong market feature.”