The main reasons for a move to high-rise homeownership are usually convenience and location. But amenities also play a major role in choice and could be the deciding factor between different buildings.
Understanding the importance of amenities keeps builders and developers constantly researching wish lists of features.
Thirty years ago it was card rooms for bridge tournaments and poker games. In the early days of the internet, business centres with computers that could go online were the hot ticket.
Those areas have now made way for many new features to try to stay relevant with the changing needs and desires of residents, including the following:
- Yoga studios:Sometimes with pre-arranged weekly sessions.
- Pet areas:Considerable thought and planning have gone into understanding the needs of not only pet owners but also pets. No time to go to the local park? No worries — some buildings feature outdoor dog runs, including fountains for pets to drink from. Indoor pet washing areas can be a major convenience rather than having to use a bathtub in a unit. All manner of accommodations are being made.
- Fitness and aquatic centres:Along with an outdoor terrace and a gym, a desired amenity has always been a pool. The pool space might now also include men’s and women’s changing rooms, steam rooms and sauna.
- Holistic wellness areas:These might accommodate physical or massage therapists who come directly to residents.
- Covered porte cochere:No one wants to get out of their car in the rain or snow and have to make a run for the front door. Some building designs now include covered areas where residents can load or unload a car.
- Underground parking:Security and convenience are factors here, especially in poor weather. We’re seeing garages include electric car charging stations for residents.
- Food delivery:Toronto’s new Line 5 condo building has incorporated a dedicated lane out front for Uber and food delivery vehicles. If you’re running a few minutes late getting home, the building also provides a hot and cold storage area where the building concierge will accept pre-paid grocery and takeout orders.
- Social spaces:Apartment living can sometimes feel like a lonely place where you don’t have many opportunities to interact with your neighbours. Today you can work from home, have food and shopping delivered and never need to leave the house. But people are now realizing the value of social interaction and we’re seeing spaces such as group kitchens, where you can have a large group over for dinner or hire in a chef and have a cooking class. Theatre rooms, games rooms, craft and hobby rooms and children’s playrooms are all popular.
- Ceiling heights:Natural light, increased ceiling heights and oversized windows continue to be a must-have amenity for many.
- Technology:It’s gone beyond having advanced fibre optics in the building. Condo developers are incorporating smart-home technologies that allow their homeowners to control lighting, temperature and electronics using their tablet or smartphone, even if they’re not home.
- Guest suite:Can’t fit your overnight guests into your own apartment? Guest suites available for rent by residents are great at allowing your guests to stay close by in a hotel-type setting. They can also be an income-generator, which can help the condo association keep condo fees in check.
So it seems high-rise living can provide more than just a view.
Sue Wastell is the president of the London Home Builders' Association and Owner of Wastell Homes in London.