The latest boom of luxury real estate development in New York City has sent seismic waves across the Hudson into New Jersey. Developers and boards are locking into an amenities arms race to keep up with competition on both sides of the river. In the past five years, luxury buildings have installed almost any amenity they can think of, from rock climbing walls to driving ranges, to a pet concierge. Gimmicks aside, the allure of condo and co-op real estate is no longer just about location, door service, and molding. The younger and more affluent demographics are increasingly more interested in being sold a lifestyle, and the lifestyle offered from a building just doesn't come from how nice the lobby looks anymore—it's the activities and amenities that are offered as well. That shift to an activity-oriented lifestyle is turning buildings from sleepy bedroom communities into bustling vertical villages.
On the luxury end of co-op, condo and HOA living, elegance and convenience is still king. Builders of new properties and boards of existing co-op and condo communities are getting creative in different ways, offering prospective buyers and current residents amenities that focus on a hotel-style level of service. In the luxury real estate world, many residents maintain very fast-paced lives, and prefer a home where many of life's onerous routines are taken care of by the building. The result is many buildings hiring more positions and resources in order to handle a very high level of service.
Some newer buildings in New York City are actually combining residential units with hotel units, blending the best of both worlds, and those buildings are raising the bar through the market in the tri-state area. Communities in Jersey City and elsewhere now offer the types of top-tier services usually found in five-star hotels, including private dining and catering, dog walking services, housekeeping, valet parking, food shopping and expansive concierge offerings.
For the discerning buyers, utility is as important as aesthetics. “Especially in luxury condominiums, the industry has really moved past amenities that are unusual just for the sake of being different and towards uniquely useful spaces,” says Tricia Hayes Cole, executive managing director for Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group, which markets properties in both New York and New Jersey.
Amenities to Remember
The type and number of amenities currently in existence and on the horizon seem nearly endless.