High-rise living has many perks, and high on that list is the plethora of amenities that high-rises offer. For many homebuyers, amenities can be the deciding factor when determining to buy a unit in one building over another. But the amenities landscape is ever-changing and what was desirable 30 years ago is no longer the hottest trend today. Long gone are card rooms for bridge tournaments and poker games, or business centers with access to the internet. In their place are children’s playrooms and yoga studios. The key to staying relevant in the ever-evolving high-rise world is to evolve right along with it in order to meet the changing needs of high-rise residents.
As a Board member in a high-rise building, ask yourself if your building’s amenities reflect the needs and wants of your residents. If they don’t, consider investing in your amenities. Doing so will benefit your building in two ways: it will enrich the lifestyle of current residents and attract future residents by making your building more marketable. And updating your amenities doesn’t have to break the bank. Read on for some of the hottest trends in amenities for 2017. Follow a few of these and you will be on your way to staying relevant without spending a fortune.

Add Simple Upgrades to Existing Amenities

Pools and fitness centers can be found in almost every high-rise building these days. How they are interpreted can vary from building to building, however. New buildings are making these spaces larger and more high-tech, while older buildings are expanding these fitness centers to include designated space for activities like Pilates and yoga. Fitness centers are also including resort-like features such as luxurious locker rooms and spas. These additions are natural extensions of the fitness center in luxury buildings. Saunas, full steam rooms and treatment rooms for massage therapy are just some of the things these luxury high-rise fitness centers and spas offer.
Updating your fitness center does not have to break the bank. You can easily convert unused space into a studio for Pilates and yoga by removing furniture from the room, painting the space in a soothing color and installing proper lighting. Before you know it, you will have one of the hottest amenities out there without making a big investment. Offer cold water in your new space, and all of a sudden you have another fast upgrade that can go a long way.
Another easy upgrade to consider is adding a juice bar to your pool deck. This can be as simple as adding a counter-style table that is staffed a few hours a day or it can be more elaborate and include a built-in bar. You can also start a towel service, complete with monogrammed towels, and also stock a glass-fronted fridge with cool hand towels, snacks and beverages for residents to enjoy while at the pool. Both are easy to implement and easy on the budget.

Understand What Your Residents Want and Need

Determining what amenities will attract and retain residents starts with understanding your residents. If your building attracts a lot of dog lovers, you may want to think about adding a pet spa. This can be as simple as adding a washing station to clean off your puppy’s paws when you come back in the building. Or, if you want to go the extra mile, add a full grooming salon and offer dog-walking services. If your building caters to families, convert an unused room into a playroom for children, complete with comfy couches, toys and gaming systems. If you have a lot of sports enthusiasts in the building, turn your parking garage roof into a sports area that offers basketball, soccer or volleyball.

Bring in the Experts

Another great way to offer exceptional service without spending a lot of money is to make life easier through vendor relationships. You can easily convert unused space into a valet station for packages. Simply lease the space to a vendor and that business will serve as package valet for residents, delivering packages to resident units or holding them for pickup. 
Some buildings are able to take it even further by offering retail stores on the lower floor(s). From grocery stores to dry cleaners, and restaurants to bank branches, residents can enjoy the convenience of picking up their dinner and dry cleaning on the way up to their unit.

Offer Concierge-Level Service

Always remember that good service, including the capabilities and attentiveness of your high-rise staff, can be your best amenity. A professional property management company will be able to assist your association with the hiring and training process to ensure that your high-rise has the best staff suited to meet the needs of your residents. 
In fact, training and developing front desk staff to provide concierge-quality services is essential. Staff should have a wealth of knowledge on the surrounding area and use this to assist residents – from recommending a nice restaurant to making reservations, and securing personal trainers to meet their fitness needs. A well-informed staff that knows the surrounding area will be a true asset to your building because they help residents make the most of their neighborhood.
Before implementing these amenity upgrades, you want to discuss any changes to the property that may be considered to be material alterations or additions with the association’s attorney. There may be requirements or limits under the association documents and our governing law and you want to make sure you are adhering to them. It is also a good practice to involve the attorney in any discussion regarding expenditures on amenities or services to be sure that such expenditures do not run afoul of any provisions of the documents or applicable law. Finally, be sure to get input from the association’s insurance agent on any changes in use that may impact the association’s coverage.
The tastes and interests of high-rise residents seem to be ever-changing, and high-rise buildings would be wise to change with them. Adding the next generation of amenities to your high-rise does not need to be a daunting task, nor does it have to mean big bucks for your building. Simply stay on top of these trends and update your amenities from time to time, and you are sure to keep your residents happy while attracting future residents – a win-win.

To find out more about how your high-rise building can incorporate the latest amenity trends, contact FirstService Residential, North America’s largest property management company. 
Wednesday October 19, 2016