Ms. Demeanor's Vertical Etiquette

Dear Ms. Demeanor: What is it with seniors and roof decks?

By Jamie Lauren Sutton  | November 3, 2010 - 12:48PM

Dear Ms. Demeanor,

I am on the board of a great building, but I believe it could be better. The problem is that the old-timers on the board don't even know what an iPod is let alone understand why we, the younger board members, want iPod docking stations in the new roof deck we want to build--or why we want a roof deck at all.  Many of the newer buildings around us are offering amazing public spaces and we have to do what we can to keep up. We have researched some new deck systems that are both affordable and very attractive. What is the best way to shake things up without breaking any hips, if you get my meaning...

Signed, New Wave vs. Old School

Dear New Wave,

It sounds like you have some very exciting and creative ideas for your building. Improvements to a building such as a roof deck can increase both property values and the general enjoyment of the building residents... IF, and this is a big IF, your building has the finances to back up such projects.

With the economy as it is, many buildings are struggling just to keep the heat in and the water out. It is wise to be sensitive to the fact that this may not be the time that some residents, particularly older ones on a fixed income, would look kindly on any changes that may bring an assessment or maintenance increase along with the iPod docking stations. Your case will be strengthened, not weakened, by an appreciation of the alternate viewpoints, lifestyles, and incomes that reside under the same roof.

If a roof deck or another capital improvement/luxury is fiscally feasible, perhaps taking resistant board members to see other buildings with the amenities you crave would be a good first step. The visual impact of a roof deck with different places for socializing and quiet relaxation may be enough to open minds as well as eyes.

Taking the Middle Way,
Ms. Demeanor




Ms. Demeanor is channeled by a longtime Manhattan vertical dweller and real-estate voyeur who writes under the pen name Jamie Lauren Sutton. She is here to commiserate, calm and correct. Please email your quandaries and put "Dear Ms. Demeanor" in the subject line.

See all of Ms. Demeanor's advice here.

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