In-house gyms lose their cool, which is why you need one

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When it comes to co-op and condo buildings of a certain size, on-premises gyms confer no wine cellar/screening room/private dining club bragging rights. But the absence of a gym--well, that's not just embarrassing. It could knock $15,000 off your apartment's resale value, according to an article in the May issue of The Cooperator.

The story pins the blame on the usual suspect: Amenity-laden newer condos that have raised the bar on basic services.

"More than five years ago a gym was a plus," the Cooperator article (not yet online) quotes one managing agent. "Now, if you don't have a gym, you're not competing. It's expected."

If you're ready to turn in your Equinox membership, The Cooperator offers some helpful information for retrofitting your building with a gym, including:

  • Most buildings pay the $40,000-and-up cost out of the reserve fund, and then charge residents who join a yearly membership fee in the $125-$250 range--about as much as outside gyms cost per month.  At that rate,  the reserve fund can frequently be paid back within a couple of years.
  • Standard equipment for a 500-600 square foot gym: two treadmills, two elliptical machines, a recumbent and an upright bike, a multi-section weight-training apparatus as well as free weights and two benches.  (Price for all, including installation: about $30,000 plus tax.)
  • The optimal year-round temperature for a gym is 68 degrees, which can mean a big investment in HVAC equipment.
  • Since most gyms are installed in spaces without natural light, light is the biggest design challenge.  
  • Soundproof rubber flooring is also advisable, which costs around $5,000 for a 600 square foot gym.
  • Palm or fingerprint scanners (about $1,000) are preferred over keycards, which can easily be passed to non-member residents.
  • Showers are locker rooms are considered non-essential, for obvious reasons...


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