Space is still the only amenity that matters (that, and maybe a roofdeck)

By Virginia K. Smith  | April 28, 2015 - 1:59PM

While developers have been in the midst of a much-hyped "amenities arms race" over the past few years—think pet spas, wine cellars, and virtual golf rooms—New Yorkers may have finally hit their limit, the Observer reports. After all, why pay higher rent or common charges for superfluous perks you never even use?

As per usual in the New York market, the real luxury is space. “I always feel that amenities are stuck onto a building to compensate for the fact that the apartments aren’t very nice,” one renter told the paper. “I went to some buildings in FiDi, and they were bragging about their weight room and common room and terrace. Meanwhile, the apartments were the size of a postage stamp."

This same renter—a therapist—also discovered a downside to doorman service, having had to admonish his building's gatekeeper for hitting on some of his better-looking clients. But boundary-crossing doormen aside, what most buyers and renters are concerned about is their bottom line. Instead of buildings with built-in pricey perks, brokers say, their clients are leaning towards empty industrial spaces that can be renovated according to their own tastes (and budgets). Similarly, developers are opting for (relatively) lower-priced buildings that offer minimal extras like virtual doormen (which can provide services like security monitoring and package delivery without the presence of an actual doorman), bike rooms, and package rooms.

A couple of exceptions to the rule? "I think everyone likes to have a roof deck," one broker told the paper, and services like in-home beauty treatments or pet grooming services are gaining popularity over traditional "concierge" service. In any case, it's a welcome reminder to keep your eyes on the actual apartment in your next hunt, and not to be wooed by that in-house screening room you'll never use. And also? Always check before you move in which amenities are included in your rent.


Ask these questions before moving into that shiny new rental

Talk about luxury: heated floors, bike rooms and other amenities that are worth the splurge

Debating the communal kids' playroom: do you need one?

Want a building with all the perks? Manhattan's amenity-heavy nabes, ranked

Perk Check

Brick Underground articles occasionally include the expertise of, or information about, advertising partners when relevant to the story. We will never promote an advertiser's product without making the relationship clear to our readers.