Buy Curious

What you need to know about buying a NYC apartment in a building with a great gym

Residents of the Park Royal on the Upper West Side can work out in a New York Sports Club off the lobby.

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Serious gym rats who are shopping for a NYC apartment with a gym in the building are in luck—there's wide number of options available, including upscale residents-only facilities as well as high-end, brand-name gyms like Equinox and SoulCycle. (Gone are the days when the best you could hope for were some cardio machines and free weights in a sad space in the basement.)

In this week’s Buy Curious, Jessica Kaufman of Citi Habitats and Bill Kowalczuk of BOND New York tell you which NYC buildings have the best fitness centers on the premises, and explain the differences between private, residents-only and brand name gyms.

The question:

I work out a lot, so it’s very important to me to live in a building with an on-site gym. Which NYC buildings have the best ones? And would I be better off in a building with a small, private exercise room or one with a huge name-brand gym in the lobby?

The reality:

Buildings developed by Related Companies tend to have “among the most impressive gyms in the city,” Kaufman says. It's no wonder since, in 2005, Related bought Equinox Holdings, a high-end luxury fitness chain headquartered in New York. The company owns fitness brands such as Equinox Fitness, PURE Yoga, Blink Fitness, and SoulCycle. 

Some gyms are private—just for owners/renters (like the one in Hell’s Kitchen’s Manhattan View)—and others are open to the public to join.

Her favorite NYC residential buildings with gyms include West Chelsea’s The Caledonia (a Related building with an on-site Equinox), the West Village’s The Printing House (an industrial-to-residential conversion with a multi-level Equinox gym on-site), and The Aldyn on the Upper West Side (which has a 40,000-square-foot fitness center managed by La Palestra that has an indoor pool and a rock-climbing wall).

The Austin Nichols House at 184 Kent Ave. on the Williamsburg waterfront also has a spectacular gym with East River views and an on-site SoulCycle,” she says.

Kowalczuk is partial to the residents-only gyms at 150 Charles St. in the West Village (which has a 75-foot lap pool, as well as spa rooms), 30 Park Pl. in Tribeca (which has state-of-the-art equipment, a glass-walled yoga studio, and a 75-foot pool), and One York in Tribeca (which has a private health club and spa services).

What types of buildings have name-brand gyms?

“Newer luxury buildings are more likely to have these partnerships with brand-name fitness companies,” Kaufman says.

So don’t expect to ever see a SoulCycle built in that gorgeous prewar building that you love.

What are the biggest advantages/disadvantages?

According to Kaufman, having a name-brand “typically costs more per month for residents to access than a smaller gym or one without a recognizable brand name.”

But you get what you pay for, as these gyms often have “better-quality machines and are better maintained overall.” She also likes that there tends to be consistency in the classes and products offered across the board in a name-brand gym. Name-brand gyms also tend to offer a full program of classes (yoga, Zumba, Pilates, etc.). This is not usually the case in a private building gym, so working out there is a less social experience.

Some folks prefer the more intimate vibe at a residents-only gym. You’ll know—or at least recognize—everyone else in the place. Kaufman adds that many like the fact that you can bring your own trainer to the gym as you are not required to use the on-premises staff like you are at a brand-name gym.

There’s also the fact that private in-building gyms offer more savings on monthly membership costs than the brand-name gyms, even if there is a (low) monthly fee.

As for disadvantages, Kowalczuk notes that even if you don’t use it, you often still have to pay for it with higher common charges (if the building doesn’t charge a separate fee to use it, that is). Private gyms also often lack extra amenities such as steam rooms, saunas, or spas, so you’ll have to be ok with going without.

What types of buildings usually offer private, residents-only gyms?

High-end luxury doorman buildings—including rentals, condos, and co-ops. “It will help draw a particular client that would be willing to pay more to live in the building,” Kowalczuk says.

What are the costs?

In the case of a private, residents-only, non-branded gym, access is often included in your common charges/maintenance instead of paying a monthly fee, Kaufman says.

With on-site outside providers, costs will vary, but even with the resident discount, it can be between $50 and $200 per month, she says.

Check out these units on the market in buildings with great gyms:

23 West 73rd St., #1203, Upper West Side

This $4,500,000 three-bedroom, three-bath co-op has two large terraces, a chef’s kitchen with European cabinetry and marble counters, marble bathrooms, a custom built-in home office, designer lighting, herringbone hardwood floors, high-beamed ceilings, crown moldings, central air, and an in-unit washer and dryer. It’s in the Park Royal, a co-op building with a children’s playroom, private storage lockers, bike and laundry rooms, and a New York Sports Club (show top) off the lobby. Maintenance is $4,309 a month.

1 York St., #6C, Tribeca

Listed for $2,950,000, this 1,583-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-bath condo unit has 10-foot ceilings, large windows, an open kitchen with a wine cooler, wide-plank oak flooring, eight-foot solid wood doors, an in-unit washer and dryer, and a private storage unit. It’s in One York Street, a 33-unit building with a 24-hour doorman, full-time resident manager, automated private parking garage, outdoor heated swimming pool, 2,200-square-foot sundeck, and private gym. Common charges are $2,048 a month. Taxes are $1,453 a month.

515 East 72nd St, #14J, Upper East Side

Listed for $899,000, this 611-square-foot, newly renovated one-bedroom, one-bath condo has a private balcony, in-unit washer/dryer, open city views, floor-to-ceiling windows, custom closets, walnut floors, electronic blackout shades, a pass-through kitchen with Corian counters, and a living room large enough to accommodate a separate dining area. It’s in a 40-story condo building with 40,000 square feet of amenities, including a fitness center, heated saltwater lap pool with two hot tubs, indoor rock-climbing wall, basketball, squash, and racquetball courts, full spa, outdoor decks, on-site garage, half-acre private park, residents’ lounge, complimentary weekday breakfast, in-house dry cleaning, and a 24-hour doorman/concierge. Common charges are $834 a month, and taxes are $760 a month.

150 Charles St., #3AN, West Village

Features of this 2,414-square-foot three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath condo include 12-foot ceilings, Hudson River views, a 30-foot great room, floor-to-ceiling windows, large breakfast bar, white marble countertops and wine fridge, heated flooring in the bathrooms, hardwood floors, integrated sound system, California Closets, custom window treatments, central air conditioning, and a vented washer and dryer. The apartment is in a full-service condo building that spans the entire block between Washington and West streets and offers 40,000 square feet of amenities, including a 33,000-square-foot landscaped private greenspace, private covered driveway and parking, 3,000-square-foot residents-only fitness center, 75-foot lap pool, exercise studios, playroom, event room with a catering kitchen, and concierge services. It’s listed for $6,950,000. Common charges are $3,429 a month. Taxes are $2,179 a month.

30 East 85th St., #9EF, Upper East Side

Priced at $5,250,000, this 2,225-square-foot, four-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bath condo has a formal entry hall, dining room, living room, den (which can also be used as a bedroom), custom maple flooring, solid-core doors and moldings, CitiQuiet windows in all bedrooms, in-unit washer and dryer, stainless steel appliances and Corinthian marble flooring in the kitchen, through-wall HVACs, and a balcony off the living room. It’s in a condo building with a full-time doorman, concierge, porter, and live-in super. Refrigeration is available for grocery deliveries, a brand-new Equinox gym will soon open in the building, and pets are permitted. Common charges are $2,843 a month. Taxes are $2,309 a month.