Do Amenities Justify their Cost

December 2018

Amenities can serve as a way to differentiate condo buildings. They can also be a marketing gimmick intended to entice buyers. Condo developers, more concerned with selling units, can be less concerned with the continued popularity of amenities once a condo building has been fully sold.

After control of a condo corporation passes to the owners, amenities that are marketing gimmicks must either be modified or financially supported through condo fees.

Some condo communities include what are now neglected and unused amenities that unnecessarily add to condo fees. Other condo communities have chosen to modify their underutilized amenities. Squash and racquetball courts may have been converted to a basketball space, table tennis room, weight room or as space for exercise classes.

Swimming pools and hot tubs are amenities whose use may not justify the cost to maintain and which end up underutilized by residents.

Amenities that remain popular with residents include library and quiet reading space, dog-washing facilities, group exercise/yoga studio and exercise room. These more heavily used amenities tend to be low maintenance and do not to drive up condo fees.

One condo community converted their hot tub to a Japanese garden.

Cosmos III, a 400 unit building to be built in Vaughan and subsequently cancelled was to include many of the usual amenities including exercise room, outdoor space and swimming pool. They had planned to incorporate an observatory with high-quality telescope.

One Toronto condo building currently under construction at Church and Carlton has chosen a different approach. In place of a lounge or party room space the building will include a coffee shop setting comparable to a Starbucks. This is intended to serve as a communal space where people can relax, use electronic devices and work.