Sometimes, even iconic co-ops have to get with the times. In an effort to keep up with the eye-popping amenities offered by new condominiums, numerous blue-chip co-ops have started adding gyms, roof decks, courtyards, and other amenities. The 135-year-old Dakota on Central Park West recently added a gym at a cost said to be in the millions, the Real Deal reports.
“The co-ops are trying to stay relevant and appealing to an audience of buyers who have been educated and seduced for a generation by amazing condo amenities,” says Compass broker Brian Lewis. “The smart co-ops are having a reflective moment.”
The Dakota’s gym is filled with state-of-the-art machines for weight lifting, running, rowing, and Pilates, and its red-brick walls are decorated with accents of wood and large mirrors. It’s tucked into a corner of the unfinished basement.
Sotheby’s broker Benjamin Pofcher, who’s handling a $10.5 million listing in the building, said the gym has been a pleasant surprise for prospective buyers. “It’s been impressive to everyone who’s been in there,” Pofcher says. “I don’t think they expect it to be such a nice, modern space with a cool aesthetic.”
Other co-ops are upgrading too. Across town, the Carlton Regency in Murray Hill has added a gym, roof deck, and kids’ playroom. At the Trump Plaza on East 61st Street, another postwar co-op, the board has been refreshing its amenities in recent years, including a two-story waterfall feature in its lobby and a fitness center.
But adding an amenity to a prewar co-op is no cake walk. Even if the will and money are there, the struggle is often the building itself. “Trying to squeeze [amenities] into a building where it wasn’t designed for that use can be a challenge,” says Dennis DePaola of Orsid Realty. In addition to gyms, other frequently added amenities include storage units, roof decks, and courtyard spaces, according to DePaola. He added that up to 30 co-ops in Orsid’s portfolio are installing exercise spaces or considering it.
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