Posted by Cameron McNeill on October 25, 2011 in Architectural Design
The Evolution of Building Amenities
Many new multi-family residential developments in Metro Vancouver include some form of “amenity” space. This shared space, open to all residents, often starts as a requirement of a developer’s application approval with a city council. But many developers already understand the value well-programmed amenities offer to potential buyers and for the long-term socialization, relaxation, convenience and enjoyment of the residents.
Over the decades, building designs have changed - and so have building amenities. Once upon a time in Metro Vancouver, outdoor swimming pools were popular among multi-family developments, and today, we rarely see them. The cost to maintain amenities is also the reality of the owners, and generally any amenity that includes water, will cost more to maintain. Today, swimming pools and jacuzzis are generally only seen in high-end or large-scale communities, where developers are choosing to construct a centralized “clubhouse”, thus sharing the maintenance cost over several hundred homes. The clubhouse concept provides a great opportunity to include many other popular amenities such as a media room/theatre, library, fitness centre/gym, billiards and table tennis, guest suite and a party lounge – all under one roof! Polygon has very successfully mastered the private clubhouse concept, building-out the Sunstone Club for the residents of Sunstone in Delta and the Canoe Club at Klahanie in Port Moody – both award-winning master-planned communities with amazing resort-style amenities. Some developers like Cressey, are theming an entire community around an amenity! Communities such as High Point Equestrian Estates in South Langley include a state-of-the-art Equestrian Centre for the enjoyment of the residents (and horses!) who live there.
Many developers are also looking at innovative ways to design amenities for any sized development that reflect some of today’s priorities - such as garden plots. This low-cost, low-maintenance amenity can provide hours of gardening enjoyment for all ages – not to mention the benefit to the environment and getting to harvest your own vegetables! A yoga studio is also a popular low-maintenance amenity in newer buildings today. An open space with natural light and operable windows can offer a place to do so much more than yoga, such as Tai Chi, stretching or simply meditating.
Some of Vancouver’s coolest building amenities include a bowling alley at Concord Pacific’s Coopers Point, a virtual golf centre at Two Harbour Green and a fully-mechanized underground parkade at Jameson House. Amacon dedicated the entire roof-top to amenities at its Melville high-rise in Coal Harbour. Residents, no matter what floor they live on, have access to see the incredible views from an outdoor picnic area and fitness centre on the building’s roof-top.
Amenities are considered important to many buyers when looking for a new condo, but in reality, some studies show that less than 5-10% of residents will actually use them. Whether you use them or not, you will share in the cost to maintain them. So, when choosing your new home, consider asking more about the amenities. Ultimately you want to enjoy the amenities your new home has to offer!