Just as the ways in which we socialize have changed in recent years, so too have the spaces in which that socializing has traditionally been done. Common spaces and amenities in community associations have evolved to support the needs of residents and shareholders, with added emphasis on flexibility, resources and design.
“With more people working from home today, there is a greater focus on amenity spaces,” says Susan Lauren, a licensed interior designer and principal with Lauren Interior Design, LLC, based in New York City. “They are more sought after and more frequently used. In today’s market, amenity spaces need to be innovative, upscale and inviting to give their home communities a competitive edge. They need to incorporate state-of-the-art technology and Wi-Fi.”
That means taking a close look at the specific needs of the residents of a particular building or community. What is appealing to a building filled with young professionals or families may not be exactly the same for a building dominated by retirees, or a smaller community intent on keeping costs low.
Doug Weinstein, vice president of operations and compliance for AKAM Associates, Inc., an association management company with offices around the country, sees this evolution in the buildings and associations his firm manages in Florida. “Common area spaces are evolving due to a changeover in residents,” he says. “Condos used to be primarily seniors, but now it’s changing to a younger clientele.”
Building managers and boards are working hard to stay ahead of the game or compete with new construction rising up in the blocks and neighborhoods around them. And designer Jonathan Baron, ASID, and president of Baron Design, Inc. in New York City, says: “I’m revamping older places that are trying to compete with new buildings.”