5 Amenities That Probably Aren’t Worth the Investment

All apartment buildings offer some amenities. If n...

All apartment buildings offer some amenities. If not, apartment living would be like a prison sentence (although prisoners have a yard to workout, plus a cafeteria, so I guess prisons have amenities too). And because more and more people are living in apartments nowadays, developers have started adding all sorts of cool amenities to their buildings. Then other buildings add these same amenities to compete with them, and soon these features become pretty standard.

But, as our moms always asked us, if everyone was jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you jump as well?

Just because something is “cool” doesn’t always make it a great idea. (Like when I was in junior high and dyed a bright red streak in my blonde hair using Kool Aid to get the cute skater guy to notice me. He didn’t. And Kool Aid doesn’t wash out.) Some amenities might seem like a “must have” for renters, but they might actually be, at best, a “nice to have,” and at worst, a “never use.”

Here are five amenities that developers might be able to save money and space on by avoiding.

5 Amenities That Probably Aren’t Worth the Investment

Screening room. It seems like the amenity du jour. Everyone boasts having these in their apartment buildings. And, yes, in theory, it would be awesome to be able to watch Titanic on a big screen without having to shell out $18 to see it in 3-D in the theaters. But is it really worth it to leave your cozy apartment, where you can ogle Leo in private? When I was recently looking at new apartments with my husband, who is a law student, our broker showed us a screening room in a luxury building. She told him that it would be a great place for him to study if he didn’t feel like schlepping to his school’s library. Then she winked conspiratorially at him. Enough said. (Though this might be an awesome amenity in student housing, because then college students might actually socialize together outside of their rooms. Although they’d probably just end up making out on the big, comfy screening room chairs. Kids today have no appreciation for Leonardo DiCaprio.)


Billiards table. Again, awesome in theory. But how often do you feel the need to play pool? And if you had a billiards table in an apartment building, would you make people sign out the balls and cues and chalk dealies like in a real pool hall? If you did, it would make it cumbersome to play. But if not, what’s to stop balls from magically disappearing or residents from having light saber battles with the cues, which not only could poke an eye out, but causes a lot of wear and tear? Plus, apartment pool is missing the one key element that makes playing fun at a pool hall: beer. Having a billiards table definitely will not be what makes or breaks someone’s decision about moving to your apartment.

WiFi lounge/conference room. Back when cellphones looked like bricks (and only people like Zack Morris carried them), sure, having a computer center/business zone was a great idea. Now most people can access the Internet on their cellphones, iPad, laptops, Kindles… Plus, most people have their own computers in their apartments, and would much rather look up things in private. Not that we’d judge, of course.

Rooftop access…with nothing there. I once lived in an apartment building that had rooftop access, and there were plenty of tables and lounge chairs out there, plus beautiful flowers. I’d go up with friends to relax with a glass of wine. On the 4th of July, people would barbeque up there and watch the fireworks. It was awesome. My current apartment advertised rooftop access as one of their amenities. All that is up there is tar. And I’m pretty sure if I went up there and the door closed behind me, I’d be trapped like that dude from The Hangover. That is not rooftop access. OK, technically, it is, I guess. There is access to a rooftop. But it’s not an amenity. Same goes for “patio space” with one folding chair, or a “backyard” that contains just a square foot of grass. And, OK, this category really isn’t an amenity you “invest in.” You either have it or you don’t. Just don’t bother advertising or showing people who tour the building if your rooftop access or patio isn’t really an amenity. It’ll just turn them off.

A “gym.” Let me clarify. If your building has a gym that has plenty of treadmills, ellipticals, weights, etc., then great. Even if you charge extra for that, residents will like to have the convenience of being able to workout without leaving the building. But if you just have one treadmill, and one set of barbells, in a room with no windows, you might as well not bother. It’s not really a gym. No one will ever be able to workout because the one machine will always be busy. Plus it’s creepy there. Go big, or go home.

Do you agree? What other amenities can be added to the list?

-Jessica Fiur, News Editor

Photo credit: Iurii Osadchi