February 23, 2023

One of the biggest draws to living in a condo community might be the range of amenities available to residents. These features are designed to offer recreation, utility, or other benefits, but they can lose value if they’re considered outdated—not utilized, become neglected, or deteriorate with age. That’s when, as a leader of your condominium community, you might consider repurposing your community’s outdated amenities, restoring interest, engagement, and use by residents. Read on to find out why these amenities may need repurposing, what changes can be made, and tips on how to do it.

Three Key Reasons to Repurpose Outdated Amenities

Amenities play a vital role in the condo lifestyle and, therefore, should be consistently monitored for use and wear-and-tear. Whether you receive homeowner feedback, witness residents using a facility for a different purpose, or notice an amenity is seldom used or occupied, there are various signs that a board of directors may need to rethink the benefits of these features to the community. As the demographics of residents, trends in the industry, and personal preferences change, your community’s amenities might need to be re-evaluated to keep pace with these fluctuations. Here’s why:

1.   Residents pay to keep amenities functional. By paying their condo fees, owners contribute to maintaining the amenities. In return, it’s a board’s job to consider the value of those amenities—how often they’re used, their purpose, and their longevity—when holding stakeholders accountable in their financial ownership duties.

2.   It allows you to stay competitive in the homebuying market. Condos are growing in popularity— the most recent stats in Canada data indicated that almost 40% of new housing stock in Ontario were condominiums, including 59% of new builds in Toronto. These statistics show that homebuyers are attracted to all that condos have to offer—consistent property values, safety, and various extras. As a condominium ages, so do the amenities that come with it. By tailoring your community’s offerings, you sustain an advantage.

3.   It can open the door to additional revenue streams.  Certain amenities, such as guest suites or party room rentals, can generate additional funds. The board can then use that capital to manage the corporation’s budget, maintain regular assessments, build its reserve fund, or implement new projects.

What Amenities Should You Repurpose?

Think about how your current amenities could offer solutions to people in your community. Notice the specific ways homeowners use the pool, clubhouse, fitness facilities, or other amenities to understand what enhancements could add value. Ask yourself:

  • Do residents reserve the clubhouse for meetings or events? Add a projector, whiteboard, and extra seating to better accommodate important sessions.
  • Do families host birthday parties at the pool? Consider creating an enclosed pool facility that can be used as a party space with outlets, tables, chairs, and a kitchen area.
  • Does the community offer a beautiful outdoor area that’s frequently used for special occasions? Spruce up the surrounding area and add a pergola or shaded structure to promote photo-ops.
  • Do homeowners use the tennis courts for pickleball? Pickleball is the #1 growing sport in North America. Modify your courts by changing the nets, swapping equipment, and adjusting the dimensions of the court to better fit the game.

Tips for Repurposing Outdated Amenities

A lengthy process, your board must collectively agree that an amenity’s facelift can be accomplished—you have the funds, interest, and motivation to move forward. Any big changes will impact the community long-term. Keep these tips in mind as you consider alterations to the community’s facilities and grounds.

Review your governing documentsThis will allow you to better understand whether or not a repurposing can be undertaken as a reserve fund project or will be considered an addition or upgrade. Seek legal counsel to ensure you’re working within the scope of your power if there are questions about the homeowner approval process in your community.

Check your insurance policies. Significant changes to the common elements, especially those considered additions or upgrades, may require an amendment to your current coverage.

Create a project plan. Proper planning is essential in any project. Enlist a committee to help create and manage a plan for your repurposing project. Make sure the plan includes construction timelines, budgets, approvals, road closure information, amenity closures, and temporary alternatives. Organized procedures allow you to avoid delays and work faster towards a finished product.

Communicate plans and ideas with residents. Explain how the repurposing of your pool area, guest suite, event space, sports facilities, or other amenities will benefit the community. Many projects may require a homeowner vote before approving modifications, so identifying how these upgrades can add value is crucial. Double down on communication efforts and get homeowner input on changes, send a poll on design preferences, and send frequent progress reports. By being transparent with owners, you can form and maintain an aligned vision for community amenities now and in the future.

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