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Use of common area amenities


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#1 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 07:18 AM

Marko, you can probably best answer this, since you are always touring buildings.

A lot of the newer building shave nice amenities in common areas. Fitness rooms, theatre spaces, kitchens (See the Skye Club on the 8th floor of SKYE) or shared BBQ's or just common roof-top decks. My question, is does anyone use them?

They sound nice when buying, but I get the feeling they are probably underused.

Doesn't anyone put a pool into building anymore? Even lots of 70's apartment rentals had/have pools. How about tennis courts?
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#2 Bob Fugger

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 07:39 AM

Nice amenities = massive strata fees?

#3 Mike K.

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 07:39 AM

A lot of the newer building shave nice amenities in common areas.


Who doesn't love a shaved amenity in a common area :)

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#4 sebberry

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 08:40 AM

Who doesn't love a shaved amenity in a common area :)


I could go places with that but then I'd have to ban myself :1954_dancing:


Living in a building with a grand total of zero shared amenities I can't comment on the use of them, but I suspect strata fees are higher to cover the maintenance and replacement of the equipment.

If the building isn't well run, and council caves into keeping strata fees and contingency reserve contributions too low then something like a pool can result in considerable special assessments in the future. That's the problem with our building - previous councils have been more of a "stitch and *****" club more interested in knowing what Mrs. Smith down the hall is up to than ensuring that the budget is healthy for infrastructure repairs.

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#5 MarkoJ

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 09:09 AM

Amenities in general are severely underutilized; however, there are exceptions. The 834 roof-top is commonly used for a variety of purposes including tanning :)

I am part of the strata council at the 834 and we have an amenity room (with 100' screen) and terrace on the ground floor. Anyone can use it any time or you can rent it exclusively for $50 for 5 hours. We've had three rentals so far this year (b-day party, wedding shower, and wedding party). I thought people would use it more on an everyday basis, especially the BBQ since it is free (natural gas goes on the strata bill); unfortunately people are inherently lazy like me. I BBQ off my own deck despite the fact I am burning my own propane.

There are a few buildings in Victoria with awesome amenities (Finlayson Reach at Bear Mountain); however, I never see anyone using them. Very few new buildings have a pool; the only ones I can think of is the one at the corner of Sooke Road and Jacklin in Langford, and Falls downtown. Shutters is not so new anymore.

834 Rooftop - used commonly.





834 Amenity Room - used not so commonly.




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#6 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 09:10 AM

I could go places with that but then I'd have to ban myself :1954_dancing:


Living in a building with a grand total of zero shared amenities I can't comment on the use of them, but I suspect strata fees are higher to cover the maintenance and replacement of the equipment.

If the building isn't well run, and council caves into keeping strata fees and contingency reserve contributions too low then something like a pool can result in considerable special assessments in the future. That's the problem with our building - previous councils have been more of a "stitch and *****" club more interested in knowing what Mrs. Smith down the hall is up to than ensuring that the budget is healthy for infrastructure repairs.


There is a double-edged sword to a big contingency fund of course. You contribute a wallop to it, then move, then they replace the roof a year later, with your money.

Conversely, you could pay a special assessment for the roof, then move a month later.

Or you could leave a month before the roof special assessment.
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#7 MarkoJ

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 09:11 AM

Nice amenities = massive strata fees?


Not necessarily, for example a roof-top shouldn't increase strata fees to a great extend. Things like concierge service definitely higher strata fees.

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#8 aastra

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 09:17 AM

Are people regularly using the pools at places like The Falls and Shutters and Shoal Point? Must be nice to have that stuff even if you only use it occasionally. But I think all I'd ever really want would be rooftop access and maybe also a half-decent fitness room.

#9 MarkoJ

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 09:24 AM

Are people regularly using the pools at places like The Falls and Shutters and Shoal Point? Must be nice to have that stuff even if you only use it occasionally. But I think all I'd ever really want would be rooftop access and maybe also a half-decent fitness room.


The Falls one I hear gets some use for all kinds of activities.....Shutters, is that one ever open?

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#10 sebberry

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 09:57 AM



This photo sponsored by Bell Media. :P Disclaimer: This mod has Bell shares.

And for the love of dog, bring that center channel speaker forward. The early reflections off the top of the counter aren't helping things :P


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#11 jklymak

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 10:32 AM

There is a double-edged sword to a big contingency fund of course. You contribute a wallop to it, then move, then they replace the roof a year later, with your money.

Conversely, you could pay a special assessment for the roof, then move a month later.

Or you could leave a month before the roof special assessment.


Starting next year, stratas are required by legislation to have an accurate depreciation report so future liabilities will be laid out clearly for owners and prospective buyers alike. Personally, I'd pay more to buy into a place that had a properly funded contingency, rather than roll the dice and hope a big one doesn't come while I own the property. It will be interesting to see how stratas decide to deal with this.

#12 sebberry

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 10:45 AM

Starting next year, stratas are required by legislation to have an accurate depreciation report so future liabilities will be laid out clearly for owners and prospective buyers alike. Personally, I'd pay more to buy into a place that had a properly funded contingency, rather than roll the dice and hope a big one doesn't come while I own the property. It will be interesting to see how stratas decide to deal with this.


We had the engineers at our building a few months ago and we're still waiting on the report. There was a bit of a battle at our AGM over spending $6500 for the report for a building of 27 suites but we managed to get it through.

One nice thing about it is it will give councils more teeth when it comes to ensuring strata fees are high enough to cover future repairs. I find that many residents, especially those on fixed incomes or are retired are really opposed to strata fee increases. But they're usually the ones to complain first when something that needs repair hasn't been done.

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#13 mysage

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 11:06 AM

The Falls one I hear gets some use for all kinds of activities.....Shutters, is that one ever open?


We made a conscious effort to buy in a building that DID NOT have any amenities offered. In particular a pool/whirlpool etc. The one thing thing that is a constant financial drain and a constant irritant between owners is the operational costs and misuse of these areas. No thank you - ever!

#14 sebberry

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 11:10 AM

I wouldn't mind if we had a workshop room for woodworking and other sorts of things. I don't get to use my tools enough.

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#15 Matt R.

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 11:16 AM

We have a fantastic outdoor pool that is well managed and very, very well used. Cheap it's not!! However, it is a selling feature and most of the residents really do make good use of it.

How many of these common areas are maintained by volunteer owners? The the biggest problem with our pool is that it's too much work for the f/t maintenance person to manage (we have 5.5 acres of land to maintain) and we have a hell of a time most years getting people to commit to helping out.

Often times people will complain that the pool isn't open on time or something, yet they are always too busy to volunteer to open it. :)

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#16 mysage

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 11:42 AM

We have a fantastic outdoor pool that is well managed and very, very well used. Cheap it's not!! However, it is a selling feature and most of the residents really do make good use of it.

How many of these common areas are maintained by volunteer owners? The the biggest problem with our pool is that it's too much work for the f/t maintenance person to manage (we have 5.5 acres of land to maintain) and we have a hell of a time most years getting people to commit to helping out.

Often times people will complain that the pool isn't open on time or something, yet they are always too busy to volunteer to open it. :)

Matt.


Exactly - expensive and difficult to deal with on many different levels. We recommend NO amenities.

#17 Matt R.

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 11:52 AM

In this case, however, it's totally worth it and is supported by the majority of owners. :thumbsup:

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#18 Holden West

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 01:03 PM

Often times people will complain that the pool isn't open on time or something, yet they are always too busy to volunteer to open it. :)

Matt.


I lived in a condo where residents complained about high fees and all agreed and promised to volunteer mowing the extensive lawns for the rest of the year. That plan lasted about two weeks. The lawns were nice for sitting on but no-one used them much.
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#19 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 07:00 PM

I don't get to use my tools enough.


That's what she said.

Interesting comments here. And I repeat, tennis courts anyone?
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#20 sebberry

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 07:05 PM

Tennis courts take up a significant amount of space and offer only one use. At least a multi-use patio like Marko posted offers more functionality to more people. I live next door to a tennis court and I haven't played once since I moved here.

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