As residential developers continue to one-up each other with over-the-top amenities, a sharp focus on mental health and wellness has emerged as one of the most popular and ubiquitous additions.
It seems that more than ever, people are putting their health first.
At One Hudson Yards, where there is a total of 26,000 s/f of amenities, architect Andre Kikosi and his team designed several health and wellness amenities that fit into two categories – active and passive.
On the active side, there is a cardio room and weight room, a half basketball court, a party room that features a bowling alley, and a state-of-the-art swimming pool. On the passive side, the building offers a steam room and sauna, hot and cold plunges, and a salt float.
“It’s amazing to have these things in your building. These are elements you find in vacation destinations,” said Kikoski, the architect who designed the interiors of the new development tower One Hudson Yards. “It’s an opportunity to live in a way that exceeds most condos. “
Residents have filtered air throughout the building and in each unit, even when windows are closed, and state-of-the-art Nest thermostats for cooling and heating. Kikoski decided to have the building ditch microwaves, opting for steam ovens instead.
“As far as I can recall, this is the first building that truly embraces active and passive strategies to wellness in a way that is really meaningful to residents’ lifestyle, in a way that’s designed almost invisibly, and I think that’s what’s so exciting about it,” said Kikoski. “Everyone wants to feel like they’re in the best shape of their life and we have all the tools and technology to do that.”
In Downtown Brooklyn, The Brodsky’s Organization’s City Tower development features comprehensive wellness amenities, including guided meditation classes and yoga.
“Events are the new amenity,” said Alex Arroyo, events manager for The Brodsky Organization. “We decided we needed to start events in our new buildings, Enclave and City Tower, and tenants kind of expected it.”
The developer wanted to create a sense of community for residents in their new home, know who their neighbors were, and fall in love with the neighborhood and hopefully stay there.
City Tower recently partnered with MNDFL, a meditation studio in NYC, to host meditation classes for residents. The sessions are the latest addition to the Brodsky’s Organization’s Neighbors & Partners program, which pairs local businesses with residential buildings. So far, the partnerships have included ‘dog yoga’ with D Pet Hotel, glass-blowing workshops with Urban Glass, and monthly bagel brunches with Russ & Daughters.
City Tower and Enclave offer residents of the buildings discounts to businesses in each in each neighborhood – Downtown Brooklyn and Morningside Heights, respectively – and a hospitality discount program that seeks to improve residents’ quality of life, which includes cleaning, concierge services, and discounts for pets, dining, and apparel.
The developer partnered with Zog Sports, an intramural sports club, and Chelsea Piers, to give residents special discounts, and they also organize tenant appreciation events during the month as well as happy hours where residents of all their buildings can get together at a venue off-site.
“It’s a new level of luxury, when you’re giving away boxed brunch or giving away yoga classes in the building,” said Arroyo. “It’s certainly luxurious to be able to walk downstairs and get fit versus schlepping to the financial district.”
City Point and One Hudson Yards aren’t the only buildings offering wellness amenities in their buildings.
At 525 West 52nd Street, a two-tower luxury rental development in Hell’s Kitchen, residents have access to a yoga studio as well as yoga-centric amenities programmed by LIVunLTD, a fitness, spa and amenities service, and includes outdoor yoga as well as private pilates and yoga instruction.
On New Jersey’s Gold Coast, Nine on the Hudson, a new condo building in West New York, features design inspired by the Chinese Embassy. Residents have direct access to Zen-inspired amenities, including a 2,000 s/f yoga room.
At Level, a building on the Williamsburg waterfront in Brooklyn, a 24-hour fitness center includes a yoga room equipped with stretching equipment and virtual on-demand fitness classes.
There’s no doubt that residents enjoy health and wellness amenities, but will the demand for these kinds of offerings in buildings last?
“We hope it has staying power,” said Arroyo. “We don’t want to offer things and then take them away. We don’t want people to be sad they went to a Super Bowl party last year and then we don’t have it this year.”
Arroyo said the Brodsky team has been listening to the feedback of tenants in deciding which events to plan, and attendance has been healthy.
Kikoski is confident that wellness and health offerings are here to stay, in a world that has become more focused on health than material wealth.
“I think people are so concerned about their health and what they eat, and exercise and what they breathe,” said Kikosi. “I asked some friends in Europe what their definition of luxury was and they said clean air for my children. And I think wellness is a huge part of that. It’s not just what you’re wearing or driving, it’s how you feel 24/7, and how can you put a premium on that.”