There are a number of reasons for that, beyond the interest of buyers. Such rooms allow developers to sell small spaces they otherwise wouldn't be able to make a profit off of. And they reduce the expense of adding shared amenities, like a gym or workspace, if most residents have the option to buy their own. That can also lower association dues, if there are fewer shared spaces to keep up, Sanzotta said.

"There's always some wasted space in a development," she said. "If we can find less-optimized parts of the building and sell them for something everybody wants, it's a win-win."

Darian Neubecker sees the benefits. Neubecker, the senior vice president of Robertson Homes, said people who don't need a large office space and might benefit from both having separation from their homes and being close to them while they work could be takers.

"Young children can be a distraction at times, but it's the best of both worlds if you're not hopping in the car and driving 20 minutes," he said. "Certainly, any time you give a resident spaces with options for uses, it's well-received."

Neubecker said in recent years, his townhouses have had a 10-by-13 room in front of the garage that comes unfinished — buyers can use it for storage, or can finish it out as a Zoom room, or for other purposes. Now, he said, nearly everyone is finishing the space, which costs an additional $7,000. Neubecker estimates almost 200 such rooms have been built across Southeast Michigan.

But it's harder in a vertical building, like a condo development, where the walls are defined, he said.

"You're creatively using space and getting value for that," he said. "The trend for flexibility in design is going on and accelerating now."

The appeal is also apparent to Seth Herkowitz, a partner at the builder Hunter Pasteur. The CODA rooms are a couple of hundred feet away, sometimes on another floor. Herkowitz said as people have rethought the functionality of their homes since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, it makes sense that a nearby, detached space would have some allure.

"It's very progressive from a design perspective," he said. "The concept makes sense."

Still, he wonders how much people might be willing to pay for a white box they'd have to finish themselves. In the end, Bondy decided the room was a steal at less than half the price it would have cost for a unit with a second bedroom.

"It's a guaranteed space to find focus," he said. "At the price per square foot we're buying at, there's a ton of value there."

CODA developer Michael VanOverbeke plans to live in the building, and he's buying a room, too. He intends to hang bicycles there, rather than put hooks in the walls in a visible space. He'll also use it as a gym.

VanOverbeke expects more luxury buildings to offer the spaces going forward. Moddie Turay, the CEO of City Growth Partners, agrees.

"I think it's great to put these ideas to the market," he said. "The market will tell you if it doesn't make sense to them, or it does."

Turay likes the idea that the space can evolve fluidly — from a gym to an office to a children's playroom. Especially after dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, he said, there are questions about how people who live in dense urban areas may interact with spaces, and room within a community but outside of one's walls may have a particular appeal.

It's not uncommon for outside storage space or terrace areas to be built for residents, but Kevin Hirzel, the managing member of Hirzel Law PLC, said as far as he knows, the lifestyle room concept is unique. He wonders if owners might someday sell the rooms as commercial space or otherwise transfer the deed separately from the rest of the unit.

Regardless of the restrictions, he thinks the units have a chance to succeed.

"I think there would be strong demand," Hirzel said. "It's definitely a unique concept. I'll be interested to see if it catches on."

Source :

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