Condo Common Areas; Kicking It Up A Notch In Destin
By Marcia Bradford, Condo Owner Magazine, Volume 17, Issue 3
Coastal area condos are places where many great vacation memories are made. But these properties, where families gather or new relationships are created, are also about community. And the common areas, where residents and guests gather to swim, exercise, have a drink or celebrate special occasions, help retain this sense of community.
Keeping these common areas of the condo community fresh and up-to-date is very important to condo owners, renters and prospective buyers. With that in mind, here’s a look at two Destin properties that have recently taken their condo’s common areas up a notch.
Destin Gulfgate: New Pool and Fitness Center
On March 22, the grand opening of a new pool and fitness center drew rave reviews from owners and vacation renters alike at Destin Gulfgate, a beachside residential and rental condominium. The new and upgraded 8,000-square-foot pool, fitness and amenities area more than doubled the size of the previous facilities.
According to Lee Anne Pilson, Vice President, Destin Gulfgate Board of Directors, the decision to renovate these community facilities started with a survey of owners and renters who indicated they loved the location and their condo units, but did not give high marks to the pool and fitness center. To rectify this situation, the condo association worked with architects and builders to have a small parking area removed, which allowed for expansion of the pool and exercise area. Additionally, Pilson said, the new pool was elevated, with a two-tier deck that allows excellent views of the Gulf of Mexico. Overlooking the pool is the new exercise room, equipped with all the latest in workout equipment.
Pilson praised the work of Interior Designer Karen Waterfield, of Sugar Beach Interiors in Destin for bringing the beautiful surrounding colors of the gulf into the renovated area, providing a timeless, beautiful area to relax and recharge.
On a recent summer day, children and adults could be seen enjoying the new 1,400-square-foot zero entry pool featuring a modern design, five pieces of water play equipment and a bubbler fountain. The new two-tier deck is furnished with new lounge chairs, side tables and umbrellas.
Floor to ceiling windows offer spectacular views of the pool and the Gulf of Mexico while guests enjoy their workout in the new 500-square-foot fitness center.
Gulfgate’s Board President Jim Parker said the association is proud to have achieved the “Wow Factor” through these upgrades.
“Destin Gulfgate is enjoying record-breaking occupancy and we have seen a significant increase in unit selling prices since the new pool and fitness center was constructed,” he said. “We are seeing that these upgrades are increasing the loyalty of our repeat guests, and helping to attract new guests. We are exceeding the return on investment for owners that was expected for this upgrade.”
The new Pool, Fitness & Amenities Center was designed by the architectural firm Patrick Hodges Land Studio of Tallahassee Fla. The pool was built by Panama Pools and Spas of Panama City Fla. The fitness center, amenities and pool deck were constructed by McLendon Builders of Destin Fla. Interior Designer Karen Waterfield (Sugar Beach Interiors; Destin Fla.) brought the beautiful surrounding colors of the gulf into the Center. The project cost approximately $650,000 and was constructed between October 2012 and March 2013.
Grand Harbor: Redesigned Club Room
The classic arched doorways, set off by beautiful wood molding, still grace the entryway to the Club Room at Grand Harbor Condominiums (662 Harbor Blvd., also Scenic 98), but this condo common area was completely redecorated in 2013. The effect is now elegant, tropical and inviting with warm shades of blue and tan complementing the water and sand of the back bay and marina on which the property is located.
Beautiful area rugs contrast nicely with the hardwood flooring. Comfortable couches, armchairs and side tables, with a center coffee table, provide a cozy living-room like setting. Additionally, there is a table and chairs, great for playing games or cards, while cushioned seating near the windows offers a place to simply sit and take in the gorgeous outdoor scenery.
Another part of the enhancement included the placement of new porcelain tiles with inlaid glass tile detail in the elevator lobby.
Condo association board member Carole Debolt said that Interior Designer Cindy Schweizer, of Sugar Beach Interiors in Destin, did an excellent job of working with the condo association to create the new look.
“The exercise room and pool area was redone last year and now this space is fresh, up-to-date and inviting,” Debolt said. “People use it to meet for a drink, hold private parties or just relax and look out at the marina.”
Just outside the Club Room, a two-tiered deck features an outdoor bar and other seating areas, along with a pool area, where Grand Harbor residents and guests can watch boats come and go, take a dip or watch the sun set.
“It’s our own slice of Paradise, and we are proud of our new look,” said Debolt
In order to fund renovations of this type, the condominium owners association holds a reserve account for updates and refurbishing for the building and common areas, according to Debolt.
“After Grand Harbor received a new paint finish on all surfaces of the exterior of the building in 2012 as well as rebuilding their docks and boating area behind the condo, focus was placed on the interior common areas,” she explained.
Schweizer, who has been in the interior design business in the Destin area for more than 30 years and specializes in residential as well as commercial design, was chosen as the designer and stayed within budget on all aspects of the project.
Several companies in the area were involved in the project, including Destin Flooring America and Susan Hall Paint contractors. Custom Draperies were furnished by a local drapery workroom, the furniture is by Lexington, Bernhardt and Stanley from Sugar Beach interiors. Custom Art was selected by two of the committee members who purchased them in Destin.