Rooftop Decks Making the Dream a Reality

For many New Yorkers one of the

high points of city living is the urban vista they enjoy from their building's communal rooftop deck. Even when the view's not the greatest, just being able to enjoy the outdoors in a relatively private setting is a luxury worth holding on to. If your building wasn't built with a rooftop recreational area, it's never too late to investigate the possibility of adding this valuable amenity that, according to real estate brokers, can increase the marketability of the units in your building. If your co-op building has been converted from a rental, the conversion plan might state that the rooftop is intended to be developed into a recreational common space, adds Ellen Kornfeld, vice president of the Manhattan-based property management firm Taranto & Associates, Inc..

According to Marilyn Harra Kaye, president of The Prudential MLBKaye International Realty, Inc., a real estate brokerage firm in Manhattan, a rooftop deck can be a tremendous asset to a co-op or condo building and a luxury that even a small building can consider offering to residents and buyers. Any amenity that you add is helpful in terms of more traffic which, in turn, will bring you higher prices. The more amenities you have, she explains, the wider your audience. Not everyone wantsor can afforda country house for weekend getaways, and Kaye meets buyers who specify that they're looking for a building that has some outdoor space.

But before you order the patio furniture and planters, be sure to consult with a knowledgeable engineer or architect who specializes in rooftop analysis and installations. A professional can give you a clear understanding of the various options and considerations that are key to a successful project and that can help ensure the longevity of your building's rooftop.

Winning Them Over


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  • great article! refreshing in your honesty and knowledge. keep articles like this coming!
  • what about sun umbrellas or other shade structures? Is there a liability should they blow off the roof? Recommended models that stay put?
  • I have a question about weight. I have had two cedar planters custom-made. They are 60" long, 18" wide, and 18" deep. In the past couple of days, I have been doing some calculations about the weight of these filled containers (bottom 2" with drain gravel. I have calculated that the weight of the containers, when the soil is not saturated, could come to over 1000 pounds. (I have each planter on four 1.5" dowl rollers for mobility.) I want to use the containers on a large 'shoulder' deck on the 14th floor of a concrete high-rise condo building. Is there any risk that the weight will be a problem (that the strength of the deck would be inadequate to take this weight? I have sent an email to the property management property, but they have not replied. I really would appreciate your thoughts. I realize that your opinion would not be based on any professional (architectural) expertise, and I would never quote your opinion in any other communication. Thank you very much! Mike
  • I am curious about surface resting roof decks, a requirement for my coop. I have been unable to find any construction drawings outlining how to properly install such a deck. Do you know any place (possibly with NYC DOB) that has schematics to use? Thanks!
  • Are their ADA requirements that must be met by condominium buildings contemplating the installation of a roof top deck?