Is declining concierge service good for condo investors?

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

Grainne Burns

First, there were virtual concierges and now there’s a movement afoot to slash the working hours of the actual humans still in the job. Does this mark the death knell for concierge personnel?

The computer may have failed to replace all of the concierges, but condo owners are making them somewhat redundant as they seek less manning hours in exchange for reduced management fees.

Last year, condo development company Tridel launched a pilot virtual concierge service in one of its buildings for the evening time.  Jim Ritchie, Tridel’s vice president, said at that time that savings of almost $180,000 could be made by replacing on-site staff with a virtual offering across a number of buildings.

Other developments, such as The Berczy in downtown Toronto, only have a concierge service for eight hours a day to reduce costs for owners.

While this all may point to the death of the concierge, others believe the opposite is happening on the ground.

“I have been in 30 different condo buildings in last number of weeks and all of them had a concierge service so I don’t believe it is as bad as people make out,” says Jason Shaw from RE/MAX Ultimate Realty.

“The highest demographic of buyers is single women and they generally do prefer it for security reasons. While some buyers do not really care about the service, or use it, I do find that it is mostly this demographic that expressed more of an interest in it,” he says.

In terms of owner usage, Shaw says many condo residents like the idea of someone there as opposed to using them for assistance.

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