Fishing for Residents, Luxury Condos Put Out Lures

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The New York Sun

When luxury condominiums open early next year at 20 Pine St., a former bank in the Financial District, tenants will be able to cap off their days by soaking in a Turkish bath, practicing their swings with a golf simulator, or perfecting their yoga poses in a private exercise studio.

Instead of hailing a taxi, those moving into 255 Hudson St. in SoHo will be able to slide behind the wheel of one of the vintage automobiles at the building’s disposal. Residents at 15 Central Park West will be able to watch a DVD in that condominium’s screening room or select a book from its private library. Meanwhile in Brooklyn, overwhelmed parents living at the Court Street Lofts can call on a “nanny concierge” to arrange playdates for their toddlers.

With a bevy of condos hitting the market, many residential developments are luring apartment-hunters with amenities that are transforming apartment buildings into veritable self-contained villages.

Call it “assisted living” for the family set.

“The market has demanded it,” a senior managing director of Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group, Anne Young, said. “People in New York work so hard. At the end of the day, we do not want to leave our homes, but we still want the gracious lifestyle we think we’re entitled to. We want to go home to our own gym, our own movie theater, our own golf simulator.”

In this newly condo-crowded city, developers are looking to stand out, an executive vice president of Prudential Douglas Elliman, Tamir Shemesh, said. “They’re saying, ‘You’re going to pay $2,000 per square foot, but we’re going to give you extras that you won’t be able to find at other places,'” he said. “They’re not looking at reducing the price, but they are looking to give you more for your buck.”

So New York condominiums are taking cues from luxury resorts, the founder and president of Shvo Marketing, Michael Shvo, said. “The origin of this complete lifestyle indulgence comes from the hotel world,” he said. “Today we’re seeing a consumer very interested in replicating that experience in their homes.”

Mr. Shvo said developers must choose carefully the on-site services to implement. “Once we have a great understanding of who the customer is — all the way to the point that we practically know their social security number — we look at what will attract them,” he said.

Shvo is the marketing agent for 20 Pine Street, for the Jade in Chelsea, which features a lapis outdoor lounge, a rooftop swimming pool, and a steam room; and for 8 Union Square South, where residents have on-site access to Quintessentially concierge service to help tenants charter a private jet, or land courtside tickets to a sporting event. These condominium properties are slated to be completed next year.

Still, he stressed, amenities are “not a stand-alone sales pitch.”

Even if deluxe services are icing on the cake — gracious layouts, sunlit rooms, and top-of-the line kitchens can be more important selling points, veteran brokers said — they still can be terribly tempting.

“It’s what New Yorkers are really looking for, especially those with children,” an associate in the sales office of the Ariel Condos on the Upper West Side, Nicole Trazzera, said. “They’re looking for all-inclusive, so that when the husband and wife go to work, the nanny or the babysitter has everything under one roof — from a pool to a playroom to a garden. It makes life much easier.”

The Ariel — two luxury high-rises in the West 90s — will offer tenants access to an on-site La Palestra fitness center, a billiards room, and a “pet salon,” where residents can “bathe their dog, without putting them into your tea-for-two tub in their $3 million home,” Ms. Trazzera said.

“We’re empowering New Yorkers to become the overachievers that we’re all expected to be,” a managing director of Corcoran Sunshine, Daniel Cordeiro, said.

Mr. Cordeiro said building-based services — from dog spas to steam rooms to at-your-service concierges — are quickly becoming commonplace in new condominiums. “To me, it’s like the Internet or a Blackberry,” he said. “It’s not a luxury anymore.”

He added: “These amenities, in hindsight, you think, ‘How could we live without this?'”

The New York Sun

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