$16 mil solves a lot of park­ing prob­lems

The Washington Times Weekly - - Page Two - By Sharon L. Cren­son

NEW YORK — Park­ing your $115,000 Maserati in Man­hat­tan will soon be a snap. A lux­ury tower planned for 11th Av­enue fea­tures an el­e­va­tor that lifts cars to the apart­ment owner’s floor, where they can be parked near the en­try door. The cost for 4,000 square feet: as much as $16 mil­lion.

“It’s a crazy idea, but we thought it was a good idea,” says Young Woo, a prin­ci­pal of the tower’s builder, New York-based Young Woo De­vel­op­ers. “Liv­ing in this kind of unit gives a sense of pride.”

The wealthy have never dwelt so well. Don­ald Trump, Miki Naf­tali and de­vel­op­ers world­wide are ratch­et­ing up the ameni­ties, adding the use of BMWs and 24-hour restau­rant ser­vice to their build­ings. That’s fu­el­ing a surge in lux­ury apart­ment prices in New York and Lon­don just as the col­lapse of subprime lenders spurs the worst U.S. hous­ing cri­sis in 15 years.

The Mort­gage Bankers As­so­ci­a­tion says a record 0.54 per­cent of all U.S. home loans sur­veyed in the fourth quar­ter of 2006 were en­ter­ing fore­clo­sure.

“At the high end of the mar­ket, you are deal­ing with wealth and not in­come,” says Gre­gory Heym, chief econ­o­mist at New York real es­tate com­pany Terra Hold­ings LLC. “Peo­ple buy apart­ments with cash. Some of the fac­tors that in­flu­ence the rest of the mar­ket don’t come into play.”

The new frills let de­vel­op­ers boost prices of apart­ments and mar­ket their unique­ness, says Jonathan Miller, pres­i­dent of ap­praiser Miller Samuel Inc. in New York. “Those ameni­ties are what pro­vide a pre­mium for the project.” Buy­ers in New York have in­cluded Wall Street bankers, celebri­ties and hedge fund man­agers.

In Dubai, the most pop­u­lous of the seven states in the United Arab Emi­rates, chang­ing the view from your apart­ment will re­quire only a push of a but­ton. De­vel­oper Om­niyat Prop­er­ties’ 24-story high-rise, planned for 2009, boasts apart­ments that project scenic images, such as the Man­hat­tan sky­line, onto its win­dows. Liv­ing and din­ing rooms in units cost­ing up to $2.5 mil­lion will also ro­tate 360 de­grees, pro­vid­ing a variety of panora­mas.

Lon­don is the world’s most ex­pen­sive city for lux­ury dwellings, ac­cord­ing to CB Richard El­lis Group Inc. Lon­don­ers pay­ing up to $23.8 mil­lion for an apart­ment at the Knights­bridge build­ing will spend a lot of time in front of the mir­ror. The mir­rors con­tain cam­eras that take and store pho­tos so res­i­dents can com­pare their ap­pear­ance and out­fits over time.

In March, lux­ury home prices in Lon­don soared 32 per­cent com­pared with a year ear­lier, ac­cord­ing to real es­tate com­pany Sav­ills PLC.

De­vel­op­ers say wealthy buy­ers want en­ter­tain­ment, re­cre­ation and fit­ness fa­cil­i­ties with­out hav­ing to leave home. “They are buy­ing a lifestyle,” says Allen Gold­man, pres­i­dent of SJP Res­i­den­tial Prop­er­ties in Man­hat­tan.

In his Plat­inum de­vel­op­ment on Eighth Av­enue, where buy­ers are pay­ing up to $7.5 mil­lion, Mr. Gold­man is adding rooms for bil­liards, a sauna and an in­door-out­door yoga stu­dio. There’s even a golf sim­u­la­tor.

A DVD player projects views of fa­mous cour­ses, such as St. An­drews in Scot­land, on a screen. The player then hits a ball against the screen, and lasers trace its pro­jected flight, show­ing where the ball would have landed on the ac­tual course.

Mr. Trump is up­grad­ing the life­styles of his apart­ment res­i­dents. In his new Trump Plaza in Jer­sey City, N.J., they will have ac­cess to three BMWs to run er­rands.

De­vel­oper Dean Geibel, a part­ner with Mr. Trump in the Plaza, is build­ing in As­bury Park, N.J., what he calls the ul­ti­mate amenity: a 60by 40-foot private swim­ming pool perched above the At­lantic Ocean. The pool is part of his new de­vel­op­ment’s $4 mil­lion pen­t­house, which Mr. Geibel is keep­ing for him­self.

In New York, res­i­dents at 48 Bond St. will claim the latest pool perk: mu­sic piped un­der­wa­ter from their IPods.

The ap­peal of th­ese ex­trav­a­gances has more to do with so­cial sta­tus than con­ve­nience, says Christo­pher Car­roll, an econ­o­mist at Johns Hop­kins Univer­sity who stud­ies sav­ings pat­terns among the wealthy. “They re­ally get plea­sure from the thought that they can spend and they can show it off to oth­ers,” he says.

Moscow’s Alye Parusa (Scar­let Sails) apart­ment build­ing sells pent­houses cost­ing up to $2.7 mil­lion that come with nau­ti­cal show­pieces: yacht berths on the nearby Moscow River.

The es­ca­lat­ing prices for amenity-filled apart­ments aren’t scaring away buy­ers. Con­do­mini­ums at the for­mer Plaza Ho­tel in New York — de­vel­oped by Mr. Naf­tali, head of New York-based Elad Prop­er­ties — range in price from $2.5 mil­lion to about $40 mil­lion.

As of March, 80 per­cent of them were sold, sight un­seen, be­cause the de­vel­oper re­fused to show un­fin­ished units.

They come with a hand­held gad­get for mak­ing restau­rant reser­va­tions and or­der­ing the valet to fetch the car. A video mon­i­tor shows res­i­dents when it’s de­liv­ered.

Res­i­dents have only a small chance of los­ing money. In 2001, the com­bined might of a U.S. re­ces­sion and a ter­ror­ist at­tack in New York wasn’t enough to push the city’s lux­ury apart­ment prices down, Mr. Miller says. They jumped 40 per­cent from 2003 to 2006, the ap­praiser says, and there’s no slow­down in sight.

Bloomberg News

Artist Hayes David­son cre­ated this ren­der­ing of the En­suite Sky Garage, planned for 200 11th Ave. in New York. The lux­ury tower fea­tures an el­e­va­tor that lifts a car to the apart­ment owner’s floor, where it can be parked near the en­try door.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.