Beauty and wellness are the latest amenities luxury developers are tapping into to differentiate themselves in a competitive real estate market.
When New York real estate developers Steve and Lauren Witkoff were working out how to make their luxury condominium 111 Murray in Manhattan’s celebrity-filled TriBeCa neighborhood stand out from the crowd in a market flowing with over-the-top amenities, they started to think about what wealthy Manhattanites actually used.
Bored of gold simulators and other gimmicks, Lauren Witkoff started to brainstorm about her essentials. The answer? Blowouts.
“Everybody gets blowdrys, right?” she said. “People go to the gym, get sweaty, get their hair blow-dried and go to work. I start to think ‘How great if you could do all that right under you own roof and never have to leave the building.'”
One phone call later, followed by a little gentle persuasion, and the first residents-only Drybar was born – the icing on the cake for the Witkoffs’ 20,000 square feet of opulent amenities, which also includes a 75-foot lap pool, a hammer, and an interactive children’s playroom.
Faced with a slowing market, luxury residential real estate developers in New York, Los Angeles and Miami are pulling out all the stops to entice wealthy buyers. That means indoor ice rinks, a residents-only Michelin-starred restaurant and a Porsche-branded tower in Miami with elevators that take residents directly to their apartments while still sitting in their cars.
For beauty, Drybar started the trend, inking a deal with 111 Murray in 2016, although its two-chair salon won’t officially open until early 2019 as construction is still under way on the building, where prices range from $2.5 million to $40 million.
It may not be the last residents-only Drybar, either. Cofounder Michael Landau says that in certain markets it could be a way to extend the brand. He admits he didn’t take the initial offer from the Witkoff’s too seriously: “It’s not really our business model,” he said. “We couldn’t get enough business from 350 units to justify the operating expense of being in the building, so at first I said thanks, but that doesn’t make sense for us.”
But the two sides kept talking and struck a deal. “It ended up being a win-win,” Landau said.
The trend isn’t just hair. Organic skin-care guru Tata Haarper has opened a namesake spa just for residents at the Herzog & de Meuron-designed Jade Signature condominium in Maimi’s Sunny Isles, where a six-bedroom, full-floor penthouse with a private pool just sold for under $20 million.
Jade’s Signature developer was eyeing a few skin-care brands, but settled on Tata Harper for its natural positioning, which it believes has become important to homebuyers who are increasingling looking for environmentally conscious abodes. Here, they will be able to enjoy manicure and pedicures, as well as “healing” massages with jade stones placed on their heart and third-eye chakra.
Back in Manhattan, Gramercy Square’s 18,000 square-foot amenities space will feature services from vegan hair-care brand Yarok and organic Korean beauty spa Savor. There will be an app programmed specifically for residents to schedule appointments and reserve certain rooms.
MNDFL meditation studio is also coming on board, in what will be the first time it has partnered with a residential building to offer fully branded classes in a specially designed studio.
“If you have kids or family living with you, it’s hard to find that quiet space, so the idea of having an extension on your home that still feels like a home where you can achieve that quiet and you’re literally just an elevator ride away was very attractive,” said Ellie Burrows Gluck, chief executive officer of MNDFL.
That’s even a trend starting for Gwyneth Paltrow and Lady Gaga’s favorite infrared sauna complete with LED Color Light Therapy.
And as the real estate market becomes increasingly competitive, look for more beauty brands and services to jump on the bandwagon. “With oversupply of new developments it’s becoming much more important to differentiate,” said Jonathan Miller, ceo of Miller Samuel, and appraisal firm. “You’re trying to outdo the predecessor. There’s that search for innovation.”
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