Mansion Global Developers Are Racing to Give Affluent Buyers the Gift of More Free Time

July 2023

Luxury developments, already stacked with gyms, theaters and other amenities built to lure wealthy buyers, are now going beyond physical spaces to offer the most precious perk of all: More free time. 

Take 1428 Brickell in Miami, for one. The condominium, slated to debut in 2027, will have a bevy of full-time experts to serve homeowners. A sommelier will keep them well supplied with their wines and spirits of choice, source rare vintages and help them discover new producers. 

There will also be a wellness concierge to schedule personal training sessions, IV drips and spa treatments and several butlers, porters and valets to fulfill requests like late-night pizza cravings and help packing for a trip.

One Wall Street in Manhattan’s Financial District, which opened in March, counts on its onsite lifestyle manager, Michael Lawrence, to be a constant resource to its residents. The former executive director of operations for the renowned chef Daniel Boulud said that means establishing a relationship with them prior to their move-in date with a handwritten welcome letter.

His notes offer to help them find a moving company, assist with unpacking boxes and stock their kitchen with groceries from the nearby Whole Foods. Lawrence can also arrange for their audio systems to be set up and make appointments with phone and cable providers.

Once owners are settled in, Lawrence acts as a go-to for a variety of needs: He’ll set up daily wake-up calls, make restaurant reservations and even plan their vacations. Most recently, the latter entailed booking a trip to Nashville for an avid Taylor Swift fan to catch the singer’s concert in May. The itinerary also included meals at famous restaurants like Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint, a shopping tour and museum visits.

“Our goal is to anticipate what residents need and do whatever it takes to fulfill those needs,” said Lawrence. “That’s what true hospitality is all about.”

HALL Arts Residences, a 48-unit tower located in Dallas’s Arts District, also offers a full-time lifestyle manager, Rebecca Roberts. The former event planner maintains residents’ homes while they’re gone, secures theater tickets for coveted shows and orchestrates their dinner parties and other social events.

Lynda Ludeman owns a home in the development and said that Roberts was a “huge selling point” for her and her husband when they were deciding where in Dallas they wanted to live. 

“I’ll text her when I’m away asking for our plants to be watered and it’s done,” Ludeman said. “I threw a lunch for my friends, and she found the caterer and sourced flowers for the occasion. She’s also arranged for my art to be hung.”

Cindi Caudle, an agent with Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty in Dallas, is the co-lead broker for HALL Arts Residences and said that the building’s service factor is a primary component in closing deals.

“Wealthy buyers, especially since Covid, want the convenience and time savings of a lock-and-leave lifestyle, and unparalleled service gives you that,” she said. “The service levels in luxury developments have significantly stepped up as a result.”

While amenities in the most expensive residential developments have become “bolder and blingier, the quality of service is quickly catching up. said Chris Graham, the founder of the London-based luxury real estate branding consultancy Graham Associates. “The concierge piece of these projects taps into creating a lifestyle that’s supposed to be hard to match,” he said. “High-end real estate nowadays has evolved from the tangible to experiential, and service is the lead.”

The trend applies to both branded and unbranded residences, Graham said.

Other examples of service that aims to transcend the standard to reach the superlative are proliferating in the highest end of residential real estate.

At the yet-to-open Villa Miami, located in the Edgewater neighborhood, for instance, chefs trained at the perennially popular Major Food Group restaurants like Carbone will be available to cook meals for residents in their homes and ensure that their pantries are continually restocked.

ONE Tampa, debuting in 2025, is also trying to increase the appeal on the food and beverage front with its Skyline Bistro which will serve food throughout the day and have a barista on staff.

Ed Jahn, the senior vice president for ONE Tampa’s developer Kolter Urban, said that residents will be able to order food to their homes or anywhere else in the building, such as poolside or for pickup through the development’s app.  

The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Palm Beach Gardens, an 11-acre development on Palm Beach’s Intracoastal Waterway that’s launching in 2025, will offer personalized service for each of its residents, according to its developer Dan Catalfumo.  

“We are going to ask owners to input their likes and preferences into an online system that they can update at any time,” he said. “It will let us know whether they want us to get their boat ready for a day on the water and their favorite poolside drink.”

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