Luxury Towers: What High-End Brands Are Adding to South Florida Condos

As well-heeled foreigners continue to flood South Florida, many are turning to brands such as Ritz-Carlton, Porsche, Armani, Four Seasons and Aston Martin as they hunt for homes.

Luxury hotels and other high-end brands have long attracted buyers looking for a place with services ranging from spas and golf to high-end restaurants and on-water recreation. Now, developers see these brand names as a catalyst for sales at above-market rates, or as a way to accelerate condo sales. In recent years, a string of new condo towers in South Florida have taken on high-end monikers.

Branded residences have “seen a decade of extraordinary growth”, according to Savills PLC, the London-based property services company. The number of hotel residences doubled between 2010 and 2020.

“These brand names are synonymous with premium and quality,” said Eileen Acello, professor of marketing at Florida Atlantic University College of Business. “The [consumer] the trust is there, and the quality is there, and it can be an easy sell.

What’s in it for buyers?

Developers and real estate agents say this is a top notch service. Some say brands have long-time followers who have been following them for years.

“A brand has the power to attract buyers from around the world when it has a strong following and an excellent reputation,” said Nadim Ashi, founder of Fort Partners, which develops Four Seasons Private Residences Fort Lauderdale. Beach.

Residents who buy at this level place a higher level of trust in a branded operator for the management of the building than in a building’s elected board of directors.

“I think right now when you mention the brand, buyers are very shrewd,” said Daniel Teixiera, vice president of business development at Douglas Elliman Business Development Marketing.

“They want quality control, down to the uniforms, the music, the lighting.”

Condo owners who purchase units with hotels on the properties can avail themselves of the food, beverage and concierge services that guests normally receive at the hotel.

“Housekeeping, guest services, high-end dining — basically all services,” said David Warne, COO of Penn-Florida, developer of The Residences at Mandarin Oriental, Boca Raton. “When you have a branded condominium adjacent to a hotel, you can top it off with top-of-the-line service: turndown service, housekeeping, bar service, and wine cellar—all those amenities you expect from a luxury hotel. deluxe are available à la carte. base.”

In Pompano Beach, buyers will have access to a marina when Fortune International Group and Oak Tree complete their two Ritz-Carlton Residences Pompano Beach towers.

“In general terms, I like brands that add a lifestyle enhancement component and most of them are linked to a hospitality brand,” said Edgardo Defortuna, President, CEO and Founder of Fortune. International.

“There are very few projects, if any, where you can have a beach club and cross the street and have a yacht club with all the water-related toys and activities,” he said.

The marina will have 14 boat launches on the Intracoastal Waterway and a tender to pick up residences to take them to the docks.

Defortuna said the Ritz Carlton requires staff members to undergo 120 hours of training per year “in their specific area”.

“They understand that the customer wants it and they pay attention and provide the service that the wealthy person is looking for,” he said.

Prices range from under $1 million for units in the west side building to $20 million for an oceanfront tower penthouse.

The economy of it all

At the Four Seasons Private Residences Fort Lauderdale Beach, two-bedroom units start at $4.55 million and the project is 90% sold. Ashi’s company also converted the 1930s Surf Club in Miami Beach into a Four Seasons that quickly sold out.

And buyers of branded properties are finding they can sell for high prices thanks to names on the building, brokers say.

Elliman’s Teixiera said he looked at his company’s internal data on price appreciation and found a substantial upside among branded property sales.

“I’m seeing about a 40% increase with our branded residence,” said Teixiera, whose company manages sales at the Fort Lauderdale Four Seasons. “If you were to look at the new buildings on the beach in Fort Lauderdale, there’s about a 40% increase in the dollar per square foot…in the sale price. This is important with certain brands.

The property attracts “a variety of different buyers,” Ashi said.

“There are brand enthusiasts who recognize the value of owning a Four Seasons home, empty local nesters who are ready to move to the beach, and a large portion of Northeast buyers who want to take advantage of the incredible quality life of Fort Lauderdale,” he said. “Many of our buyers have discovered Fort Lauderdale over Miami for its comparable level of finishes, services, views and amenities, but at a more attractive price. Although we have seen international buyers attracted to Fort Lauderdale’s world-renowned yachting lifestyle, the bulk of our buyer population is domestic.

What’s in it for developers

“Branding is just an exceptional way to differentiate and elevate a condominium offering,” Warne said. “It’s not just about providing a premium real estate opportunity, but you’re adding premium service brands.”

The project has 89 units for sale adjacent to a Mandarin Oriental hotel that is nearing completion in Boca Raton. Prices range from $3 million to over $20 million.

The Four Seasons enjoys a long-standing following, Ashi said.

“Aligning with Four Seasons has also allowed us to tap into a market of brand loyalists,” he said. “Many have been waiting for the right opportunity to buy into a Four Seasons property and have chosen one of our developments for their elevated beachfront lifestyle.”

Gil Dezer, president of Dezer Development, which built the Porsche Design Tower in Sunny Isles Beach, is starting to sell units for nearby Bentley Residences, named after the British luxury car. He said there’s no doubt brands are driving sales on unbranded properties because buyers know what they’re getting from the most important name.

“I think all things being equal, if you had two buildings – one with and one without – the one with the brand will do more sales,” he said.

Ryan Shear, managing partner of PMG, which is developing a historic 1,069-foot Waldorf Astoria Hotel & Residences tower in downtown Miami, agreed that brands are seen by owner-developers as a way “to elevate the building for sale”. They think it will help their project.

“We didn’t go in there and say we wanted a big brand,” Shear said. “It took us a few years. We took surveys, talked to everyone and got [offers] of several brands.

But he got a big mark: the 90-year-old Waldorf Astoria, the flagship of Hilton Worldwide.

“We thought they were the highest and best brand,” Shear said. “We really liked Hilton. Their team was great. It’s just a good marriage and that’s it.

Demolition and underground work has begun on the project, which still requires various government approvals and isn’t expected to be completed until 2026. Still, Shear said, “we just hit 70% sales.”

A beachgoer walks along the sidewalk in front of the Four Seasons Private Residences in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Friday, April 16, 2021.

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