Capital Gains: London Property Hits A New High
Four developments that prove the British capital’s prime market is roaring post lockdown.
Four developments that prove the British capital’s prime market is roaring post lockdown.
Views of Big Ben, Art Deco-revival design, vast, sun-drenched living spaces, boutiques and cafés minutes away from the front door — to say that there’s much that appeals about this six-tower development that epitomises is a tepid understatement.
Set on the former site of the Metropolitan Police headquarters, the development exudes the best in urban living. Executed with aplomb by developer Northacre and the project’s architects Squire and Partners, it comprises 258 luxury apartments (including 16 spectacular penthouse apartments) characterised by oak and marble fittings and floor-to-ceiling, diamond-shaped windows inspired by 1920s jewellery.
The residents-only lifestyle services and amenities are fit to elevated expectations — state-of-the-art games, screening and meeting rooms; beautifully tended podium gardens above the bustle of Westminster; a dedicated 24-hour concierge service which will service residents’ needs from housekeeping, laundry and flowers, to travel, tickets and recommendations.
A fully-equipped gym, personal training rooms and yoga/stretch rooms, steam room and 25-metre pool also inform the property.
From £1.75m; thebroadwaylondon.com
The ultimate lock-up-and-leave London bolthole for overseas buyers, as well as an ideal dwelling for professional city-folk, these nine Garden Villas mere moments from Regent’s Park blend Mews-style living with luxury amenities (think 24-hour concierge, underground valet parking and a private 12-seat cinema).
As well as space – 1,864sq ft for two bedroom efforts – owners have more than 9,000 sq ft of private residents’ amenities at their disposal, including a spa, 20-metre swimming pool, treatment room, gym, business suite and Pilates studio.
Inspired by the Regent’s Crescent’s architectural design, interiors are blessed with a combination of warm timbers, dark stone and rich metal accents, all bathed in plenty of light.
“A refreshing characteristic of the Garden Villas is the amount of natural light that flows through each property, with carefully angled roof lights and floor lights shooting daylight right through to the basement area, flooding the spaces with light,” states the mastermind behind the homes’ architectural design, Ian Law, a partner at PDP London. “London has previously been known for its quaint traditional mews houses, but these Garden Villas offer a refined take on a classic way of living in the capital, they satisfy the desire to live in an individual home by retaining proximity to private garden space and your own front door, creating a sense of freedom in a Prime Central London location.”
From £5,150,000; regentscrescent.com
Londoners are well-attuned to the joys of visiting the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s largest park – not least the orangery, the giant chess set, the war-ravaged ruins, the cricket pitch, the tennis courts, the Kyoto Garden, the Fukushima Memorial Garden, the squirrels and peacocks that call it home… look, we could be here a while such is the bountiful allure of this central space.
And now a lucky few can live on the cusp of Holland Park — in one of four 3,007 sq ft penthouses, the interiors of which are the work of Albion Nord. The design-studio-of-the-moment has blended light, fresh tones with richer earthy greens, burnt oranges and blues to reflect the hues of the park just to the residences’ south. The studio has also hand-picked statement artworks, sculptural items from artisan suppliers mixed with vintage pieces to echo the incredible tree-lined, ‘boulevard’ views of the famed suburb.
Located on the fourth floor, the development’s prime expression, The Penthouse, is filled with natural light and has sweeping views of West London. The property features three spacious bedrooms, two terraces and views onto the stunning neighbourhood and park. Bathed in light thanks to floor-to-ceiling glazing, the Penthouse offers high ceilings and underfloor heating throughout, and is fitted with rich joinery, Bulthaup kitchens and marble bathrooms.
All residents of 80 Holland Park – the latest residential scheme by visionary developer Christian Candy – have access to the development’s private communal garden, providing easy access to Holland Park, as well as a full-service offering that includes 24-hour concierge, secure parking, private cinema room with 98-inch screen, lounge and business suite with fibre-optic broadband for residents working from home.
There is also a boot and dog-wash room, a 17-metre pool and steam room, and a performance-driven gym fitted with state-of-the-art training equipment and best-in-class technology curated by Olympic triathlete Tim Weeks.
From £15,350,000; knightfrank.co.uk
Having The Queen as a neighbour is just one boastful aspect of this luxury development — one that stares down Central Park Tower, the Avenue Des Champs-Élysées and Dubai’s Burj Khalifa when it comes to ‘Most Prestigious Global Address’ status.
It’s again Northacre – the luxury developer behind acclaimed London projects such as The Lancasters, The Phillimores, Kings Chelsea and The Bromptons, as well as The Broadway – steering things at No.1, which, as the road name suggests, offers unique views across Buckingham Palace Gardens.
“The development is unique in the sense that it incorporates five architectural styles – Italian Renaissance, Beaux-Arts, French Renaissance, Queen Anne, and 21st-century Contemporary within an island site — which is very rare in developments across London,” explains Northacre CEO Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro.
Indeed, the project’s interiors team scoured the planet in search of exceptional accoutrements and precious materials to reflect this eclectic quintet of styles —
Italian marble and brushed copper among the results of such curation efforts.
Residents who take up one of 72 dwellings found behind the five distinct facades – which range from one-five bedrooms, and from 679sq ft-5,343sq ft, and have ceiling heights ranging from 2.65m to 5m in the principal rooms – will find elegant fitted oak parquet flooring across living spaces and all bedrooms, with kitchens by Obumex inclusive of Calacatta Oro marble tops and splash backs alongside fully integrated appliances by Gaggenau and Miele.
Eco-friendly touches include LED lighting and adjustable controls, independent MEP control and a state-of-the-art rooftop rainwater harvesting system.
From £2.35m; numberonepalacestreet.com
Following the devastation of recent flooding, experts are urging government intervention to drive the cessation of building in areas at risk.
Private club memberships and luxury cars are some of freebies on the table.
When Ryan Wolitzer was looking to buy an apartment in Miami Beach late last year, several beachfront properties caught his eye. All were two-bedroom homes in high-end buildings with amenities aplenty and featured glass walls, high ceilings and an abundance of natural light. But only The Continuum, in the city’s South of Fifth district, came with a gift: a membership to Residence Yacht Club, a private club that offers excursions on luxury yachts ranging from a day in south Florida to a month around the Caribbean. Residents receive heavily discounted charters on upscale boats that have premier finishes and are stocked with top shelf spirits and wine. Mr. Wolitzer, 25, who works for a sports agency, was sold.
“The access to high-end yachts swayed my decision to buy at The Continuum and is an incentive that I take full advantage of,” Mr. Wolitzer said. “It’s huge, especially in my business when I am dealing with high-profile sports players, to be able to give them access to these incredible boats where they experience great service. I know that they’ll be well taken care of.”
Freebies and perks for homeowners such as a private club membership are a mainstay in the world of luxury real estate and intended to entice prospective buyers to sign on the dotted line.
According to Jonathan Miller, the president and chief executive of the real estate appraisal and consulting firm Miller Samuel, they’re primarily a domestic phenomenon.
In the U.S. residential real estate market, gifts are offered by both developers who want to move apartments in their swanky buildings and individuals selling their homes. They range from modest to over-the-top, Mr. Miller said, and are more prevalent when the market is soft.
“When sales lag, freebies increase in a bid to incentivize buyers,” he said. “These days, sales are slowing, and inventory is rising after two years of being the opposite, which suggests that we may see more of them going forward.”
Many of these extras are especially present in South Florida, Mr. Miller said, where the market is normalizing after the unprecedented boom it saw during the pandemic. “The frenzy in South Florida was intense compared with the rest of the country because it became a place where people wanted to live full time,” he said. “Now that the numbers are inching toward pre-pandemic levels, freebies could push wavering buyers over the finish line.”
Kelly Killoren Bensimon, a real estate salesperson for Douglas Elliman in Miami and New York, said that the gifts that she has encountered in her business include everything from yacht access and use of a summer house to magnums of pricey wine. “One person I know of who was selling a US$5 million house in the Hamptons even threw in a free Mercedes 280SL,” she said. “They didn’t want to lower the price but were happy to sweeten the deal.”
A car, an Aston Martin to be exact, is also a lure at Aston Martin Residences in Miami’s Biscayne Bay. Buyers who bought one of the building’s 01 line apartments—a collection of 47 ocean-facing residences ranging in size from 325 to 362sqm and US$8.3 million to US$9 million in price—had their choice of the DBX Miami Riverwalk Special Edition or the DB11 Miami Riverwalk Special Edition. The DBX is Aston Martin’s first SUV and retails for around US$200,000. It may have helped propel sales given that all the apartments are sold out.
The US$59 million triplex penthouse, meanwhile, is still up for grabs, and the buyer will receive a US$3.2 million Aston Martin Vulcan track-only sports car, one of only 24 ever made.
“We want to give homeowners the chance to live the full Aston Martin lifestyle, and owning a beautiful Aston Martin is definitely a highlight of that,” said Alejandro Aljanti, the chief marketing officer for G&G Business Developments, the building’s developer. “We wanted to include the cars as part of the package for our more exclusive units.”
The US$800,000 furniture budget for buyers of the North Tower condominiums at The Estates at Acqualina in Sunny Isles, Florida, is another recent head-turning perk. The 94 residences sold out last year, according to president of sales Michael Goldstein, and had a starting price of US$6.3 million. “You can pick the furniture ahead of time, and when buyers move in later this year, all they’ll need is a toothbrush,” he said.
Then there’s the US$2 million art collection that was included in the sale of the penthouse residence at the Four Seasons Residences in Miami’s Brickell neighbourhood. The property recently sold for $15.9 million and spans 817sqm feet. Designed by the renowned firm ODP Architects, it features contemporary paintings and sculpture pieces from notable names such as the American conceptual artist Bill Beckley and the sculptor Tom Brewitz.
But it’s hard to top the millions of dollars of extras that were attached to the asking price in 2019 of the US$85 million 1393sqm duplex at the Atelier, in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen neighbourhood. The list included two Rolls-Royce Phantoms, a Lamborghini Aventador, a US$1 million yacht with five years of docking fees, a summer stay at a Hamptons mansion, weekly dinners for two at lavish French restaurant Daniel and a live-in butler and private chef for a year. And the most outrageous of all: a flight for two to space.
It turned out that the so-called duplex was actually a collection of several apartments and a listing that went unsold. It did, however, generate plenty of buzz among the press and in real estate circles and was a marketing success, according to Mr. Miller.
“A listing like this that almost seems unbelievable with all the gifts will get plenty of eyeballs but is unlikely to push sales,” he said. “Empirically, it’s not an effective tactic.”
On the other hand, Mr. Miller said that more reasonable but still generous freebies, such as the membership to a yacht club, have the potential to push undecided buyers to go for the sale. “A nice but not too lavish gift won’t be the singular thing toward their decision but can be a big factor,” he said. “It’s a feel-good incentive that buyers think they’re getting without an extra cost.”
Examples of these bonuses include a membership to the 1 Hotel South Beach private beach club that buyers receive with the purchase of a residence at Baccarat Residences Brickell, or the one-year membership to the Grand Bay Beach Club in Key Biscayne for those who spring for a home at Casa Bella Residences by B&B Italia, located in downtown Miami and a residential project from the namesake renowned Italian furniture brand. The price of a membership at the Grand Bay Beach Club is usually a US$19,500 initiation fee and US$415 in monthly dues.
Still enticing but less expensive perks include the two-hour cruise around New York on a wooden Hemmingway boat, valued at US$1,900, for buyers at Quay Tower, at Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York City. The building’s developer, Robert Levine, said that he started offering the boat trip in July to help sell the remaining units. “We’re close to 70% sold, but, of course, I want everything to go,” he said.
There’s also the US$1,635 Avalon throw blanket from Hermes for those who close on a unit at Ten30 South Beach, a 33-unit boutique condominium; in Manhattan’s Financial District, a custom piece of art from the acclaimed artist James Perkins is gifted to buyers at Jolie, a 42-story building on Greenwich Street. Perkins said the value of the piece depends on the home purchase price, but the minimum is US$4,000. “The higher end homes get a more sizable work,” he said.
When gifts are part of a total real estate package, the sale can become emotional and personal, according to Chad Carroll, a real estate agent with Compass in South Florida and the founder of The Carroll Group. “If the freebie appeals to the buyer, the transaction takes on a different dynamic,” he said. “A gift becomes the kicker that they love the idea of having.”
Speaking from his own experience, Mr. Carroll said that sellers can also have an emotional connection to the exchange. “I was selling my house in Golden Isles last year for US$5.4 million and included my jet ski and paddle boards,” he said. “The buyers were a family with young kids and absolutely loved the water toys.” Mr. Carroll could have held out for a higher bidder, he said, but decided to accept their offer. “I liked them and wanted them to create the same happy memories in the home that I did,” he said.
The family moved in a few months later.