Conventional wisdom lately suggests that New Yorkers in the past couple of years have favored the luxury rental market in lieu of committing to a purchase in a less-than-certain residential real estate market. But the numbers lately beg to differ. The hopeful luxury condominium sales numbers in the third-quarter of 2011 and the increasing popularity of Upper Manhattan residential real estate, means that it's easier than ever for a building to sell out its units and make a splash. So for a building to attract even our attentions here at NCM, it must stand out even more so than usual.
One particular building that has managed to rise above the competion is the Touraine on the Upper East Side. In a neighborhood known for its posh buildings and sterling reputation, the Touraine has been able to make quite the impact -- by selling units based on the strength of floor plans alone, something that has become less common post-2006. How did the Touraine do it? By a combination of smart apartment design and a modern technologically-savvy marketing approach.
The Touraine at 132 East 65th Street and Lexington Avenue will be a 15-story stone-faced condominium building with 22 units. Even though the foundation is the only part that has been built and the completion date is planned for late 2012, 16 of the 22 units listed have already been sold by Toll Brothers. Apartments for sale at 132 East 65th Street range from 1,542 square-foot, two-bedroom, two-and-half-bath units up to a 3,695-square-foot full-floor penthouse. Amenities at the Touraine are at the top of its class: They include a French inspired interior designed by Lucien Lagrange of VOA, an in-house library, a wine cellar with private wine lockers, a fitness center, and a landscaped rooftop terrace with an open-fire fireplace. There are also gourmet kitchens with Gaggenau and Sub-Zero appliances and Italian Calcutta Marble in each of the units.
The development team behind the Touraine is Toll Brothers City Living, an urban development division of the Pennsylvania-based high-end home builder. “Unbuilt condos [inside the Touraine are] selling like it’s 2006 on the Upper East Side,” said a representative for the group. The Touraine currently has a waiting list with more than 3,000 hopeful buyers. Part of the success at the Touraine has been credited to its innovative integration of technology with their marketing strategy. “Developers have not been able to sell apartments off of floor plans since the height of the market. To help with sales, Toll Brothers developed a private Apple iPad app to show potential buyers 3D layouts of the building and floor plans.” Perhaps this is lesson that other new Manhattan condominium projects could be learning from the Touraine at 132 East 65th Street.