Extell Developers knows that, with a massive project like One57, every last detail must exceed buyers expectations, which is why they’re sparing no expense in marketing a building that almost markets itself. Building a massively expensive 90-story condo tower during a time of deep economic uncertainty, even when the Manhattan condo market is strong and luxury condos are scarce, is a big risk for Extell, and they know it. A flood of hype has accompanied One57, but nothing is guaranteed, especially because One57 is still in the early stages of construction and isn’t due to open until 2013. Selling condos in yet-to-be-built buildings always requires an aggressive sales strategy, so with the global economy in a state of temporary equilibrium and foreign buyers itchy to purchase luxury apartments in Manhattan, Extell is pulling out all the stops in marketing One57. This innovative building now has an innovative marketing strategy to boot, and so far it’s appears to be paying dividends: According to Gary Barnett, the owner of Extell, 30% of the units in One57 are either in contract or have a contract out.
If you want to know just how far they’ve gone to ensure that potential buyers sign on the bottom line, here’s a perfect example. Extell wanted to show potential buyers the views that they would be treated to if they bought a condo in One57. In a situation like this where the building is still under construction, the sales office would normally be content to let the buyer use their imagination; after all, One57 is a mega-tower in Central Park South that overlooks Central Park, it almost goes without saying that the views are stunning. However, Extell wasn’t content to let the buyer imagine anything. So, in what is almost definitely a first in the Manhattan real estate world, Extell flew a drone into One57’s airspace to take pictures of the views from every last floor (if you go to their website, you can see the photos that the drones took from the level of one of the upper floors). This attention to detail infuses every last aspect of the sales approach for One57. The sales office itself is designed to look like a unit, right down to the flat-screen TV in the bathroom, and the floorplans are projected on a giant, movie-like screen. This strategy is fitting considering that the main attraction for these condos and full-floor penthouses (besides the views) is their expansiveness. For instance, most 3,200 square foot units in Manhattan would be designed as 5-bedroom condos, but in One57, Extell expanded the dimensions of the rooms, making them 3-bedroom condos instead.
The selling points for One57 are strong even without such an elaborate marketing campaign tied to them. One57 is designed by Pritzker Award winning architect Christian de Portzamparc, one of the biggest names in architecture. Between him and renowned interior designer Thomas Juul-Hansen, there’s little doubt that the condos and penthouse in One57 are of exemplary quality. In the renderings, One57 looks distinct, futuristic, and innovative, so it’s no surprise that Extell bills it one its website as, “An Iconic Transformation of the New York Skyline,” and “An Architectural Masterpiece.” In general, real estate observers seem to agree, and One57 has benefited from the fact that there are very few similar projects in the works in Manhattan, largely because financing for large construction projects has been notoriously hard to come by. One57 would’ve stood out anyway (literally), but now it almost stands alone as the vanguard for new luxury condo towers in Manhattan.
This bold, over-the-top marketing scheme fits the personality of the project itself; building a landmark glass-tower of luxury condos during a potential global economic crisis is an inherently risky move. As of right now, One57’s timing appears to be rather good because it is capitalizing on the strength of the Manhattan luxury sales market and its popularity among foreign buyers, one in which high-end condos are both coveted and in short supply. But therein lies the problem, because while the Eurozone crisis has been averted for the time being, most experts agree that the fundamental issues behind it are far from being resolved, and those underlying problems are almost sure to resurface within a year’s time. One57 is due to open sometime in 2013, but no one knows what will happen in Europe between then and now, and if the world economy does go south, One57’s pool of potential buyers (the majority of whom are internationals) could dry up in an instant. This is perhaps why they are going to such great lengths to secure buyers as soon as possible, because Extell certainly doesn’t want to build a landmark tower in Central Park South only to sell the condos there at a discount, or worse, to not sell them at all.