Luxury Amenities in Vertical Villages

Home shoppers choose new urban condos based on amenities, not size

Residents at 50 West can enjoy lounges and an observation decks on the top floor with views of the Statue of Liberty and more.

Residents at 50 West can enjoy lounges and an observation decks on the top floor with views of the Statue of Liberty and more.

Back in the 1990s, a high-rise condo building with a nice lobby and a fitness center was considered luxurious. Times have changed and so have buyers’ expectations. Today, residents in upscale condos, where prices range from the $500,000s to more than $10 million, get pampered with spas, spaces for formal entertaining, playrooms for their kids and suites for overnight guests.

“Luxury condo purchasers are used to living in large, grand houses where they have a dining room where they can seat 20 people for dinner, even if they only use it a few time a year,” says Reid Boren, managing partner of Two Roads Development, developers of Biscayne Beach and Elysee Miami, both in Miami. “In high-rise condos, they have all the things they want in a grand house but they don’t have to maintain them all year.”

Biscayne Beach in Miami, Fl.

At 1000M, a 73-story building overlooking Grant Park, Michigan Ave. and Lake Michigan in Chicago, and 50 West, a 64-story building with views of the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor in New York City, the abundance of amenities creates a “vertical village” for residents.

For at least the past five years, we’ve found that buyers choose where to buy based on the amenities rather than the size of the apartments,” says Javier Lattanzio, director of sales at 50 West.

These upscale buildings typically have rooftop entertaining areas and pools so residents can enjoy skyline views, along with lounges, libraries and fitness centers with yoga rooms. Amenities include concierge services to arrange a session with a personal trainer, a massage or a dinner party.

Spas, swimming pools and serenity

Whether they are in Miami, Chicago or New York, the wealthy residents of luxury condos often want to feel as if they are on vacation once they get home. 

At the 57-story Elysee Miami, the seventh floor of the building includes an outdoor swimming pool, an outdoor kitchen and barbeque terrace, a fitness center with a yoga studio, a children’s playroom and a spa with a sauna, a steam room, massage rooms and a blow-dry bar. At the 51-story Biscayne Beach, swimming pools, a beach and cabanas on the main level are complemented by a swimming pool and hot tub on the seventh floor, along with tennis courts, a basketball court, a dog park and a full spa with a sauna, a steam room, massage rooms and a blow-dry bar.

Cabanas at 1000M in Chicago, Il.

 Cabana-side at the 52-foot pool at 1000M in Chicago, Il. 

 At 1000M in Chicago, in addition to the 52-foot resort-style outdoor swimming pool, which has an adjacent fire pit and a yoga deck, residents have a state-of-the-art spa that includes not only a sauna and a steam room, by also a Himalayan salt room and hot and cold plunge pools for “ice therapy,” says Jordan Karlik, principal of JK Equities, a co-developer of 1000M. The spa also has a meditation room, a blowout station and a massage room.

“People want the convenience of not having to leave their building to go to a gym or a spa,” says Karlik. 

A quiet library with couches and club chairs offers another space for rejuvenation within 1000M.

At 50 West in New York, the lower level “Water Club” includes a 60-foot swimming pool, a cedar-lined sauna, a marble steam room and an “experiential” shower with six different settings such as “tropical rainstorm” which includes mists, showers, steams, temperature changes, light changes and rain forest sound effects. 

“On the fourth floor, we have a fitness center with a yoga room and a Pilates room, a golf simulator, massage rooms and rooms people can reserve to work out with their private trainers,” says Lattanzio. 

Entertaining yourself, your friends and your family

The type of amenities in upscale condos varies by location, the vibe of the building and the size. For example, says Boren, Biscayne Beach has a more casual feel because of its location on a manmade beach, while Elysee Miami is a little smaller and more of a boutique building.

“We have two guest suites at Elysee Miami that can be reserved for overnight guests because Elysee only has 100 units,” says Boren. “While Biscayne Beach has larger amenity spaces with beach cabanas for residents, Elysee offers things like wine storage facilities and housekeeping services.” 

The 30th floor of Elysee Miami includes a lounge and bar area, a dining room with seating for up to 30 guests, a professional chef’s kitchen with an indoor/outdoor chef’s table, a game room and a library which can also function as a private theater. 

Elysee Miami

Dining room on the 30th floor of the Elysee Miami. 

“Both of our Miami buildings have formal spaces for dinner parties and the great thing is housekeeping can be arranged to clean up after your event,” says Boren. “Thom Filicia designed the interior of Biscayne Beach and Jean-Louis Deniot designed the interior spaces of Elysee Miami, which makes these entertaining spaces even more special.”

Both Miami buildings also have casual rooms for gathering with friends and where kids can play. 

Residents at 50 West can enjoy lounges and an observation decks on the top floor with views of the Statue of Liberty and more. 

“The fifth floor has most of the entertainment areas, such as a lounge, a library, an 18-seat theater, a demo kitchen and a terrace,” says Lattanzio. “We’re creating a community here, with neighbors taking classes together and organizing barbecues on the roof.”

The building also has an arts-and-crafts space and a playroom with ping-pong and pool tables.

“At 1000M, we have a full-service bar and lounge where residents can hear live music and host events,” says Karlik. “The winter garden has 19-foot tall glass windows and indoor perennials for year-round greenery.”

Residents at 1000M can entertain in a private dining room, a wine room and a demonstration kitchen as well as the bar and lounge.

While the condos in these buildings may not have the space of a mansion, Boren says shared amenities provide them an upscale lifestyle with the space to entertain and relax indoors and outdoors.

Michele Lerner is an award-winning freelance writer, editor and author who has been writing about real estate, personal finance and business topics for more than two decades. You can find her on Google+.

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