To adjust to a market strikingly different from the high-flying one that reigned when these projects were conceived, developers have not only created new marketing campaigns but also substantially changed the buildings themselves. Focusing less on trendiness and more on value, they have redesigned lobbies, combined apartments to create more family-sized units, and swapped luxuries like private roof cabanas for shared amenities like common roof decks. The changes all seek to appeal to today’s much more skeptical buyer.
At be@schermerhorn, a 246-unit condo in downtown Brooklyn that stood unfinished and vacant for most of 2009, a new owner started selling apartments in the building three months ago, after deciding to broaden the target audience of buyers and also creating amenities like storage space and a roof deck…
Jamestown [Properties] assumed control in late 2009 and decided that the original marketing plan aimed at 20-somethings was too limited. “We wanted to cast a wider net and appeal to young families and empty-nesters and maybe be a little less trendy,” [Jameson creative director Michael] Phillips said.
The first brochures had pronounced, “be@ is not just an address, it’s an attitude,” and had shown beautiful young people dining out or shooting pool. New marketing materials promise “clean styling and attractive pricing,” and feature a child reaching for a juice box at a local market and an older gentleman leaving the building with his dog.
Inside the building, bold design colors were traded for more neutral ones; part of the parking garage was converted to 60 storage units; and six private roof cabanas were turned into a common roof deck. Jamestown also cut prices by 25 percent and obtained approval for loans through the Federal Housing Administration to help buyers get financing. After three months back on the market, they have about 140 accepted offers.
– From an article in today’s New York Times about a shift away from “glitzy” pitches and toward sensible features, especially at distressed buildings that were bought up by new developers and vulture groups.