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Thread: Taking luxurious living to new heights

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    Default Taking luxurious living to new heights

    April 27, 2007

    Taking luxurious living to new heights



    DOOR-STEP PARKING: An artist's impression of the sky garage for the 11th Avenue luxury tower. -- PHOTO: BLOOMBERG


    SPECIAL amenities in new luxury apartments:

    # 11th Avenue, Manhattan: A luxury tower with a lift that takes cars up to the apartment owner's floor where they can be parked near the entry door. The cost for 4,000 sq ft: US$16 million (S$24 million).

    # Eighth Avenue, New York: The Platinum has rooms for billiards, a sauna and an indoor-outdoor yoga studio. There is even a golf simulator: A DVD player projects views of famous courses, such as St Andrews in Scotland, on a screen. The player hits a ball against the screen, and lasers trace its projected flight, showing where the ball would have landed on the actual course. Cost of each apartment: Up to US$7.5 million.

    # Former Plaza Hotel, New York: Condominiums developed by Elad Properties will come with a handheld gadget for making restaurant reservations and ordering the valet to fetch the car. A video monitor shows residents when it's delivered.

    # London: Knightsbridge building apartments priced at up to &pound12 million (S$36 million) contain cameras that take and store photos so residents can compare their appearance and outfits over time.

    # Dubai: A 24-storey high-rise to be completed by 2009 boasts apartments that project scenic images, such as the Manhattan skyline, onto windows. Living and dining rooms in units costing up to 9 million dirhams (S$3.7 million) will also rotate 360 degrees, providing a variety of panoramic views.

    BLOOMBERG

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    Default Fancy a home with car lift or revolving living room?

    April 27, 2007

    Fancy a home with car lift or revolving living room?

    Property developers are going all out to pander to the super-rich


    NEW YORK - PARKING your US$115,000 (S$175,000) Maserati in Manhattan will soon be a snap.

    A luxury tower planned for 11th Avenue features a lift that takes cars to the apartment owner's floor, where they can be parked near the entry door. The cost for 4,000 sq ft: as much as US$16 million.

    'It's a crazy idea, but we thought it was a good idea,' says Mr Young Woo, a principal of the tower's builder, New York-based Young Woo Developers. They call the concept Ensuite Sky Garage.

    'Living in this kind of unit gives a sense of pride,' Mr Woo said.

    The wealthy have never dwelt so well.

    Mr Donald Trump, Mr Miki Naftali and developers worldwide are ratcheting up the amenities, adding the use of BMWs and 24-hour restaurant service to their buildings.

    That is fuelling a surge in luxury apartment prices in New York and London and beyond.

    'At the high end of the market, you are dealing with wealth and not income,' says Mr Gregory Heym, chief economist at New York real estate company Terra Holdings.

    The new frills let developers boost prices of apartments and market their uniqueness, says Mr Jonathan Miller, president of appraiser Miller Samuel in New York.

    In Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, changing the view from your apartment will require only a push of a button.

    Developer Omniyat Properties' 24-storey high-rise, planned for 2009, boasts apartments that project scenic images, such as the Manhattan skyline, onto its windows.

    Living and dining rooms in units costing up to 9 million dirhams (S$3.7 million) will also rotate 360 degrees, providing a variety of panoramas.

    Moscow's Alye Parusa apartment building sells penthouses costing up to US$2.7 million that come with yacht berths on the nearby Moscow River.

    London is the world's most expensive city for luxury dwellings, according to CB Richard Ellis Group Inc.

    Londoners paying up to &pound12 million (S$36 million) for an apartment at the Knightsbridge building will spend a lot of time in front of the mirror.

    The mirrors contain cameras that take and store photos so residents can compare their appearance and outfits over time.

    Last month, luxury home prices in London soared 32 per cent from a year earlier, according to real estate company Savills.

    Developers say wealthy buyers want entertainment, recreation and fitness facilities without having to leave home.

    'They are buying a lifestyle,' says Mr Allen Goldman, president of SJP Residential Properties in Manhattan.

    In his Platinum development on New York's Eighth Avenue, where buyers pay up to US$7.5 million, Mr Goldman is adding rooms for billiards, a sauna and an indoor-outdoor yoga studio. There is even a golf simulator.

    Mr Trump is upgrading the lifestyle of his apartment residents. In his new Trump Plaza in Jersey City, New Jersey, they will have access to three BMWs to run errands.

    The appeal of these extravagances to the rich has more to do with social status than convenience, says Professor Christopher Carroll, an economist at Johns Hopkins University.

    'They really get pleasure from the thought that they can spend and they can show it off to others,' he says.

    The escalating prices for amenity-filled apartments are not scaring away buyers.

    Besides buying into the prestige, residents have only a small chance of losing money.

    In 2001, the combined might of a US recession and a terrorist attack in New York was not enough to push down the city's luxury apartment prices per square foot, Mr Miller says.

    They jumped 40 per cent from 2003 to 2006, the appraiser says, and there is no slowdown in sight.

    BLOOMBERG

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