News Recap for October 3, 2013

This week’s news recap includes insight to more changes along New York City’s 57th Street corridor, new hotel launches in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, the launch of new luxury hotel and private residences brand, Clermont, and finally good news for the troubled Hard Rock Hotel San Diego.  Plus, more stories from Los Angeles, Toronto and New York.

Read More News Recap for September 26, 2013

This week’s news recap includes the introduction of Peninsula Hotels’ first residences (in Shanghai), a $40 million penthouse sale at Fairmont Pacific Rim Vancouver, a troubled auction for Trump Toronto,  new project updates for the Cayman Islands, Sarasota, and Regina, Saskatchewan… plus, could Starbucks make the next great hotel brand?

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Layouts We Love: Brilliant Loggia Penthouse at Baccarat Residences New York

In Renaissance architecture, the loggia represents a covered outdoor room, often occupying a prominent location in a building’s architecture, where honored guests can enjoy fresh air while remaining protected from the elements. In modern skyscrapers, loggias are rare, but when found, they offer a prime venue for entertaining al fresco and extending the home into a true outdoor room – not to mention being an eye-catching architectural feature that inspires envy from pedestrians on the street below.

Currently under construction with completion anticipated in 2014, the new Baccarat Hotel & Residences New York incorporates a stunning double-height loggia, high atop the crystalline 50-story tower. The loggia is designed as part of the expansive duplex penthouse, which occupies the full 48th and 49th floors of Baccarat Hotel & Residences’ flagship location, located on 53rd Street just off Fifth Avenue, directly across from the Museum of Modern Art.

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Layouts We Love: W Residences Hollywood Offers $45 million Celebrity Penthouse

Atop the celebrated W Residences Hollywood, the developers are now marketing for sale one of the largest residences available anywhere in the world, and the most expensive apartment on the market in California. In this week’s “Layouts We Love” column, we take a look inside the 25,000 square feet (2322 square meters, or around half an acre) home with a price tag of US$45 million.

Richard Robertson of Robertson Partners Architects – noted as a Star of Design 2003 and winner of the prestigious French cultural prize “Chevalier de l’Ordre des l’Arts et Lettres” – has proposed a masterful interior floor plan that combines dramatic entertaining spaces with ingenious details and insight into how we live and entertain today. The penthouse can be built out to his specifications, customized for the buyer, or delivered as raw space. Either way, this residence will certainly make a palatial residence for even the City of Angels’ biggest stars.

The gigantic home is entirely on the building’s top floor, the 15th, and the suggested floor plan embodies a level of grace and elegance rare in apartments of this size. Indeed, Robertson felt inspired by the Art Deco buildings of New York architects Rosario Candela and James E. R. Carpenter from the 1920’s. Known for their superb proportions and flow between entertaining rooms (particularly for large parties), these homes have become some of the most desired in New York. Robertson’s plan extracts these key components, updated for today’s modern lifestyles and adapted for indoor-outdoor California living.

Stepping off the elevator into the home, one is led into a large reception hall with statuary niche, measuring nearly 300 square feet (28 square meters). From here, an extensive art gallery with 10-foot ceilings leads to one of the largest ballrooms in any private home in the United States. The expansive entertaining rooms can comfortably host gala events for up to 250 people, and feature a fireplace, full bar with wine storage for around 3500 bottles, and 10-foot walls of floor-to-ceiling glass opening onto setback terraces. The home’s entertaining wing also includes a formal dining room for 20 with its own fireplace, as well as a more intimate morning room. Guests can use either of the men’s and ladies powder rooms, but the remainder of the home can be locked off if the crowd includes rowdy rock stars.

The private residential portion of the home functions perfectly well for a multi-tasking celebrity family, integrating various functions – casual living, home office, fitness, and family life. A double living room is one of the centerpieces of this portion of the penthouse, divided into a family room with a sunny south-facing terrace, and its own trophy room with walls of display cases to showcases your Oscar’s, Grammy’s, Tony’s or Emmy’s – all with a direct view to the Hollywood sign.

As this is Hollywood, the family room leads to a private screening room equipped with sound insulation, professional sound systems, and 3D capabilities. There is also a spacious private fitness center of around 600 square feet (56 square meters), with its own spa, Jacuzzi, massage room and steam room, as well as a beauty parlor for professional hair and makeup. To ink those Hollywood deals, the penthouse’s library sets the tone with its “divine” proportions and centered fireplace. To help deals get made, there is an adjacent pub-style tap room bar, and for the paperwork, a large adjacent office for up to 3 assistants – although some may just dial the concierge for W’s Whatever/Whenever Service.

At 4000 square feet (372 square meters), the master suite is worthy of both the word “master” and “suite.” This ideal series of five rooms includes a separate sitting room, gigantic bedroom with fireplace and cozy bed alcove. The dressing room alone measures over 660 square feet (62 square meters), arranged around a central chest with banquette seating, while the adjacent bathroom is of Roman scale with dual water closets and views toward the Pacific Ocean.

For those buyers with families or live-in staff, three additional bedroom suites are well integrated into the floor plan, along with discreet service areas and at least 20 additional storage closets. For those who love their cars as much as their rooms, the home also comes with 17 valet parking spaces. And naturally, the home features a superb, oversized, professional-grade kitchen, should the residents ever tire of in-room dining or the chic options at the hotel.

The Residences at the W Hollywood are now 60% sold, so should any buyer need more than the 25,000 square foot penthouse, they could always pick up another unit downstairs. This spectacular home is listed with Aaron Kirman of the John Aaroe Group in Beverly Hills along with Ron Barnes of PowerPlay Destination Properties, and can be delivered at the specification of the buyer, although we feel that the Robertson celebrity plan would certainly be our choice.

The $100 Million Club: Who Will Be The First To Break the Nine-Digit Barrier?

Since reports of record sales in top properties in London and New York just shy of the $100 million mark, developers have become anything but shy about asking prices above the 9-digit barrier. While the top reported sales are hovering around $90 million, these top properties represent the most expensive hotel-serviced residences on the market in the $100+ million club.

One57 Penthouse: $100+ million
The team behind One57 keep their pricing close to the vest, but New York’s “billionaire’s tower” has reportedly inked at least one sale over the $90 million mark. But not to fear – the developer still has at least one penthouse available for buyers over $100 million. While exclusivity is the name of the game, we are sure that the residence will feature the tower’s signature “long views” of Central Park which sprawls out like a red carpet to the new building designed by Christian de Portzamparc, which also features a new Park Hyatt Hotel in the building’s base.

Penthouse at The Pierre $125 million
The Pierre is unequivocally a New York legend. While several new towers are offering skyscraper living, The Pierre possesses a long heritage and pedigree, having hosted some of the city’s most prestigious guests, residents and social events since opening in 1930. Its top three floors comprise the building’s original ballroom, now transformed into a stunning 16-room penthouse manse that includes what the sales agents refer to as “the most magnificent privately owned room in the world.” In addition, the home features several reception rooms, four private terraces, five master suites, five fireplaces and separate staff quarters. The hotel underwent a comprehensive restoration in 2009 under the management of Taj Hotels & Resorts.

Bulgari London Penthouse $110-160 million
Across the pond in London, the top floors at the new Bulgari Hotel in Knightsbridge offer just two residential penthouses for sale. The new hotel is part of an elite collection of hotels bearing the Bulgari name and managed in conjunction with the Ritz-Carlton team – with others operating in Milan and Bali. Designed by Antonio Citterio & Partners, the hotels have developed a devoted following of modern Italian design. The last penthouse is located on the 7th floor and comprises 9260 square feet with views of Hyde Park. The pricing has been reported in the wide range of $110 and $157 million, although claims of pricing at the lowest end of the range have been for unfinished space.

While the ink may still be wet on some of those $90 million contracts, we eagerly anticipate the first big hotel-branded residence sale in the nine figures!

Weekly News Recap from April 4, 2013

Kempinski Hotel to Join Palm Jumeirah Residences in 18 months

Inside the $125 million Penthouse at New York’s Pierre

Canada’s Tallest Residential Tower to include 4000 Residential Units and Hotel

Mandarin Oriental Set To Open in new Shanghai Mixed-Use Complex

Construction Manager Named for Kempinski project in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Ten Benefits of Owning a Condo Hotel

Top 20 Real Estate Agents in Los Angeles Named

Los Angeles Capitol Records Redevelopment Clears Hurdle, To Add Condos and Hotel

Most Expensive San Francisco Listings Include Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton residences News Recap from March 15, 2013

Fairmont Branded Residences to Come to Istanbul in 2016

Four Seasons Residences Planned for Washington, DC Adjacent to Existing Hotel

New $34 million Price Record in Miami at the Residences at the Miami Beach Edition

Whole Foods To Open a Wellness Resort in Texas

$120 Penthouse at the Pierre in New York Coming Up For Sale

Grand Opening of the Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna

SLS Hotel Condo in Miami Officially Announced

Penthouse at Ritz Carlton Towers Boston Rented for $30,000/month

$5 million Penthouse at Mandarin Oriental Boston Coming To the Market

Three-Bedroom Resale Listed for Sale at the Residences at the Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia

Retail Space at the Ritz Carlton Residences Magnificent Mile Chicago Sold

Amari Residences Phuket Wins Property Award

Chicago Spire Debt Offered for Sale

Parent Company of Rosewood Resorts Plans IPO

The Setai Miami Beach Breaks Another Record

$27 million penthouse at the Setai Miami Beach, photo courtesy of Zilbert International Realty

After breaking records for a $21.5 million penthouse in 2011, another penthouse in the prime Setai Miami Beach has sold for $27 million, over $3800 per square foot. The latest blockbuster sale was for Penthouse B, the entire 40th floor comprising 7100 square foot inside, 3000 square feet of terraces, a private infinity pool and hot tub with spectacular ocean views.

With the latest record-breaking sales in Miami, the Setai has solidified itself as the highest priced building in the metropolitan area. The recent sale has also raised values elsewhere in the building, where several smaller residences are now trading at or near $2800 per square foot.
The Setai occupies an expansive two acre oceanfront campus at 20th Street and Collins Avenue. With the Delano a few blocks away, the opening of the Setai in 2003 solidified the shift of South Beach’s epicenter to the north. This may be a prime example that the best locations do hold their value as this same penthouse last sold for $15 million in 2010.

Through a unique exception to the city’s strict building height limits, The Setai’s 40-story tower is rare and this penthouse one of the very highest available. The tallest surrounding building is 20 stories, practically guaranteeing unobstructed views and the privacy that high-end residents and visitors are looking for. After all, the penthouse has reportedly hosted the likes of Simon Cowell, Madonna, Jim Carrey and other celebrities.

Other recent transactions of note include a custom combination at the St. Regis Residences Bal Harbour for $24.6 million ($1500 per square foot), a 7400 square foot triplex atop the Continuum in Miami Beach’s SoFi neighborhood for US $25 million ($3400 per square foot), and a reported penthouse sale at the Residences at the Edition Miami Beach which was asking $15.75 million ($3000 per square foot).

While the pundits may argue about the health of the Miami market, it seems that the luxury market on this stretch of South Beach is doing just fine.

Layouts We Love: The Penthouse at 50 Gramercy Park North

The Penthouse at 50 Gramercy Park North

Real estate in Manhattan is typified by sacrifice, where buyers compromise by moving a block east or two floors down to shave that extra million off the price tag. But occasionally we find a home that is about as close to perfection as exists in New York. In this week’s “Layouts We Love” column, takes a look at the penthouse at 50 Gramercy Park North.

50 Gramercy received numerous accolades upon its completion in 2007 with a development team that included Ian Schrager, the (in)famous nightlife-icon-turned-hotelier, and John Pawson, the brilliantly minimalist interior designer. Integrated yet private from the adjacent Gramercy Park Hotel, the residences feature vast panes of glass and enjoy unobstructed southern light and views over Gramercy Park, to which owners have the rare privilege to private, keyed access.

The penthouse itself occupies the top two floors of the residential building, measuring over 4200 square feet inside and nearly 1000 square feet of terraces. The private elevator lobby leads to a gracious entry gallery with double entrances into the living room and planting balcony looking south over Gramercy Park, featuring a divine 17’ x 25’ proportion. Double doors on either end open into the formal dining room and library, and reveal additional windows and a wood-burning fireplace, perfecting every line of vision. The downstairs also features a kitchen with windowed breakfast area, two bedrooms with en-suite baths and a separate media room.

Upstairs is the master’s domain, with a very generous and symmetrical bedroom and fireplace that opens onto remarkable south-facing terraces with spectacular panoramic views. It also features a stunning master bath with windowed shower and bathtub, two walk-in closets and an additional office/boudoir/dressing room – depending on your lifestyle.

As picky as we are here at, we definitely consider the penthouse at 50 Gramercy Park North to be one of Pawson and Schrager’s finest creations, and indeed perhaps flawless. Currently on the market for sale at a price of US $16.9 million, the listing is available through The Corcoran Group’s Tim Cass.