Luxury Condo Developers Lure Buyers with Customized Build-Outs
October 26, 2017 By Mary Ann Azevedo
Trumark Urban’s The Pacific and Tishman Speyers’ Lumina are examples of luxury condominium projects containing customizable shells, giving buyers the opportunity to create a floor plan and design the properties based on their individual desires.
In September, Tishman Speyers brought to market two double-height penthouses ranging from 5,200 to 5,700 square feet in its Lumina complex. The 656-unit high rise is located on the south side of Folsom Street between Main and Beale Streets, two blocks from the Embarcadero waterfront.
Those two homes are the only custom-shell units in the tower and start at $13.5 million. Both penthouses have glass facades and are located on the 41st and 42nd floor of Lumina’s Tower B. Designer-ready floor plans from Miami architectural firm Arquitectonica are available and can be paired with a variety of custom interior layouts.
Carl Shannon, senior managing director at Tishman Speyer, said that the customization of very high-end luxury condominiums “is becoming more common than ever in the marketplace due to the fact that today’s buyers want to personalize their homes to meet their tastes.”
“Finishes, colors and materials are all very personal decisions, and when one purchases a luxury home, they often have a vision they’d like to fulfill for their living space,” Shannon continued.
As of mid-September, more than 85 percent of Lumina’s units were sold and in contract, the developer said.
Trumark Urban’s The Pacific has a total of 11 penthouses, eight of which are customizable. Four of those are what are being described as “grand” penthouses.
Located in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood, the luxury project contains a total of 76 units including the 11 penthouses. The grand penthouses are located on the 8th and 9th floors, feature private terraces over 1,800 square feet and are two stories each. The units are a total of 3,000 to 4,000 square feet, not including the private terraces.
Four homes at the corners of The Pacific’s penthouse level on the 7th floor offer single-level living ranging from 2,100 to 3,100 square feet. They are also offered with a customizable shell so that owners can select design details and layouts.
Of the eight homes, five have been sold. They current inventory ranges in price from $6.5 million to $13.9 million. However, one of the grand penthouses set a new price record in San Francisco when it sold for $15.875 million earlier this year, according to Trumark Urban.
Buyers are able to manage design with their own teams. But if they are looking for a more turnkey solution, Trumark Urban recently unveiled a new “White Glove Buildout Service,” which is a full-service concierge design-to-build-out assistance. Trumark Urban estimates that build-out costs would range from $600 to $700 per square foot for the white glove service. The units are designed by Handel Architects and Handel Interiors.
To help buyers visualize the pre-conceptualized spaces, Trumark Urban offers virtual reality goggles, model 3D floor plans and virtual 3D tours of Handel’s proposed design layout.
Since launching sales in the summer of 2016, The Pacific is now more than 90 percent sold. Arden Hearing, managing director of Trumark Urban, noted that there is a unique buyer profile in the super luxury space.
“At times that leads to a desire for pretty intense customization,” he said. “So we provide the opportunity for our homebuyers to really customize everything – they’re able to select plumbing fixtures, all finishes, flooring and cabinetry for example. We can move stairs or include elevators.”
To build out the customizable shells, Trumark Urban hires third-party general contractors that are not the same “because of the intimacy required,” Hearing said.
Not all new luxury developments in San Francisco are following the customizable shell trend. Jay Paul Co. has entered the residential market with its new mixed-use project called 181 Fremont. The $630 million mixed-use tower is more than 700 feet high (802.5-feet including the spire.) It will contain 435,000 square feet of Class A office space – some of which has already been leased by Facebook — 55 residences and 12 accessory suites.
While 181 Fremont is not delivering condos as shells, each of the 55 homes were designed by Orlando Diaz-Azcuy in accordance with its location within the building and views with no two home layouts being identical.
The general contractor, Level 10 Construction, will work with each resident on customization requests on a limited basis, to the best extent possible, said Christian Conrad, senior project manager of 181 Fremont.
For his part, Trumark Urban’s Hearing believes the luxury market is headed more toward the customizable direction.
After doing market research five years ago for The Pacific, Trumark toured super luxury buildings in New York “and heard over and over “ that many home buyers were coming in and completely remodeling units and “doing their own thing.”