The Real Deal New York

Buying an apartment, toothbrush included

June 05, 2009 02:10PM
By Sara Polsky

A down market might not seem like the best time for a one-year-old company offering luxury furniture and accessories packages for luxury apartments. But Tui Lifestyle has carved out a place for itself in the downturn by marketing its services to New York City and Miami developers, who can then offer the company’s interior design packages as an incentive to buyers.

In New York, the company has set up packages in 75 Wall and is in negotiations with several other New York developers, according to Jason Atkins, president of Tui Lifestyle. He would not disclose the developers’ names.

In some buildings, the packages are included in the unit purchase price. At 75 Wall, though, the packages are available for purchase, said developer the Hakimian Organization. In Miami, the company’s packages have already made it into Icon Brickell, 500 Brickell, Trump Hollywood, Trump Sunny Isles and other developments.

The Real Deal spoke with Atkins to find out more about what services Tui Lifestyle has to offer and how it is marketing itself in the recession.

How much do your packages cost?

All of our packages come two ways…the furniture package and the furniture and luxury package. [The resident] can just buy a furniture package for as low as $5,595….Turnkey packages start as low as $12,000. The highest package is the lux design, [which is] just coming out, [and which] starts at $16,000 for a one-bedroom. Each additional bedroom would be an extra $4,000 or $5,000. We did a three-bedroom [home] the other day with our innovative design for $28,000….We basically purchase extras in massive volume and pass all that savings on.

For the developers, we give them the discount demo model, where the developer used to spend maybe $150,000 on a working model [apartment]…The developer can now offer those to everybody. The developers are the ones that have been buying the majority of the packages. In Icon Brickell [in Miami], 80 percent of the homes have a Tui package.

What comes in a package?

[There are] four or five different designs. [They] include everything….in a basic home, it consists of about 240 pieces of furniture, furnishings and accessories. We even give you the toothbrush and toothpaste…sofa, mattresses, a lot of it private-labeled. We give you all of the artwork, the candles, the vases, fresh-cut flowers, scented candles, we give you cleaning supplies, brooms, mops, laundry detergent, tissues….We iron all your sheets, set up all the flower bouquets. We do all your dishes.

So is it ever possible that two apartments in a building could have the exact same interior?

No. With each delivery you come into our showroom and…there’s a lot of customization in each package. A lot of people may take pieces from one design and mix it with another.

How long does the setup take?

Seventy-two hours….We get there at 8 a.m. and we usually don’t leave until seven, eight o’clock at night….We’ve done a four-bedroom in one day.

How do you stay in business in a recession?

A lot of the banks are saying [the buyers] need to put 30 percent down, 40 percent down. That was the [cash] the consumer was going to use for the furniture. If the developer were to go out and give the consumer a $30,000 to $40,000 turnkey package, [it could be an incentive for buyers to buy in that development].

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