The Real Deal Miami

Sales center showdown

The high-stakes battle for buyers plays out in multimillion-dollar tricked-out galleries

November 01, 2015
By Katherine Kallergis

Ramon Corona, Daniel de la Vega and Jon Paul Perez explored Paramount’s new sales center.

Ramon Corona, Daniel de la Vega and Jon Paul Perez explored Paramount’s new sales center.

Ever been at the mercy of a bouncer while trying to gain admittance to a sales gallery?

At the VIP launch party last spring for Paramount Miami Worldcenter, more than 1,100 attendees made the attempt, with varying degrees of success, to do just that. The party, replete with what developer Daniel Kodsi claimed was the largest disco ball in the world, included a roped-off entrance and a line of eager guests on a red carpet rivaling the queue for LIV at the Fontainebleau on a Friday night.

The celebration in April marked the opening of a $2 million sales gallery for the still-to-be-built luxury condo tower in Miami’s downtown. Inside, three-dimensional videos with renderings of the project pop up on a 36-screen wall, creating a dynamic backdrop for the 7.5-foot scale model of the 60-story condominium.

Sales centers for luxury condo towers in the preconstruction phase have become as high-tech and high-end as the units themselves. Paramount’s two-story gallery, at 1010 Northeast Second Avenue, includes a curved marble table with customized iPads for clicking on renderings of condos. Visitors can also tour a model unit in person. The sales gallery is where Chanel meets Apple, Kodsi told The Real Deal.

“Most buyers buy the dream and it becomes a reality,” said Edgardo Defortuna, CEO of Fortune International Group, which along with Chateau Group is developing a 52-story tower in Sunny Isles Beach with a groundbreaking early next year. “You have to show them that dream.”

Defortuna said the sales gallery for the Ritz-Carlton Residences Sunny Isles Beach is a bit unconventional in that it lacks a model unit. Instead, “from the moment they walk in, they are received by a personal butler,” he said about visitors to the sales gallery.

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Also in that $3 million sales center: wall-to-wall screens, an interactive table to launch floor plans (think of an iPad but bigger) and access to the beach via a wooden deck along the sand.

The two development firms invested in the sales gallery, which opened in April, so as to remain competitive. “These buyers do not want to park their money,” Defortuna said. “They’re end users.” 

Turnberry Ocean Club’s $5 million, 9,000-square-foot sales gallery sports two touchscreen tables, video walls with nine 55-inch HD monitors, an iPad application and interactive technology from ArX Solutions — all so prospective buyers can see the Sunny Isles Beach units from the inside and exterior.

These days developers even hire drones to shoot photos from every floor so that before a tower is fully built customers can preview their expected vista.

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A celebrity-studded party marked April’s launch of a $2 million sales center for Paramount Miami Worldcenter.

“It’s pretty elaborate and pretty dramatic,” said Dan Riordan, Turnberry Associates’ president of residential development. “The sales gallery makes a huge difference. It makes it easier to understand and to make a decision.”

Art will be a key component of Oceana Bal Harbour, which is why the developer, Consultatio USA, spent $4 million on a sales gallery that launched in 2013 and $8 million for the artwork inside.

Real estate developer Eduardo Costantini, a founder of the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano in Buenos Aires, curated the sales gallery’s mini collection, which includes pieces by Italian–Argentinian artist Lucio Fontana and Cuban painter Wifredo Lam.

The finished Oceana Bal Harbour will display two Jeff Koons sculptures along with 10 more works of art in the lobby. Until then visitors to the sales gallery can gaze upon a life-size plexiglas reproduction of Koons’ “Ballerina.”

“All of it [the art] will be owned by the residents of Oceana Bal Harbour,” said Ernesto Cohan, Oceana Bal Harbour’s director of sales. “Many of the buyers are caught off guard by it. In some cases, the reaction has been phenomenal. Some people — they don’t know Jeff Koons. They’ll say, ‘Jeff who?’”

In Broward County, Metropica’s 65-acre planned community in Sunrise has a 5,139-square-foot sales gallery. The roughly $4 million space, which includes a mini-movie theater, will refocus on new parts of Metropica as the construction progresses on the eight residential buildings; for now the spotlight is on the first tower, YOO at Metropica, with a nod to its interior design firm YOO Studio, founded by Philippe Starck.

Metropica’s sales gallery beams views of the future condo on giant screens.

Metropica’s sales gallery beams views of the future condo on giant screens.

The sales gallery’s entrance has a steel-framed courtyard intended to mimic the condos’ steel balconies.

“We have a gumbo limbo tree in the middle of our patio,” said Cindy Darnaby, YOO at Metropica’s director of sales. And yes, the tree — native to South Florida — will remain when Metropica is fully completed in 2017.

While touring the sales center — decked out with the requisite luxury including five 42-inch screens controlled by iPads and a model unit showcasing the interior finishes — prospective buyers can see simulated views of nearby Everglades National Park, similar to those expected from the completed tower.

In Sunny Isles Beach, a $10 million, 10,000-square-foot sales gallery will be opened next spring to showcase a full-size, 4,505-square-foot unit for Estates at Acqualina.

“The Milano unit will have a full balcony, outdoor spa, kitchen, fireplace,” said Michael Goldstein, Trump Group’s president of sales. “Everything will be functional, and we’ll bring in chefs to show how the kitchens work.”

The sales gallery will be poised atop a spa at the already open Acqualina Resort & Spa, overlooking the pool. It will feature a four-minute movie of actors enjoying the Estates’ amenities.

“You’ll hear the sounds of people ice skating, bowling,” Goldstein said. “It’s a firsthand feel of what it’s like to live here.”

At Acqualina, the pricey sales gallery won’t go to waste when the Estates opens. It will be turned into corporate offices, Goldstein said.

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