The Real Deal New York

Marketing bachelor pads: Bikes, beer & black olive dust

Sky House hosts subdued shindig (for a bachelor party) at model unit
By Lisa Abramowicz | March 04, 2008 08:12PM

It wasn’t Vegas with strippers and blackjack, but the
Clarett Group recently held a bachelor party of sorts as a marketing play.

This fête was at a model apartment on the 29th floor of the Sky House at 11 East 29th Street between Fifth and Madison avenues.

The 1,600-square-foot display apartment, a one-bedroom, was designed to appeal to a bachelor who could
appreciate the photographs of motorcycle parts that hung in the hallway, the black leather walls in the master
bathroom (which managed to come across
as sophisticated rather than smarmy) and the iPod holder in the foyer that hooked up to an apartment-wide sound system.

In short, the Clarett Group, which was offering the sample pad for $2.3 million, or about $1,435 a square foot, was looking for young Wall Street types.

The group has already sold about 55 percent of the building’s 139 condominiums in the months leading up to the building’s opening to tenants in January.

The marketers seemed to have their customer correctly pegged. A number of the 200 or so guests, who were mostly traders, professed to having fairly tame bachelor pads — ones that at worst could be called messy, and at best were a place they’d be proud to bring their girlfriend’s mother.

For example, trader Chris McGuire said his current Brooklyn bachelor pad has a bunch of Buddha heads and some pictures and sports memorabilia on the wall. In general, he said it is a pretty tidy place. His ideal bachelor pad would be “somewhere I could live alone” and get a peaceful four hours of sleep, from 2:30 a.m. to 6:30 a.m.

With a schedule like that, there’s little time for Bacchanalian reveries; hence the appreciation for the austere urban minimalism on display at Sky House.

“Instead of sex, I went for the industrial [look],” said Bryan Bennett, the director of design resources for Gerner Kronick & Valcarcel Architects, which created the bachelor pad.

The closest thing to a romp through a modern-day “Animal House” was an authentic 1978 Playboy pinball machine that sat against floor-to-ceiling windows with views of Midtown’s nightscape. But that ended up attracting the female guests. Bennett noted that he’d had to lobby for it to be included in the final model unit in the first place. “Meetings were held,” he said.

Apartments at Sky House range in price from $950,000 for a one-bedroom to $7.2 million for a duplex with a terrace on the 51st and 52nd floors.

Carl Annibale, a trader who attended with his wife,
said that a true bachelor pad would undoubtedly be messier and would probably have video games hooked up to the television.

“This,” he said, “is an upscale bachelor.”

The party, which was held on a snowy Tuesday night last month, drew guests who meandered through the display apartment on the 29th floor before going up to an unfinished penthouse on the 55th floor.

The guests drank beer, wine and champagne and
ate salmon with red wine foam, black olive dust and
violet mustard.

While the already purchased apartments in the building were bought by a mix of buyers, Veronica Hackett, managing partner at the Clarett Group, said, “Wall Street is obviously an important part of this.”

Indeed, despite the subprime mortgage debacle and the resulting $150 billion of investment bank losses and some of the financial firms laying off employees, there are still plenty who are making millions.

That translates into spur-of-the-moment real estate purchases, sometimes based on something as simple as a high-tech sound system or a balcony.

One prospective buyer, Alex Shenberg, noted that his perfect bachelor pad would have to have a Jacuzzi and mirrors all over, including on the ceiling above the bed.

“You have to have very comfortable couches,” he said. “The Jacuzzi is basic, for four, six people … You have to make a lot of parties.”

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