The $5,000,000 Market: Josh Guberman

By Josh Guberman


 The sleek, modern Costas Kondylis-designed façade allows for a seamless blend of classic modernism, while still maintaining a warm feel to the residences.

All too often, colleagues, reporters, brokers, and buyers have asked me what distinguishes Core Development Group’s $5 million-plus product from other listings in the volatile real estate market we find ourselves in. Is it just the sleek Euro-style kitchens with exotic stone countertops, lacquered cabinets, and gleaming Viking Appliance packages? Or is the price more impacted by expertly conceived and marketed amenities, like concierge service, state-of-the-art fitness centers, self-serve parking lots, spacious storage bins, public wine cellars, expansive, landscaped roof-top decks ideal for entertaining, and elegant lobbies designed by the latest hot architect?

In the New York and Miami markets, there are a wide variety of options in the $5 million range. These options range from 1,800 to 5,000 square feet, depending on the pedigree of the building, quality of the apartment’s finishes, level and depth of building amenities, and, of course, the location!

I realize that the bidding wars that marked the peak of the real estate market from 2002 through 2005 are long gone, and accordingly, I have enlisted the help of quality service brands and established name designers to support the marketing and sales for Core’s projects. We have seen everything from full-service children’s play centers, such as Kidville, and luxury fitness centers, like Equinox, form alliances with top developers in an effort to draw attention to projects, and provide a value-plus approach in creating buzz and viability for a new building launch.

As CEO of Core Development Group, I personally faced a challenge with New York City’s Legacy Condominiums; I had to ask myself how to differentiate its boutique, glass curtain wall building from several grander and larger-scale developments surrounding its location on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The answer was to create unique, opulent luxury residences that, because of their oversize layouts (4,500 to 7,000 square feet), extravagant high-end finishes, cutting-edge technology, and unique features, would appeal to a broad audience of families, foreign investors and significant players in the financial markets.

After selling out all of the upper floors at Legacy in record time, despite a lull in overall New York condo sales, I decided to create 4,600-square-foot oversize duplex townhouse units on the first floor and lower levels of the project that would combine old world charm (wood burning fireplaces, crown molding, handcrafted custom built-ins) with convenient features, such as Crestron-controlled HVAC and lighting systems, electronically processed warm floor systems, pre-wired, professionally installed Plasma A/V media areas, European crafted custom kitchen Cabinets and bathroom fixtures, elaborate wine bars, and professional private screening rooms-well suited for the film enthusiast.

With both street and lobby entrances, these units offer the convenience of townhouse living coupled with the safety and convenience of a full-service building. The sleek, modern Costas Kondylis-designed façade allows for a seamless blend of classic modernism, while still maintaining a warm feel to the residences.

These townhouse units showcase the notion that you can have a measured blend of comfort and convenience seamlessly linked. The residences have something for everyone, including: movie theaters that can hold up to 16 guests; elegant wine cabinets and double GE profile wine fridges; large-format, lower-level spaces that can double as kid’s playrooms; or a gentlemen’s retreat, ideal for playing a game of pool for enjoying a cigar.

CDG has also teamed with the talented interior design firm Vessper Wilde, which has created a layered, finished look, complete with distinctive furniture, lush wall and window treatments, which, along with an eclectic mix of distinctive accessories, give the units a sense of history and grandeur. Every interior design element is thought through, from soaring custom bookcases (complete with book collections) to vintage chandeliers, wood paneling, world-class art pieces, antique decorations, and specialty light fixtures that give the buyer a clear sense of what the space can be when fully actualized.

In addition to the substantial infrastructure provided, buyers at Legacy – as well as my other new project, Lux 74 – are gifted two or three cases of wine, hand-selected from Crush Wine Co., which I co-own with my real estate partner Bob Schagrin and world-renowned culinary maven Drew Nieporent, of Nobu and Tribeca Grill fame. This cross branding affords buyers a lifetime discount at Crush’s flagship store on 57th St., as well as wine cellar consulting, and priority notice of specialty offers and allocated wines from Crush’s unique “Cube,” where auction-grade and collectible wines are stored in a climate-controlled, glass room. These special touches and creative features indeed separate well-conceived projects from the competition.

The current strong standing of the high-end market in New York ($5 million to $15 million price range) is a result of developers like myself who both understand and meet the needs of the luxury buyer, who has become more interested in quality design and true excellence in all aspects of a given project. This distinctive full-service approach offered by elite developers is the result of understanding today’s wealthy homebuyer. High-end buyers now value time as much as money, and do not want to spend their limited intellectual capital, free time, and a year or more of their life renovating and decorating a new home when we can provide what they are looking for at the outset of the process.

This luxury market sector is showing both stability and growth as a result of exceptional residences being offered, which meet the demanding expectations sought by today’s savvy buyers. I said at the December 2007 launch party for the Legacy Townhouses, “If you build it with quality and integrity combining all the elements of convenience and technology that today’s affluent buyer is looking for, these fine residences will sell quickly.” I differentiate my projects by crafting my buildings one home at a time. It is a formula the industry is taking notes on given the uniform success of our outstanding projects.