New York City was the birthplace of the luxury branded residence, but the latest wave of five-star hotel branded residences are creating an entirely new niche in the city’s luxury landscape. More than ever, buyers are entrusting their global real estate holdings to established and recognized brands. Last year, more than 100 branded residences opened around the world. There are now more than 500 branded residences in operation. Of these, US-based hotel group Marriott International is at the forefront, securing the largest market share, with a portfolio of 100 residential hotels across 12 brands.
The latest and most exciting incarnation is The Ritz-Carlton New York, NoMad. Development firm Flag Luxury Group began construction of the $500 million, 45-story skyscraper in July 2018. This sleek new building, designed by internationally acclaimed architect Rafael Viñoly at the intersection of Broadway and West 28th Street topped out in August and is on target for an official opening at the end of 2021. This newest flagship Ritz-Carlton, a 250-room hotel in Manhattan’s bustling NoMad neighborhood—so named for its location north of Madison Square Park—is crowned by 16 one- and two-bedroom penthouse residences, soaring nearly 500 feet high and offering panoramic views downtown and of iconic New York City landmarks including the Empire State Building, the World Trade Center, and the Hudson and East Rivers.
Part of the attraction of branded hotel residences are the luxurious amenities, allowing owners when in town to feel immediately catered to directly inside their apartment. Michelin-starred and Nobel Prize-nominated celebrity chef José Andrés is curating the cuisine: in-residence dining, a catering menu, and new outposts of two critically acclaimed restaurants—Zaytinya and The Bazaar by José Andrés. Owners will also have full access to The Ritz-Carlton’s renowned Club Lounge and its signature spa and fitness center. Furthermore, there is a rooftop bar with majestic views and sky-high observation terraces, as well as a lobby with tea service and champagne bar, business center, two ballrooms, and landscaped terraces overlooking the neighborhood. All this, of course, is in addition to the Ritz-Carlton’s signature and à la carte services including concierge, housekeeping, valet, and move-in coordination.
The Ritz-Carlton Residences New York, NoMad, is a limited collection of just eight one-bedroom and eight two-bedroom penthouses, with prices starting at $3.5 million. The penthouses are available fully customized and stylishly furnished, allowing owners to move in effortlessly. Ownership includes the right to 120-day stays per year. When out of town or not in residence, owners will have the option to participate in The Ritz-Carlton Rental Program, which will place their residence in the hotel’s nightly rental pool. The Penthouses at The Ritz-Carlton New York, NoMad, are exclusively represented by The Erin Boisson Aries Team of Christie’s International Real Estate Group. The team are global luxury specialists with a particular expertise in architecturally significant new development and are among New York’s leading experts in the luxury branded residence market.
LIVING ON TOP OF IT ALL
The Penthouse Residences are destined to appeal to local and international buyers, as well as Ritz-Carlton loyalists—due in large part to its highly sought-after central Manhattan location. The building is surrounded by other lifestyle hotels, such as The NoMad Hotel, The New York EDITION, and the Virgin Hotel. “There is so much vibrancy in Downtown Manhattan and we are at the center of it all,” Boisson Aries said. “NoMad/Flatiron offers easy access to the best restaurants, boutiques, parks, and cultural sites, bordering both the Downtown and Midtown Manhattan neighborhoods.
“In addition to Chef Andrés’ Zaytinya and The Bazaar, the neighborhood is home to some of the city’s top culinary destinations, such as Eataly, Cosme, and 11 Madison,” Boisson Aries said. The NYC headquarters of tech giants Facebook, Amazon, and Google, part of the tech corridor—the Big Apple’s answer to Silicon Valley—are just a few blocks away. This limited collection of penthouses should appeal equally to bicoastal executives and the larger C-suite, as well as their HR teams, where the penthouses could serve as the perfect recruitment tool or chic alternative to the corporate hotel.
Of course, individuals and families alike will also appreciate the neighborhood’s mix of work and play: proximity to Chelsea, Midtown Manhattan, and the Flatiron District puts fashion, dining, entertainment, and the business and tech hub within walking distance. Broadway, Times Square, the Theater District, Fifth Avenue, Greenwich Village, and Madison Square Garden are also close by.
Boisson Aries said, “The location has a unique energy. It’s a neighborhood pulsing with energy and activity, and a nexus to the rest of Manhattan’s top attractions—just steps away from New York’s many fashionable neighborhoods and world-class cultural institutions, such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, Chelsea gallery district, the elevated High Line Park, and some of the best shopping and entertainment in the city.”
In addition to the hotel’s central location within Manhattan, what makes these branded penthouses particularly special is their unique location at the very top of the building. Furthermore, these top-floor homes are perfectly proportioned one- and two-bedroom suites, as opposed to much larger, full-floor apartments, which with these views, typically command prices in the $30 million-plus range. Boisson Aries said, “One- and two-bedroom units in buildings of this caliber are almost exclusively reserved for lower floors. It makes it a value proposition for the type of pied-à-terre buyer who wants to own a smaller residence in a top luxury building without sacrificing any of the panoramic and iconic Manhattan skyline views that make New York City penthouses so legendary.”
“BLEISURE,” THE CITY PIED-À-TERRE, AND THE RISE OF THE DIGITAL NOMAD
Among the many disruptions and changes created in the last year, the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the desire for a more limited, yet still flexible residence in New York City without forgoing any of the services and amenities. “Many buyers have shifted their lifestyle and are taking larger private residences just outside the city or in other less densely populated parts of the United States and the world. However, New York City remains their playground, their home away from home, where they can work, shop, dine, and go for entertainment all in the same visit. But now instead of living here full-time, when they’re in town, they’re here for shorter stays. We are seeing buyers domestically as well as overseas requesting smaller residences with all the amenities expected at the top end of the market, and increasingly from investors and other savvy buyers the optionality of renting out their residence when not in use,” Boisson Aries said.
The result is a convergence of real estate and travel accelerated by the pandemic: a new trend towards the “digital nomad” and “bleisure” traveler both looking to mix a vacation with the ability to work remotely. Boisson Aries reported that buyers are seeking a more flexible lifestyle where they can work from any location. Enter the branded residence.
“A branded residence takes a lot of the risk out of ownership,” Boisson Aries said. “It also provides a flexibility where owners can enjoy the resort lifestyle in various locations around the world backed by a trusted hospitality brand that will take the utmost care of them and their families when they are in residence, and their properties when they’re away. Buyers now seek out the option of owning smaller homes in several locations, as opposed to a large residence in any one place.”
Additionally, the work-from-home trend, which is expected to continue through 2022, is reshaping what were traditionally seen as primary and secondary homes, as high-end buyers seek out properties in resort and second-home destinations with lifestyle amenities built-in, not just for entertainment and recreation, but as a venue from which to work. The ability to work from a remote office, or indeed anywhere with a reliable Wi-Fi connection, has boosted demand for branded residential rentals, particularly for luxury travelers pursuing a “live-work-play” experience in a five-star hotel setting for extended periods. And with larger companies from Google to Salesforce, and midsize and smaller firms from law to design, increasingly foregoing their conventional office locations entirely, workers are choosing to work from home or their pied-à-terre when in town.
Related: See More Branded Residences
UNIQUE TAX ADVANTAGES*
Homeowners who migrated to the Northeast, Southeast, and farther afield are now returning to the city, while others are returning as pied-à-terre shoppers. Thus, former residents as well as conventional business travelers are turning to branded residences as a way to own in the city without committing to living there year round.
The branded residence model presents an ideal solution for those returning without becoming New York City residents. “Owners can fly to their other homes and know their property is being taken care of at the highest level.” And for those who have decidedly left and/or already claimed residency elsewhere, there’s an added tax and regulatory benefit: homeowners who stay less than 180 days don’t qualify as New York City residents, and properties within The Ritz-Carlton New York, NoMad, which permit owners to stay for a maximum of 120 days per year, can provide needed assurance to tax authorities.*