City Lights, Demand for Luxurious High-rise Living Increases
When Trudy Stambook signed on in 1983 as vice president with the developer of the Meridian, San Diego’s first luxury residential high-rise, there were just a few condominiums downtown — perhaps only 400 units — predominately in low-rise buildings. Now, the number of condo units exceeds 11,000.
“There is a lot of construction activity now under way; many of these projects are for rentals,” she says. “Our population count downtown is getting close to 40,000. The goal is to eventually see a population of 90,000.”
Whether it’s the energy and excitement of an urban environment, diverse nightlife, great restaurants and cultural offerings or simply easy access that takes the hassle out of everyday life, the siren call of cities has never been stronger.
Paul Boomsma, president of Luxury Portfolio International, explains: “Lifestyle and actively enjoying a fulfilled life are core drivers for the affluent consumer today. Urban dwellings, whether in a city center or even in mixed-use, nonurban settings, are driving demand from the wealthy.”
Developers are responding with new and revamped buildings, an extensive menu of ever-enticing and increasingly lavish amenities, inspiring architecture and generous floorplans that rival single-family homes.
One of the last obstacles — lack of access to nature — is also fast becoming a thing of the past. “The inherent limitation of living in a condominium, luxurious or not, is mitigated by architects integrating an indoor/outdoor experience. Disappearing glass wall systems that open interior living spaces to large private balconies and spacious rooftop decks, often incorporating outdoor dining areas and pools, are key parts of this same principle,” says Bob Hurwitz, founder and owner of Hurwitz James Company.
“Outdoor living is becoming more and more desired and a sign of premier condo living. Atlanta has always been known for its green space and large backyards, so why should high-rises be any different?” shares Karen Rodriguez, exclusive listing broker for the Residences at the Mandarin Oriental in Atlanta. Balconies here include built-in fireplaces and Wolf gas grills.
No longer limited to top metros, urban living has morphed into a national phenomenon. New York and Miami have been pacesetters, but, in recent years, San Francisco, Los Angeles and even Honolulu are establishing 21st-century paradigms for upscale residences, architecture and amenities.
Ten50 is the first new high-rise condo tower to be completed in downtown L.A. in over a decade, and the location is a big draw. “Nearly 80 percent of our homeowners currently live or work in downtown Los Angeles. They desire to live in the urban setting that Ten50 and the surrounding area provides, and want to be a part of the future in this vibrant corner of the city,” says Arden Hearing, managing director of Trumark Urban.