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Zen and the Art of Selling Apartments

Spa services are the new Sub-Zero.


Rendering: Courtesy of Denniston  

Blame the hammam. When Kira Pollack stopped by the showroom for 20 Pine, she’d already become inured to the countless amenities condo developers are adding to their buildings these days. But she couldn’t help falling for the Turkish steam bath at the converted office building in the financial district, where she recently bought a one-bedroom. “It was appealing,” she says—after all, who wouldn’t mind a sauna after a wintry day?

Developers must be hoping there are many more just like her: A spate of projects, including 20 Pine, the Caledonia in West Chelsea, and even Donald Trump’s Jersey City project, have entered the market with Jacuzzis, treatment rooms, and other spa-inspired amenities. Some, like Miraval Living on East 72nd Street, have gone a step further, making it the centerpiece of their sales pitch. “New Yorkers like to be pampered … [They’re] very stressed and they live fast-paced lifestyles,” says Josh Zamir, who’s handling the Setai at 40 Broad Street, which has a 16,000-square-foot spa (pictured) that will offer everything from Ayurvedic facials to Tibetan hot stone massages. Residents will get discounts and first dibs on appointments, and can arrange for treatments in their apartments rather than at the spa.

It’s too early to tell if this trend will move apartments. Appraiser Jonathan Miller says there does appear to be a market for these types of properties, but he wonders how big it is. “Would you pay a premium if you’d still have to pay [for the spa amenities]?” he asks. “You might get a boost with marketing, but after the purchase, the boost may evaporate once it comes time to sell.” Zamir says his building is no gimmick. “We’re spending a lot more on the quality and design of our spaces,” he says, adding that it’s all part of a larger plan to differentiate the project from the generic towers rising all over town.

Pollack says she’ll likely frequent the hammam, but it’s not why she bought her apartment. (The price and extra space were big pluses, too.) “I would get a massage from the person I normally go to,” she says. “New York is about going to all places to do all different things, like Chinatown for a Thai massage and acupuncture from the guy on 18th Street. I don’t want to stay in my building all the time.”


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