Art / LifestyleLuxury Outlook 2024 January 24, 2022

Reimagining The Multifamily Building

While most of the luxury high-rise buildings currently selling units were designed prior to the age of social distancing and more-consistent disinfecting, developers are tweaking their offerings and giving careful consideration to the new normal.

Below are some of the current and anticipated changes to luxury high-rise buildings.


One Sotheby’s International Realty

Miami’s One Thousand Museum by Zaha Hadid
One Sotheby’s International Realty


Refreshed indoor air quality: Whether it’s a new building or one that needs retrofitting, developers are investing in the latest filtration technology—within individual units, between units, and in common areas. “Air filtration is extremely important here in San Francisco, not just because of Covid-19, but also because of the wildfires,” says Carrie Goodman, agent, Sotheby’s International Realty–San Francisco Brokerage.

Private elevators: Elevators that are exclusive to one unit or to one tier of units are more desirable than ever as a means of reducing contact with neighbors, and bolstering security.

Larger units: While agents say a pied-à-terre is desirable for many people as cities come back to life, most buyers want more living space even if they plan only occasional use of a condo or luxury rental. Functional space within a unit to entertain, work, exercise, and have some privacy are all important floor-plan elements. Buyers are often looking for units with extra bedrooms that can be used for multiple purposes.

Private outdoor space: Agents say any building with private outdoor space sells for a premium over those that lack balconies or terraces. Even a condo with a Juliet balcony is more appealing than one without access to fresh air, says Wendy Arriz, an associate broker with Sotheby’s International Realty–East Side Manhattan Brokerage in New York.

At One Steuart Lane in San Francisco, every condo includes a wraparound terrace, a recessed balcony, or both. Goodman says units sell for US$3,000 to US$4,000 per square foot, in part because of the private outdoor space.

Creative workspace: Whether a condo includes a dedicated office, a multifunctional room, or a simple office nook, luxury buyers expect to find an attractive place where they can work from home. Many people anticipate working remotely more frequently and want to do so comfortably.

Coworking spaces in high-rise buildings are getting a makeover, too, with some including private office nooks that can be reserved occasionally or rented long-term. Communal workspaces are being designed with more access to outdoor space, separation between workstations, and additional air-filtration measures.

“Condos with public workspaces are increasing in Japan, which is very surprising for us because most Japanese people had not considered working from home until now,” says Mugi Fukushima, branch manager, List Sotheby’s International Realty, Japan.

Access to fresh air: The most sought-after—and often the priciest—buildings are located within walking distance of parks, rivers, and gardens, agents in London, New York, and San Francisco say.

“People want to feel they can enjoy the outdoors even in a city and not be in an urban jungle,” Goodman says.

Rethought amenity spaces: Fitness centers, yoga rooms, spas, art studios, and music rooms are desirable, but developers are increasingly looking at adding private spaces within communal amenity offerings. Future developments are more likely to include features such as a small room to workout with a personal trainer, or a meditation room that can be reserved.

High-quality fixtures and finishes: Agents say buyers are more discerning than ever and are focused on allocating more resources to their homes in anticipation of continuing to spend more time there.

“Higher-quality homes sell faster,” says Ryan Preuett, real estate broker, Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty in Chicago.


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