Miami Condo Building Co-Opts Apple's iPad Concept

Living in the heart of downtown Miami will cost you. To feel the pulse of the nearby American Airlines Arena, where NBA phenoms the Miami Heat (with their recently acquired superstars LeBron James and Chris Bosh) play, and the stellar Arsht Performing Arts Center requires at least $399,000 for the smallest 1,674-square-foot, 2-bedroom unit in the second-highest high-rise in the area, Marquis Residences. But buyers, both local and foreign, are ponying up, nonetheless, thanks to the building's unusual myPad marketing concept.

The myPad idea, billed as "selling a lifestyle rather than just a residence," came to life during a meeting at developer AFI USA's New York offices. "Sitting around at our marketing meeting and looking out the window -- all around us we saw Apple's iPad advertisement, and immediately thought any banner ad we created should play off whatever was going on around us," Lori Levine Ordover, managing director of sales & leasing for AFI USA, told HousingWatch.

The Marquis' modern building is reminiscent of the Apple aesthetic; The Downtown Miami condo also is technologically advanced, boasting the fastest elevator south of New York -- at 1200 fpm (feet per minute). The modern white-on-white look is extended to the unit's interiors, designed by Tui Lifestyle.
Tui's interior design approach is analogous to the iPad's selection of apps. "The Tui Lifestyle interior design is an option for the buyer and a way to make everything easier for them," Levine Ordover says. "They can choose only the items they wish and customize the look to their liking. Or if they want to furnish the entire condo, and have a budget for what they can spend, we can then let them know what's available for that amount."

The folks at Tui approached developers AFI USA because they loved the building and were interested in showcasing their furniture there. The first concepts that Tui presented were rejected because Levine Odover and her team did not feel that they were luxurious enough, so they went back to the drawing board and presented the more sophisticated-yet-easy-to-live-with look that's available to buyers now.

The Marquis, at 694 feet, is Miami's second-tallest glass tower. Its 67 floors feature 292 luxury units, the building is filled with floor-to-ceiling windows that allow bay views from just about any unit and floor. There's also an eight-story open space from the 14th to 22nd floors where the soon-to-be-completed pool area, the only spot left to finish, is housed.

The myPad concept reeks of overblown marketing gimmickry, but it seems to be resonating with buyers in an area that has seen some tough real estate times in the last few years. With 35 percent of the building occupied, buyers hail not only from around the U.S. but from Italy, Argentina, Venezuela and China. There are those who make it a primary residence and others for whom it's a second home.

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The penthouse owner is one of the latter, a Washington, D.C. resident who bought a $4.2-million, five-story, 8,000-square-foot unit as a second home. That purchase price is for a raw apartment; he's going to have to put in floors, railings and more, which should add about another $2 million to the price, according to AFI USA.

What's attracting people to the building, especially those from Miami Beach who have already shown interest in the Marquis Residences, are the finishes, the view and the price for the size. At 1,600- to 1,700-square-feet, the one bedroom is competitively starting at $350 per square foot. Condos range from one- to four-bedroom floor plans.

Now, if only you could carry it wherever you go.

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