By Bill Primavera
God has a great sense of humor.
In the early 2000s when the Cappelli Organization came to Yorktown to reveal a plan for a large, luxury residential complex it wanted to build, I thought to myself I’d never want to live in a place like that. I thought it was just too big and expensive for our area. But, as I announced last week, I just bought into it.
What happened during the intervening dozen years that has rendered me an enthusiastic buyer just dying to get into the place? A number of things.
When first announced, the units were to be priced from the mid $500,000s to $1.3 million. In our sleepy community where the average single-family house sold at the time for under $450,000, that seemed to me, as a member of our architectural review board, a bit out of whack. When I brought this to the attention of the developer’s representatives, the somewhat impatient response was, “Sir, you don’t know your own market.”
The project was approved by all the necessary boards. Despite the fact that it was marketed at the height of the real estate boom, just as I had predicted, it was the wrong concept at the wrong time in the wrong place at the wrong price. After nearly a half dozen years, only a handful of the 141 units had sold.
Everybody agreed that the building and the units were beautifully designed and appointed but the public rejected apartment-style living, even with incredible amenities, at a price point that would have been more acceptable in Chappaqua or White Plains.
But a few years ago some novel marketing moves were made. First, a deal was made with Donald Trump to add his name to the marquee for a more glitzy appeal as Trump Park Residences. I’m not sure that it did the trick for me. I was still mad that Trump had littered the Taconic State Parkway with four giant signs announcing state parks that you can neither find nor visit.
Then two years ago there seemed to be a confluence of elements that came together to change public perception. Obviously, some smart financial re-structuring had been done that allowed drastic price reductions that caught everyone’s attention.
Then something else happened that I’ve never heard mentioned as an influence on the housing market, but I believe has had an impact: Superstorm Sandy. It’s what convinced my wife and me that we didn’t want to brace for the next extreme storm as guardians of our own property ever again. We were getting too old to deal with it.
We wanted to now live in a big beautiful building that would be taken care of by a staff of highly competent people. Let somebody else worry about a tree being pulled up by its roots.
Another factor is that I’ve become a friendlier old cuss in my more senior years and that is reflected in my preferred home style. My wife and I have experienced the joys of our first studio apartment, our first two-bedroom apartment, our first town home, our first country home, our renovations, our first second home, and now, what will become our retirement home, surrounded by people our own age with whom we want to socialize and grow old with. I feel more energized than ever and can’t wait for this new chapter to unfold.
The most exciting part is that our new home, which sold a few years ago for over $900,000, was just contracted for sale for close to half of that. That’s some deal, right? From what I understand, a lot of other people are now jumping in and taking advantage of very favorable pricing now offered. The units are selling with vigor.
Socially, having been a shy and soft spoken person for most of my life (I realize that anybody who knows me is probably laughing as they read this), I now just can’t stop talking and I want to hang out with the guys. I don’t want to have to walk a mile to find a neighbor; I want to walk just a couple of doors down. I want to just get into an elevator to go to the gym or the game room to socialize.
When did all this happen? I don’t know. The Trump Park Residences never changed. They were always grand and beautiful. I changed. I stopped being “Mr. Grump, Go Away and Leave Me Alone.” Now I’m “Mr. Shake My Hand and Howdy Do.”
Bill Primavera is a Realtor® associated with William Raveis Real Estate and Founder of Primavera Public Relations, Inc., the longest running public relations agency in Westchester (www.PrimaveraPR.com, specializing in lifestyles, real estate and development. His real estate site is: www.PrimaveraRealEstate.com and his blog is: www.TheHomeGuru.com. To engage the services of The Home Guru and his team to market your home for sale, call 914-522-2076.