Translated from original article: https://www.sueddeutsche.de/geld/luxuswohnungen-autohaus-1.4871150
Porsche builds high-rise buildings with elevators for cars. Other companies also use their brand to sell apartments. Real estate is an expensive pleasure for buyers.
Every child knows that Porsche builds fast sports cars. At least auto-savvy men know that there are also sunglasses, watches and cases with the company logo on them. But skyscrapers? This is relatively new, although the second “Porsche Design Tower” is currently being raised in Stuttgart. There is already one Porsche Tower in Miami, with 60 floors and 132 luxury apartments right on the beach. And with three (!) Elevators that the wealthy buyers and their cars transport up to the living room, where they can park their sledges. If desired also in a glass garage, in view of the fitted kitchen “Porsche P 3740” for about 100,000 euros.
Sounds extravagant to crazy. But is a phenomenon that has been well established for a long time among the very, very rich people of this world: Branded Residences. Translated loosely, this means living in a brand. Or, as the Florida residents shout to their friends: Visit me in a Porsche. Almost every apartment is equipped with a pool and an outdoor kitchen on the balcony. The service includes a vehicle concierge who washes and sucks the good piece when needed. The drive-in penthouse on the top floor – negotiation basis 30 million euros – was not yet sold when the 198-meter tower opened in spring 2017. Nevertheless, Jan Becker speaks of a “very big success”. The 49-year-old business economist is the head of Porsche Design, a subsidiary of the Stuttgart sports car manufacturer, and can well imagine launching other such skyscrapers into the world. “We will continue to pursue this approach and this business area.”
He thinks primarily of Asia: “We can certainly imagine projects there in the long term.” Talks are already underway, he says, “but we want to be careful when choosing partners.”
Because wherever it says Porsche, there should also be Porsche in it, Becker pays great attention to this: “We attach great importance to a reduced and functional style.” The design concept for indoor and outdoor areas is based on the brand’s philosophy, at least all public areas should correspond to the “design language” of his company, emphasizes Becker. The carmaker does not pull up the buildings himself – he has them pulled up. Porsche Design, which is located in Ludwigsburg near Stuttgart and operates in the commercial register under Porsche License and Trading Company mbh & Co. KG, grants the license to build to project developers who also take over the marketing. The Brand collects percentage license fees for sales through rental or sale, as Jan Becker reveals. He does not name numbers, but it is clear that this only pays off in the highest-priced prime locations in the world.
Porsche is not the first provider of branded residences. Surfside, a suburb of Miami, has reflected the Fendi Chateau in the nearby Atlantic since 2016 and in two pools, which are of course reserved for residents. The 50-storey Versace Tower rises in central London. The hotel chains Four Seasons and Mandarin Oriental have also opened similar residences in the English capital. The prices here are rather unaffordable for most people: the one-room apartment in the Versace-Bling-Bling-Turm costs around 850,000 euros. For the maisonette on the top floor, there may already be 15 million.
According to the US real estate group JLL, there are more than 400 branded residences with around 55,000 apartments worldwide. These projects are preferably located near tourist attractions or in major hub cities. Most of these houses – around a third – are located in the United States, where this concept was once introduced by hotel groups. Four fifths of the market are controlled by hotel groups. The Marriott hotel chain is the world market leader in the niche market for ultra-rich people – with almost 100 of these properties in stock and another 70 in the planning stage. Some of these residences are marketed under the label of the Italian luxury jeweler Bulgari. The hotel chain Vier Jahreszeiten follows in second place with around 30 offers. Porsche Design sees its brisk, glittering excursion into the real estate business not only as a mere source of money, as Jan Becker emphasizes. Rather, the commitment should also have an impact on the Porsche brand: “With real estate, we can transport the brand to other areas.” On the one hand, such buildings are “relatively prominent”, on the other hand, they offer “a number of options for making our design philosophy accessible to a larger audience.”
The Porsche Design Tower Miami not only shines with its car lifts, but also dominates with its dark 200-meter facade from a distance the beach view and skyline.
The Porsche Tower in the hometown of Stuttgart will not only be much smaller than its big brother, with a height of 90 meters and 23 floors, but will also be less pretentious inside. No car lift, no million drive-in penthouse. Baden-Württemberg is not Florida, and Heilbronner Straße is not Sunny Isles Beach.
Porsche also wants to have a high-rise built in Stuttgart. At 90 meters high, the building is significantly smaller than the tower in Miami. (Photo: Porsche Design / Moka-studio)
Office spaces will be set up on the lower nine floors of the Stuttgart tower. The Radisson Blu hotel chain occupies the upper floors. At the foot of the tower, which is no less stylish on the outside, the new Porsche Stuttgart branch will open in 2022, which is currently still located on the factory premises in the nearby Zuffenhausen district. By 2023, the offices and hotel rooms should be ready for occupancy. Construction is on schedule, emphasizes Jan Becker. The groundbreaking ceremony was canceled due to the corona pandemic, but excavation is proceeding without delay.
Other companies are also building so-called “branded residences”
In contrast, the planned Porsche Design Tower in Frankfurt / Main is very late. According to the original planning, the residential tower in the Europaviertel should be ready for occupancy in 2018. The building permit is available, 80 meters high, 250 residential units, 230 parking spaces including an automatic garage with car lift. However, it is currently even questionable whether it will ever be built. Because the previous partner of Porsche has decided to resell the project. Without having found a buyer so far. And now? “Of course we would be happy if the Porsche Design Tower Frankfurt is implemented in cooperation with a new project developer,” says Jan Becker. He remains optimistic, although there was already a buzz about an oversupply of luxury real estate in Frankfurt before the Corona crisis. The pandemic does not exactly make it more likely.
The hotel chain Mandarin Oriental is planning a similar brand residence in Munich. It is also open here whether the corona virus is delaying implementation. The original plan was for the first six of 19 exclusive penthouses of the “Residences at Mandarin Oriental” brand to open between Hofbräuhaus and Kammerspiele in 2021. These are to be sold as condominiums. In addition, 51 additional guest rooms and around 800 square meters of retail as well as a restaurant with bar, a spa and fitness area with a swimming pool and underground parking spaces are planned. The property is located in the vicinity of the already opened five-star Hotel Mandarin Oriental and is to be connected to it by an underground tunnel – so that residents can use the hotel’s offers (restaurant, pool, etc.). The so-called Fina car park is currently still on the site on Hildegardstrasse. It may only be demolished if the Munich project developer Wöhr + Bauer has otherwise created parking spaces in the area. Then construction can begin – and marketing to those who have no money worries.