In my previous blog post I explained how Extell Development was able to build its 90 story One57 in an area that isn’t zoned for buildings even close to that height. But there’s a catch. Although it’s marketed as a 90 story building (and the highest floor is numbered 90), the building really has only 75 stories.
Legally, a building is allowed to be marketed as a 90 story building if it is tall enough to contain that many stories. The developer can, if he so chooses, opt to build fewer floors, leaving some floors with higher ceilings and still market the building as 90 stories tall. He must be cautious, however, with his wording. Read carefully and you’ll notice that One57 is marketed as “rising 90 stories above Central Park.” Nowhere in Extell’s advertising will you find that there are actually 90 floors in the building. Upon full disclosure, Extell makes it clear that there actually are only 75 floors.
Why not just market it as 75 stories?
Well, for one reason, 90 sounds more impressive than 75.
Another reason: Chinese culture. As reported by the Observer: “In a nod to Asian buyers, the building put many of its most luxurious full-floor apartments on the 80th through 88th floors—a clever way to appeal to the Chinese belief that eight is the luckiest number.”
Did it work, you ask? You bet. The Observer reports that in the last six months, 10 to 15 pricey units in One57 went into contract with wealthy Chinese buyers. And to top it off, Apartment 88 is currently under contract to a Chinese buyer for around $50 million.
Wonderful example of how skilled marketing coupled with a sensitivity to legal issues can produce impressive results.