For generations, upper-class retail establishments have held out their superior service as a reason for customers to patronize them rather than lower-priced stores. The same emphasis on service is at play in some of the nation’s highest-end residential buildings.
Sure, tennis courts and exclusive dining rooms and other physical amenities carry cache. But what good are they without a socialization-astute expert programming those spaces, ensuring one-of-a-kind experiences with other human beings?
That’s why one of the newest positions in ultra-luxury condominium buildings is the in-house lifestyle director. Combining the roles of five-star concierge and cruise director, the in-house lifestyle director helps residents engage more fully in healthful and life-extending socialization, both with other residents and their own guests.
A 2019 article in CNN stated: “People who lack social connections have 50% higher odds of dying than others who are more connected, according to a review of 148 studies. Being isolated was also shown to have a greater effect on high blood pressure than having diabetes in old age, according to another recent study.” Socialization not only keeps loneliness at bay, but also helps sharpen memory and cognitive skills, boosts feelings of happiness and wellbeing, and may even help people live longer.
Among the buildings striving to ensure their residents are well connected with their neighbors is Waterline Square, a new $2.3 billion luxury condominium and rental development near the Hudson River on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
As important as it was to incorporate luxury physical amenities in the building, the developers found it equally essential to nurture genuine community among its residents. Says lifestyle director Kelly Sullivan: “Standard concierge services provide certain elements, but my role is to orchestrate behind-the-scenes and create a comprehensive, cohesive lifestyle for residents, so they experience the best of everything Waterline Square has to offer with minimal effort,”
She organizes activities and events that include yoga classes, cooking seminars, educational panels and outdoor concerts, but has also paired tennis partners, as well as drawing residents together to record in Waterline Square’s own music studio.
At the five-star Four Seasons Private Residences One Dalton Street in Boston, cultural and lifestyle coordinator Eric Jausseran leveraged his innovation and enthusiasm for bringing people together to create long-recalled experiences.
Among Jausseran’s many feats: Scheduling fencing classes with an Olympic coach and partnering with TeslaRents to give residents free chauffeured rides to any locale within the Boston city limits, as well as lifting residents’ spirits during the pandemic.
“From the beginning our goal has always been to continuously bring sophistication to a new level, and enchant our residents’ lives, while building a fun and loving community,” he adds. “There are no details too small when it comes to building memorable moments. It’s about offering unforgettable experiences and enlightening activities.”
More than neighbors
Bryan Grandison, director of lifestyle services for Extell Development’s Brooklyn Point and One Manhattan Square in New York City, says these properties transcend the concept of places to live. They’re communities where residents gather for activities as diverse as rock climbing, squash and swimming.
“All our programs from sound bath meditations to happy hours with sommeliers, as well as barbecues, bingo and trivia nights and so much more, are immensely popular and continue to draw impressive turnouts,” he says.
Residents of these properties also are able to take part in a broad array of fitness programs, such as the “Pickleball Club,” which invades the One Manhattan Square basketball court for three hours each Saturday morning, as well as free fitness and wellness classes that change on a monthly basis.
Says Grandison: “We love to see our residents become more than just neighbors.”