Maybe it’s the private wine-tasting room in the shape of an inverted wine-barrel, or perhaps it’s the elaborate multimillion-dollar art collection that can be admired on the way to the heated, competition-size lap pool.
Inundated with a bevy of amenities — such as the theater-style room with a 100-inch high-definition projection screen — the upper crust of The City is quickly buying up the luxury condos at the downtown 60-floor Millennium Tower despite regional homes sales slumping throughout the Bay Area.
Since November, more than 80 condos have gone into contract at the 419-unit building, according to the Mark Co., a San Francisco real estate marketing and research firm. The housing units at the Millennium Tower, as with other luxury condos that have cropped up recently in The City, are just some of as many as 60,000 new units that could be built within San Francisco in the next 15 to 20 years. Critics have said the consistent building of housing in The City will only transform San Francisco into a place for the uber-rich.
One of three tiers of condos at the Millennium Tower — labeled “The Grand Residences” — has condos priced at $3.2 million each, which are hot commodities, Millennium management has said. One of the two penthouses has sold already for $11 million and the second may be sold in the coming weeks, said Richard Baumert, Millennium Partners’ managing director.
The luxury condos at the Millennium, located at First and Mission streets and the tallest residential tower west of the Mississippi, can be thought of as blue diamonds, said real-estate agent Paul Hwang, principal at Skybox Realty, who has sold dozens of high-end condos in the South of Market neighborhood.
“These are people that can spend $10 million on a second home. They probably don’t need financing, so they don’t need help from the credit market,” he said. “They’re looking for that blue diamond — real estate that’s unique and scarce.”
In addition to uber-rich homeowners looking for a second home at the tower, other customers, he said, may be “empty-nesters” — people who lived in the suburbs for most of their family life but now want to get back to The City again.
Other large, luxury condo buildings have done equally well, according to the Mark Co. report. Down the street from Millennium, 246-unit Soma Grand has deposits on more than half of its condos. The 50-story One Rincon Hill has been seeing deposits at a whopping 20 units per month, the report states.
Baumert said that Millennium Partners had hoped to sell $300 million worth of real estate by next May, and is already close to $240 million, he said. It appears the tower will exceed the goal of having the whole complex sold by 2011, he said.
Different doors to greet three types of purchasers
The Millennium Tower project may seem like one monolith, but it is in fact two towers that have both been designed for three types of customers.
But when it’s done and owners start moving in, they might notice one thing right away: The three residence levels don’t share one entryway.
The 645-foot tower and the 11-story mid-rise are divided into “The Grand Residences,” “The City Residences” and “The Residences,” according to the Millennium Tower Web site.
Though the three strata of residences will have separate entrances, the residents might find themselves mingling; the buildings will share a 20,000-square-foot common space on the second floor.
That space will include a private wine-tasting room, a children’s playroom, a 5,500-square-foot gym and a private dining room serviced by restaurant rn74, owned by chef Michael Mina.
The most affordable of the three unit types will be the regular “Residence” units, on the first 25 floors of the tower, which sell for an average of $1.2 million, said Millennium Partners Managing Director Richard Baumert.
Moving up the price ladder will be the 53 homes in the mid-rise building attached to the tower, which will have “loft-like” interiors with spacious rooms, and sell for $1.9 million.
These units were inspired by condo-owners in the luxury residences of the Four Seasons, the high-end residential hotel developed by the people backing Millenium.
Several Four Seasons owners tore out walls in their condos to create more open space, Baumert said. The people attracted to these units may be “younger in their point of view” and will want more flexibility with how they use their space, Baumert said.
The highest-end units will be literally the highest units — those between the 26th and 60th floor.
These are the units that have sold quickly. The people living here, he said, may be “empty-nesters,” he said: people who lived in the suburbs for most of their family life but now want to get back to The City again. — Katie Worth
By the numbers
60: Floors in the tower
11: Floors in the adjacent “City Residence” mid-rise building
419: Total condos
20,000: Size in square feet of the “Club Level,” which both buildings share
5,500: Size of gym in square feet
750: Size of the smallest condo unit in the project, in square feet
6,000: Size of the largest unit, in square feet