Residences at the Mandarin Oriental Atlanta Set Sail For New Heights

iStar Financial is set to launch the residential component of the Mandarin Oriental Atlanta (The Residences at Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta) tonight, where they will formally re-introduce the property to the real estate community.

iStar is the current financial backer of the property and entered into a 20-year contract to bring the Mandarin brand to Atlanta. Under its leadership and with no debt burden, iStar now owns and manages all operations of this landmark asset (including the hotel, condominiums and restaurant), investing millions of dollars into rebranding and reopening this property. This not only demonstrates iStar’s commitment to the project, but confirms the project’s financial stability for the future.

The Residences at Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta, is the fourth residential project for Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group in the continental United States. The property’s location on Peachtree Road, close to its intersection with Lenox Road, allows residents to live in close proximity to world-class shopping, fine dining and the center of Atlanta’s business world, along with easy access to the world’s busiest airport for any travel needs.

I spoke with John Kubicko about the Mandarin residences, the challenges they face and what they have planned for the future.  I’ll admit I did have a lengthy list of questions, so thanks to John for taking time out of his day to speak with me.

Initially, they plan on releasing a select number of homes (18) to start with. There are a total of 25 condos available, with the balance already sold (to make up a total of 45 units in the building). Some of the previously sold units are occupied, while others are still shells and available as re-sales. That includes a two-story penthouse shell for $4,899,000 and another two-story shell unit right below it offered for sale at $3,400,000.

The building has been constructed in such a way that buyers can create half-floor or full-floor residences, even combine floors to make double-height units.  You just don’t get these opportunities in Atlanta.  Alas, these opportunities start at $1,900,000 and climb to almost $5,000,000. There might also be a single-opportunity to create a one-bedroom unit in the building (on a high floor). One resident took a floor and a half, which left a small half floor portion. Perfect for a pied-à-terre?

I asked John about iStar’s timeline to sell all 25 units in the building. He said they is very aware of the market in Atlanta, but are hopeful they will be able to sell a good number of the initial 18 units offering in 2013.  (The St. Regis has done very well selling their high-priced units this year closing nearly $15,000,000.)

The Residences at Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta currently has three two-bedroom model homes, but Harrison Designs Associates is creating a fourth three-bedroom model home. It is still in the design phase, but will be a completely new floor plan and will take advantage of the popular downtown views.  Will they be addressing the challenging floor plans in the building? There seems to be a lot of wasted space (in hallways) due to the center elevator core. At 3,300 square feet or higher, the units are quite large but that hasn’t translated well in the space.  The answer will most likely be found when the new model is unveiled. The three-bedroom model home that was sold late last year had a fantastic floor plan and made excellent use of the space. Check out Harrison Designs Associates modern masterpiece in the Mandarin Oriental Residences.

Are there any plans to create a full-floor residence model home? The answer is possibly. iStar has a plan, which is currently being refined, but John said a full-floor buyer “wants what they want” and are spending a lot of money. Makes sense right? If you are spending millions to create a dream home, you probably want your kitchen, bathrooms and everything else where you imagine it.

Previously, only one model home was furnished and the others were empty. This made it very difficult for buyers to see how the spaces would work.  Currently, two of the three model homes are furnished, with the third ready in the first couple weeks in November. When all is said and done, there will be four model homes ready to move into.

There are also 3 Garden Villas located on the ground level of the property. They have sat as shells since the very beginning. Will they be part of the residential tower as condominiums? They are actually their own separate component and can be added either to the residences or to the hotel.  Mandarin is set to advise iStar sometime in November on how best to use the Villas. They Villas are quite unique. Each has its own 6-car garage separate from the main garage.

The Residences at Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta, located on floors 25 to 42 of the building, all have exclusive access to the first-class amenities of the hotel, bringing a new standard of luxury and service to the Atlanta condominium market. 

“iStar is committed to the future of this project, and is thrilled to realize our plans for this key asset in Atlanta,” said John Kubicko, iStar Financial senior vice president. “By making significant, material changes to the overall asset, including re-launching the hotel, spa, residences and restaurant with iconic brands like Mandarin Oriental and Del Frisco’s, the property can now serve as a home and destination for Atlantans and travelers worldwide.”

What is for sale at The Mandarin Oriental?

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