properties: high-tech condos |
Emilio Cardenal, president and broker in the Miami
office of Interinvestments Realty, which has branches across Florida,
says that these days, Cat-5 wiring for high-speed connectivity is
a must, and new condo developments that have WiFi -- short for "wireless
fidelity," a wireless network component -- in common areas
or throughout the building are very popular.
"People are really starting to get educated
about high-tech features," Cardenal says. "Most attractive to buyers
are high-speed connectivity and Internet control panels -- after built-in cappuccino
machines, of course."
For openers, he says, Internet control panels allow
residents to program and control their thermostats, lighting, window
shades and Jacuzzis. But there's more. They can, for example, be
used to make reservations at local restaurants or clubs and present
a direct connection to valet parking or in-house concierge services.
The product is particularly popular among South Americans who visit
their South Florida condos only sporadically, Cardenal says. They
can, for example, use their laptops to turn on the air conditioning
as their jets touch down at the airport.
"It's an attractive
feature that makes it much easier to resell a unit," Cardenal says.
average consumer, however, has not yet entirely embraced such technological features,
says John Riordan, vice president of sales at Turnberry Towers, a luxury condo
project under development by Turnberry Associates in Las Vegas.
says the market for high-tech amenities is still emerging.
Turnberry Towers, where units sell for $500,000 to
$1.4 million, offers Cat-5 wiring and a touch-screen concierge service
with an optional upgrade that allows residents to install their
own electronic circuitry. All units are wired for cable television
as well as satellite-dish TV.
"This is still relatively unusual
for a high-rise," Riordan says, "though single-family homes have had
these amenities for a while.
"I'm not sure any of this is making our units
sell any faster. But I think it's a wise decision on our part. Right
now people don't have anything else to compare it with, but we think
it's the kind of thing that, in time, will become pretty normal
throughout the industry."
to look for
Vamsi Sistla, director of broadband, digital home and digital media
at ABI Research's New York branch, says the future value of condominiums
"will be impacted dramatically by the kinds of technological
amenities they come with. From a value standpoint, having them is
a huge bonanza."
Research provides market analyses for manufacturers and service providers of emerging
Among the services now considered essential,
Sistla says, are broadband and cable TV service. Smart developers are forging
deals with leading service providers to cut the initial costs associated with
such infrastructure, knowing that they will get additional revenues because of
what they can offer.
Sistla foresees a trend where residential condo associations
partner with phone companies, such as Verizon or Vonage, that provide
an Internet-based telephone service called VOIP, or voice over Internet
"That would be a very smart
move for the provider," Sistla says, "because they could have a more
centralized process in place. And the association could get a cut whenever someone
opted for fiber optics."