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[I Swear] What’s In A Condo Name?


Source: NASA [1]

Its the originals versus the copiers. Its the creative versus the mundane. Its the celestial evangelists versus the card carrying masons.

The New York Times had a very lengthy article today, worthy of a real estate section lead story today on the naming of a new residential development [2]. There has been a rash of new condo developments in New York that are named for stars (the celestial kind). In fact, there have been a rash of new condo developments…period. Theoretically, most have names so it is hard not to be confused.

There are developers who favor the “star name” concept and those who don’t. Each camp contends that their originality or beliefs are more effective in selling their product. Each seems to be bragging about how effective their strategy is.

Try proving a project name’s effectiveness with empirical data.

I remember speaking with an onsite broker at a Trump building in the late 1980s (when Trump, like most developers, fell on hard times) who shared her thoughts on the subject. She (I can’t remember her name) came up with the name for The Promenade, a mid-1980s project whose developer, Glick, later became overextended losing at least one project (The Horizon) to a lender, Chase.

She had come up with the name…

…back when real estate
was fun.

The NYT article [2] sounded a bit like it originated from a PR pitch for the Ariel project in the Upper West Side to create awareness (that the name, ironically, did not seem to do) but it was a well written fun read.

I recall how overused the Starchitect label [3] became in new development several years ago. Every project was associated with some individual that consumers were supposed to know.

I would guess that most consumers didn’t know the architect names before the marketing push and the overused effort numbed the consumer. Next: building names.

With so many projects coming on line these days, their names seem to blur together. I always prided myself in remembering the name and facade appearance of most of the 4,000+ Manhattan co-op and condo buildings in our own database (with this trivial skill I still can’t retain anyone’s name at a cocktail party or the capital of Sri Lanka).

Does a name matter? To some, I am sure it does.

How about names for feelings or emotions? “Aggravated”, “Impatient”, “Rushed”, “Annoyed”, “Panic”, “Confident”, “Rage”, “Bullish”, “Obnoxious” come to mind as potential choices.

Or better yet, how about swear words [4]?

Heck no, families will live in those buildings.