Nine of the 26 residences at the lavish The Lauren condominium building are under contract and construction is set to be completed by March 2016.
“At this point, we’re sort of where we wanted to be,” said Larry Goodwin, founder of Bethesda-based developer 1788 Holdings. “What we have done is we’ve engineered this project way past what the standards are in the market. There’s a lot of talk about our prices. For us, it’s not about the prices. It’s the value we’re delivering for those prices.”
The prices—the $10.5 million penthouse could end up as the most expensive condo unit ever sold in the Washington, D.C., area—have generated much of the buzz surrounding the project.
Pre-construction signs announcing “Homes from the several millions” turned plenty of heads.
One-bedroom units at the project start at $1.5 million and a roughly 3,400-square-foot three-bedroom unit will be priced at about $4.5 million.
Goodwin and Michael Snyder, vice president of project partner Persimmon Capital Partners, said they’re confident the remaining units will sell because The Lauren’s building finishes, private elevators and amenities will surpass what’s offered by other condo projects in the region.
“Frankly, if [the concierges] don’t have your Black Card and they’re not taking care of things for you every day, that isn’t what we intended and they would be changed out,” Goodwin said. “Our view is we want these people to be an extension of your home office, someone who’s going to take care of the details for you.”
Renderings of the penthouse kitchen and basement Wine Lounge at The Lauren, via Akseizer Design Group
Goodwin compared the project to the high-end Somerset House condos in Chevy Chase, where he said most new residents are paying more than the sales price because they’re doing major renovations of older units after closing.
“Most people don’t want to go through renovations,” Snyder said.
Goodwin said the target residents for the building are “working wealthy people,” who are likely to travel frequently, who might own their own business and who have nine-digit bank accounts.
Those under contract before construction of the building is finished are from the Washington region, with a few future residents looking to downsize from bigger single-family homes in Potomac.
In addition to the 29 residences, there are five guest suites and six moderately-priced dwelling units (MPDUs), as required of all new major residential development in Montgomery County.
At The Lauren, those six MPDUs will average about 1,400 square feet and cost about $170,000.
The units will be sold through the county to qualified buyers closer to the project’s delivery date. Owners of the MPDUs will have the option to join a separate condominium association with nominal monthly fees.
Goodwin said one or two qualified buyers are expressing interest every week.
As for the $10.5 million penthouse, the 5,700-square-foot, three-bedroom unit with its own maid’s suite and a private 1,300-square-foot outdoor terrace, Goodwin predicted it will sell shortly after the building opens, like many of the other units.
“With where we’re at now, if [a potential buyer] isn’t pushing to have a meeting with us, we want to deliver and put the wrap on it,” Goodwin said. “We really feel this is a product that people really need to see.”