Luxury auto brands heard you like luxury condos, so they built luxury condos around your luxury auto brands.
“When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.”
So said Hans Gruber to the Stanford alumnus and soon-to-be-late Joseph Yoshinobu Takagi, misquoting Plutarch in the process. (Or maybe paraphrasing British darts commentator Sid Waddell? -Ed.) Known for his collection of biographies, Parallel Lives, Plutarch wasn’t the worst philosopher to misquote in this context. After all, it was another philosopher, Apuleius, who gave Plutarch’s name to the fictional protagonist of The Golden Ass, a term applicable to nearly everyone associated with this internet web site. (Nobody ever called me “golden”. -Ed.)
Moving on, regardless of his faulty recollection, Gruber’s point was that as companies grow to prominence in one sector, they can’t help but attempt to do the same in another. (Today’s fistful of multivitamins and mouthful of lunchmeat were both brought to you by Amazon. -Ed.) And in the case of the very tippy-top of the automotive pecking order, that next frontier appears to be… urban real estate.
As far as can be determined, the zero patient of a car-centric urban residential development—at least in the United States—is 200 11th Avenue, in famously car-friendly New York City. Completed in 2015/16, it’s a spectacular building within shouting distance of the U-Haul outpost on West 23rd, and (perhaps more importantly) easy access to the West Side Highway for blasts outside the city. It’s also—given what it is—conspicuously without association to an established automotive brand.
Don’t worry, though, because in 2017 Porsche solved all that. Rising to 649 feet, the Porsche Design Tower Miami (Sunny Isles, really. -Ed.) brings park-in-your-living-room luxury to South Florida. (Honestly, cars in living rooms are kinda SOP down there. -Ed.) Hot on its heels, Bentley threw down a diss track two blocks away with the aptly named and 100-feet-taller Bentley Residences. But as far as automotive-themed South Florida residences go, Aston Martin put them all on blast with an 818-foot-tall tower in the heart of downtown Miami. (Nearly as tall as their web address is long! -Ed.)
At this point, the only question is whether the fever for car-centric urban development will break. From what we can tell, the answer is no time soon. Atop 130 William Street in New York, you’ll find five fully furnished units designed by Aston Martin and Sir David Adjaye, all of which come with an Adjaye-designed DBX SUV. And if city life isn’t for you, Aston’s done you a solid with Sylvan Rock, a private estate 90 minutes north of the city in Rhinebeck. (Papaya King got booted by a luxury condo so we may as well abandon the place. -Ed.)
These are all very automotive-intensive projects, which seem at odds with where they are. But they're brand extensions, and brand extensions exist to make money. We can't knock the hustle, but we can knock the larger consequences.