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The Charbonnel is an exclusive development of 19 luxury townhomes on Avenue Road in the heart of Toronto’s Summerhill. Buyers tend to be sophisticated and have refined tastes, and get individual attention at the project’s presentation centre, where they can hear all about the features they are getting.

TREASURE HILL HOMES

From the first step inside, buyers get an intimate glimpse into what the project is all about

A presentation centre for a luxury home has to accomplish one central task: Give potential buyers a true luxury experience that tells the story about the project.

The presentation centre is perhaps the most significant element of an overall communications and marketing program. That includes getting all the details right, from the moment a prospective buyer walks in the door. It’s not just the way the project is presented, and which might show a video, a scale model of the building, the material palette and the high-level finishings. The music that is being played and even the aroma that is in air of the sales centre have been carefully selected, says Jordan DeBrincat, director of operations at Altree Developments. One of Altree’s latest projects is 2 Forest Hill Road, a private condo project at St. Clair Avenue West.

“Each and every finish and detail in the presentation centre of luxury products is all about tailoring the experience to each individual person who walks in the door,” DeBrincat says.

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Showing how much time and effort the developer or builder has put into a project resonates with purchasers. Everything from the wall panelling to the ceiling application to the fabric on the couch contributes to the story of the presentation centre. It all starts with the initial vision and branding behind a project.

“This is what allows each presentation centre to be special and unique to each project,” DeBrincat adds.

The presentation gallery for Armour Heights Developments’ 89 Avenue Yorkville project is by appointment only. The goal is never just about “making a sale” or sounding a victory bell whenever a suite gets sold, says Armour Heights president Frank Mazzotta.

“We want to earn the trust and confidence of a select and exclusive market segment,” he says. “To do this, we must put as much effort into understanding our clients as we do in getting them to understand our approach and we can think of no better way to meet this goal than within the immersive and impactful environment of our presentation gallery.”

The presentation centre is not about matching industry trends, Mazzotta says. It’s about quality, craftsmanship, design and the clientele, who are “ultrahigh net worth individuals.”

A large selling feature with luxury homes is customization, DeBrincat says, and that’s an important message to get across in a presentation centre. Buyers who are end users, regardless of price point, all want to create a home, and each person’s outlook and opinion differs from the next.

“That is why customization has become a large selling feature, and sometimes a requirement, of luxury projects,” DeBrincat says.

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Mimi Ng, senior vice-president of residential sales and marketing for Menkes Developments Ltd., says buyers in the luxury and super-luxury market segment are highly discriminating and have a list of specific criteria and will wait for the right building. With presentation centres, builders need to show those buyers how and why they are delivering the high standard of product being sought, and that they understand the buyers’ needs.

For example, while mid-market projects targeting a broader audience might have a display kitchen or bathroom or model suite, a luxury condominium will delve deeper into product experience.

“For example, I’ve seen presentation centres in Vancouver and New York that, in addition to full model suites, also include mockups of the building elevator cabs and hallways,” Ng says. “When Menkes developed the Four Seasons Hotel and Residences in Yorkville, we built a 5,000-square-foot presentation gallery, and many components of the gallery reflected the exact features and finishes that we were offering in the project.”

For instance, the gallery’s main salon is 20 feet by 24 four feet with a ceiling height of 12 feet, which is the same dimensions as the living rooms in many of the suites, she says. “It’s one thing for a builder to tell a buyer that they will be getting 12-foot ceilings, but if the buyer can experience that space for themselves, that instills greater understanding and confidence in what they are buying.”

With some projects, the clientele is so exclusive that the objective is to take the presentation centre, and what it represents, directly to them in a private one-on-one session. That’s the approach being taken by the builders of Charbonnel, 19 bespoke luxury townhomes being built on Avenue Road and Oaklands Avenue, just south of St. Clair Avenue West in the heart of Summerhill. Like with 89 Avenue Yorkville, the architect is Richard Wengle and the interior designer is Brian Gluckstein.

Paul Johnston, real estate sales representative for the project, says, buyers of Charbonnel homes are naturally very sophisticated. Many of them have built their own homes and cottages, combining extensive design experience with refined tastes and needs. For these buyers, the conversation is nuanced, specific and highly sophisticated and that’s part of the service offering of a presentation centre.

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“We value their experience and, by meeting one-on-one, can help explore both the level of design that these homes hold, but also the integrity of the construction,” he says. “Our buyers demand – and deserve – a fulsome and detailed understanding of their new home, which we are absolutely best equipped to provide when meeting privately.”

Presentation centres are also fast evolving with an increased incorporation of technology to assist in the sale process, Ng says. That might include virtual renderings of amenity spaces, videos of the neighbourhood and virtual reality tours of the suites.


This content was produced by The Globe and Mail’s Globe Content Studio, in consultation with an advertiser. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved in its creation.

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