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By Peter Lane Taylor, Forbes
Alternative health practitioner and New Age wellness guru Deepak Chopra is leveraging his background in quantum healing and integrative medicine—as well as his name, first made famous on Oprah back in 1993—to elevate luxury real estate to a new realm, quite literally.
New-York based real estate developer Property Markets Group and their joint venture part S2 Development announced on Friday that they have partnered exclusively with Dr. Chopra as well as real estate wellness consultancy Delos to create the first ultra-luxury residences specifically designed and built around human biological well being and preventative health design.
￼￼“Biological living is the next revolution in real estate,” Chopra predicts to me in an exclusive interview, “This has been a long time in coming. Sleep patterns, breathing, color, light, movement, spatial flow, sound. These can all change our genome expression in the direction of health and well being. The wellness features and technologies that we are designing (into these residences) will enhance both the physical and emotional well being of the homeowner.”
The first seven of these signature Chopra-imagined condominium homes will be embedded within Property Market Group’s new waterfront 650’ glass scythe called Muse Residences in Sunny Isles, Florida thirty minutes north of Miami Beach. Each residence will incorporate custom Chopra/Delos designed Circadian lighting systems, state-of-the- art air purification and aromatherapy, triple water filtration, noise reduction acoustics, long-wave night lighting, EMF shielding from electromagnetic fields, and hand-picked Chopra finishing selections including mood aligning paint colors mimicking nature.
￼￼We all have an extended body that flows through and from where we live out into nature,” Chopra tells me. “So why do we separate the human organism from where we live? Pure air, pure water, acoustics, and Circadian lighting are the first steps. For years green building has focused on environmental impact. Not on the human biological impact. That is what we are doing here."
Chopra’s essential belief is that wellness building systems collectively can improve an occupant’s energy levels, hormone balance, heart rate, sleep quality, respiratory patterns, and dietary rhythms. Better aligned people in turn are happier at home, more productive at work, and have more meaningful relationships with their friends and family.
￼The Muse Residences, a 65-story, Carlos Ott-designed, parabolic glass tower, just
￼topped out this month. Full construction and finishing of the building's 68 units, including two full floor penthouses as well as the seven Chopra residences, is expected by early 2018. The building is already 70% pre-sold, and if PMG and S2’s bet on Chopra and Delos is right, the other 30% should sell out just as quickly—which is no small feat in Miami right now where the luxury condo glut is back.
￼￼The Future Of Branded Real Estate
￼Whatever your politics you have to give President Donald Trump credit for this: as a real estate developer decades ago he was the first person to realize that attaching (ergo “licensing”) brand value to luxury residential and hotel projects could be highly profitable.
It took years for the trend to catch on structurally. But recently fashion and retail giants like Armani and Baccarat as well as luxury automobile companies like Porsche and Aston Martin have co-branded themselves onto some of the world’s most ultra-luxury condominium and hotel developments. That hospitality, high-end real estate, and ￼celebrity-luxury legacy brands have converged should surprise no one. That it didn’t happen sooner is the more curious question.
Branded real estate projects in general—and in South Florida in particular because of its consistent international buyer base—also lend themselves architecturally and marketing wise to the other dominant trend in ultra-luxury real estate: specialized amenities targeting specific high net worth buyers.
The Paramount Miami WorldCenter, for example, currently under construction in downtown Miami has a regulation sized soccer pitch on its roof deck, strategically tempting South American and European buyers for whom soccer is a family tradition. The Porsche Tower just up the street from the Muse Residences in Sunny Isles has a three-shaft car elevator to every floor. Other luxury developments in Manhattan and San Francisco have 24/7 trading rooms for investment bankers and private, climate-controlled gallery space to lure international art collectors.
Is Quantum Is The New Luxury?
￼￼The Muse Residences designed exclusively to Chopra’s integrative wellness specifications represent the first attempt to combine both of these accelerating trends with the third live rail in luxury real estate: the growing global demand for healthy, active living.
At first look it might seem like a stretch to co-brand an expert in quantum healing and alternative New Age medicine with a multi-million dollar oceanfront real estate development. The reality is that Chopra, Delos, PMG, and S2 may just be on to
￼something huge with the Chopra residences by targeting high net worth buyers with universal luxuries that appeal across geographic and cultural boundaries. Who doesn’t want pure air, water, light, sleep, silence, health, balance, and rejuvenation in a loud and complicated world?
￼￼“Wellness is relevant to everyone no matter where they live,” Chopra tells me. “How we metabolize, eat, sleep, work, meditate, focus. All of this has to do with our hormones, how our nerves are stimulated, our moods, and whether we are in alignment. It’s all connected. Since we spend so much time inside the best place to (realign all of) this is inside. The homes we live in can have a powerful effect on our physical and emotional wellbeing. Our residences will be the first to be designed focusing on being preventative from this standpoint."
In some real estate development C-suites you might already envision the smirking and eye rolling as Chopra makes his pitch. Green building still is often associated with a “feng shui premium” among many developers. Chopra himself also has been the target of a number of long-running feuds with other doctors and physicists about the accuracy
￼of his conclusions, the benefit of his therapies, and his underlying scientific credentials.
So it’s not surprising—as well as encouraging to the wider adoption and scaling up of wellness real estate globally—that Chopra, Delos, PMG, and S2 are designing their first wellness residences at Muse around measurable principles and technologies to meet Chopra’s integrative design criteria.
￼￼￼Paul Scialla, CEO and co-founder of Delos Wellness Real Estate. Courtesy of Delos
￼￼“We spend more than 90 percent of our time indoors, and 70% of indoor air in some places is worse than outdoor air,” says Paul Scialla, a former Goldman Sachs investment banker now Delos’ co-founder and CEO. “That is a fact. It’s also fact that things like natural daylight, fresh air exchange, ceiling height, and open flow design can make our interior environments more productive, sustainable, and livable. But green building for years has been focused more on building impact than biological impact. This project gave us the opportunity with Deepak to finally merge medical science with building science.”
Scialla points to the Chopra residences’ 24-hour Circadian lighting systems in particular, which were designed in Delos’ laboratories in conjunction with various universities and
￼medical institutions, as case in point.
“Light influences and stimulates our bodies’ nerves, cueing our bodily rhythms on when to wake up, eat, work, and sleep.” Scialla explains. “Well-designed combinations of day lighting and artificial light throughout the day can provide for optimal circadian alignment as well as be customized to suit an individual’s particular reactions to seasonal fluctuations in sunlight, mood, and weight gain.”
￼Every Chopra residence at the Muse will be equipped with advanced automated, full spectrum indoor lighting controls with the ability to adjust light temperature, hue, direction, lumens, and wave length to promote alignment with the body’s natural circadian rhythms, in turn helping to improve energy, productivity, mental acuity, sleep quality, and mood fluctuations throughout the day.
￼Wellness Is Becoming The New Luxury
The Muse Residences' principal developer, Kevin Maloney, CEO of Property Markets Group, was the biggest initial skeptic about the wellness residence concept regardless of the science behind it when Chopra and Scialla brought it to him. But he became a quick convert.
“The Muse is the first project where we’re incorporating branded real estate in any way,” Maloney tells me. “I used to laugh at it before. But then I saw that this project and what Deepak and Paul were envisioning specifically was about a lifestyle. It wasn’t just about having a car elevator, or a bowling alley, or a specific type of designer wall paper. It was
￼about enhancing the overall human experience every day by creating wellness residences that elevate the physical and emotional well being of the homeowners at Muse. It's also something that we can scale to other future projects in Miami as well as other markets with the partnership that we have.”
￼Chopra and Scialla are also feeling good about the partnership’s bet on the convergence of technology, medicine, luxury, real estate, and wellness and its potential to revolutionize real estate.
“I’m a big fan of technology,” says Chopra. “Where anecdotal stories used to never be good enough, now we can measure everything and prove everything. This brings credibility to what you may know from experience but you couldn't prove before. Working with partners like Delos we have the data now. The next extension to what we’re doing (at Muse) is smart homes where our sleep patterns and breathing patterns can be monitored, where the lighting patterns can change automatically based maintaining optimum productivity and mood throughout the day."
Scilla adds, “Every developer everywhere is looking to differentiate themselves in luxury real estate these days, especially in South Florida. What’s the next must have luxury or amenity? Who’s the next trendiest architect or interior designer? But wellness is the ultimate luxury. Energy-efficient buildings and biologically aligned design go hand in hand. That's ultimate expression of a holistic building. This isn’t just one project. This is
Muse Residences' other luxuries include the expected Miami luxury condominium amenities like an outdoor infinity edge pool with resort style food, a full fitness center with a sauna, automated parking, biometric technology, pet services, and customized Troy Dean interiors. Prices at Muse start at $5 million. The upper, full floor penthouse is currently listed for just under $20 million. The custom designed Chopra wellness residences will add a premium of a "few hundred thousands dollars".