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Developers roll out the red carpet to prospective buyers

What a great evening. The entertainment was riveting. The venue was engaging. The wine was superb. Sounds like I enjoyed a Broadway show or some black-tie gala. Not exactly. Recently, I attended One Inspired Evening, sponsored by One Charlotte (forty stories, ninety-nine units, 1,900 to 8,000 square feet) and the Cool Car Event at the Carolina Theatre, held by Encore (twenty stories, twenty units, 3,000 to 6,300 square feet).

Three years ago, when a new uptown condo project was automatic front-page news. But as dozens of projects have been announced—some opened, some delayed—each new one becomes just another fish in the sea of development. So, to make a splash, developers are becoming more creative to attract the attention of the media and, most importantly, prospective buyers.

To mark the opening of its sales gallery, One Charlotte hosted an evening at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, bringing in the renowned Pilobolus Dance Theatre as entertainment.

"When you have an asset as unique and stunning as One Charlotte, you really push your team to think outside of the box," says Jennifer Nevitt Casey, chief branding strategist for One Charlotte, which is being developed by Atlanta-based Portman Holdings. "We encourage them to do something that aligns with the property's brand. Sometimes it takes something the public hasn't seen."
Bringing in the dance company for one day was an expensive undertaking (representatives wouldn't disclose the cost), but Casey says it's paying dividends for the multimillion-dollar condos.

"From that event we have six [prospective buyers] whose interest climaxed after they really saw the kind of organization we are, that we're first rate. At this level, you can't just sell people something. They know their life. They don't want to be sold to. They want the experience."

The developers of Encore are offering quite an experience as well. The new project caught people's attention when floor plans revealed that each unit would come with a two- or four-car garage that is accessible by a car elevator. To showcase the concept, the developer, locally based Pursuit Group, rolled out the red carpet (literally) to the historic Carolina Theatre, which it is restoring and building its units above. Tours of the theater were given, and outside about a dozen luxury and sports cars (Maserati, Lamborghini, Porsche) were positioned drive-in-movie style in front of a movie being projected on the wall above.

More than 300 people paraded through the theater (including former NBA star Ralph Sampson, who was said to be a potential buyer), enjoying hors d'oeuvres and sipping champagne. About midway through the evening, the developers took the stage. Jim Donnelly explained what his team is hoping to accomplish with its ambitious new project. And after thanking everyone for coming out, he closed by saying that Encore "will be the one in Charlotte."

It's getting competitive.

Categories: Real Estate