Real estate developer Craig Wood is betting on connecting New Yorkers with local businesses to meet their desire for convenience. Wood is the CEO of Cape Advisors, the team behind a newly launched 530-unit rental building called Astoria West.The apartment is adjacent to the East River in New York City Autonomous Region Queens..
Residents with luxurious facilities such as a rooftop pool, coworking space and golf simulation can relax at home. Cape Advisor will then partner with a local company to provide services such as yoga, dog walking, and bicycle repair directly to the building.
In 2020, Wood launched this type of service in one of the other condominium developments, Greenwich West, on Charlton Street in West SoHo, Manhattan. From there, more common services such as florists, music instructors, and dry cleaners expanded to 30 Warren in Tribeca and other Cape Advisors condos on 10011th Avenue in West Chelsea. Wood says bridging residents to local businesses will improve the housing experience.
As a developer, Mansion Global has caught up with Wood to find out more about why he prioritizes establishing a sense of place over following design trends.
Mansion Global: Your development caters to amenity lovers. Tell us more about the “Select” program that curates the services of local businesses.
Craig Wood: When we consider doing a new building or project, we are working to make it cohesive and give it a sense of place.We are doing this now [with Astoria West] And we did a lot of other things. You want people to feel better when they return to their apartment, their condo or their home. You want them to feel like they’re coming home. We are building partnerships with local companies that provide professional services to our tenants. This is a project in Soho, a project in Tribeca, and now, as we are talking about, in Astoria. We join a group of pre-scrutinized vendors and other people to provide our services. This can be anything from florists, tribeca sommeliers, dog walking services, music lessons to dry cleaners and other ordinary things.
MG: Does this benefit apply equally to rental and ownership opportunities? What is the reason?
CW: Of course. I’m doing it for this rental project in Astoria. It’s part of the overall service and experience we’re trying to inject into the property. Whether it’s for sale or for rent, people still need these services and they prefer to have something easy and handpicked for them. It helps with the experience of the neighborhood and the credibility of the place.
MG: Do you follow other design trends regarding built-in amenities?
CW: Throughout our career, we have worked with high-end architects and designers. The most successful will return to the sense of this neighborhood. They integrate the sense of place into the building, along with outdoor spaces and other design elements. Bringing the outdoors indoors is something we’ve been doing for years. For example, Astoria West has a large green roof of over an acre. A few years ago, Sag Harbor had more than two acres of rooftop greenery. Bringing light and air into an apartment creates a much more luxurious sensation than spending a lot of money on finishing a fashionable moment.
MG: Please tell us more about the rooftop greening of Astoria buildings.
CW: There is a large courtyard surrounded by three buildings. The courtyard is well maintained and has different levels. There is a roof with trees on it, probably 40,000 square feet overlooking the building. We did it so that basically every apartment has good light and air. In New York, backward-facing units can be more challenging in light, air, and green spaces compared to street-facing units. We turned it around. With stunning views of rivers, bridges, Long Island City and Manhattan, there is a soothing oasis here.
MG: What features and aspects were cut when running a shared outdoor space?
CW: [At Astoria West]There are various social spaces on the rooftop and courtyard. There is an outdoor workout area and other outdoor spaces outside the party and function rooms. There is a large coworking space where you can go in and out, and you can work inside and outside. There is a grill area and a pool with river views. Other areas are more meditative. We try to create different places that people can use in different ways and make it easier for people to experience it.
MG: From your experience in housing development, is there a combination of equipment and locations to move from your current home on the Upper East Side to another part of the city?
CW: I have to talk to my wife and daughter about that. I’m probably no different from most people. If it’s fair, you settle in your way. We take great pride in the project and continue to work on it even after it is finished. I don’t know if I will move. We have settled down as a family.There is an apartment on the Upper East Side and a house on Sag Harbor [on Long Island] What we love.
MG: What defines luxury for you?
CW: I’m back to where I started: it’s the sense of place, the comfort, the cohesiveness of the design, and everything else. People want to live in a place that makes them feel good. When you enter it, it looks and feels right. It feels like your home. You spend a tough day at work, go home, your blood pressure drops, and you feel like you’re home. In many cases it is difficult to achieve. Many buildings try it and don’t. In my opinion, it’s a luxury. You need something that looks and functions well, but it’s not just about spending money. It’s about that cohesive feel overall.
This interview was edited for length and clarity