How one developer is anticipating his residents’ every need
As I approach the entrance to the Four Seasons Residences, on the corner of Park Place and Church Street in Lower Manhattan, the door swings open and a friendly doorman greets me and asks me who I am there to see. When I tell him it’s Adora Manalo, the director of residences at the building, he smiles broadly.
“Welcome, we’ve been expecting you!” he says.
Entering the impeccably-designed lobby, I’m greeted by a few more friendly faces, and then I meet Manalo, who is on the phone at the concierge desk, speaking about an upcoming showing of the building’s model unit.
This well-oiled machine at 30 Park Place is designed to make everyone feel good, through personalized care and attention to detail. The staff is trained to be able to answer any question they may have about the neighborhood, the building, even troubleshooting their apartments’ appliances.
Right down to having a spare cup of sugar if you need it, Manalo is the epitome of your best next door neighbor.
“People understand what it’s like to stay at a Four Seasons, but to actually live in a property that is a Four Seasons, we want it to be the same and seamless,” said Manalo.
It’s all part of the Four Seasons brand, which prides itself on it’s high quality of hospitality. Any need that residents have, there is a staff of 17 dedicated to helping them fill it.
Developed by Silverstein Properties and designed by legendary architect Robert A.M. Stern, 30 Park Place is a luxury hotel and luxury condo building combined into one.
“We really make sure the services of the hotel are in sync with the needs of our owners,” Manalo told Broker’s Weekly in an interview on the 70th floor of 30 Park Place. Daily housekeeping, engineering services in-house, room service from the same menu offered in the hotel, available 24 hours a day to residents, and runner services are all available to owners at the Residences.
With a team of residential service attendants dedicated to the owners, including bellman, doorman, and concierge, any needs that residents have, from helping with luggage and groceries to helping find a nearby hair salon, Manola makes sure no request goes unmet.
“It’s really anything and everything but we really want to make sure we’re looking out in the best interest of owners,” said Manalo about the different kinds of requests they receive. “And if things needs to be tweaked I talk with my hotel colleagues and see what things we can do to make it more service-oriented for owners.”
Manalo came to the position from her hometown of Chicago, where she held a similar position as a resident manager at a condo building. She has spent years working in different condo buildings, fine-tuning the resident experience, which often involves learning to think outside the box.
Since it’s still early in the life of 30 Park Place, and many of the current residents are still prepping their apartments and haven’t moved in yet, Manalo hasn’t had that many requests by residents to share.
However, in one building in Chicago, she pioneered a bike valet for residents, which was well-received. In another, a hotel-residences hybrid like 30 Park Place, she had one resident ask her to help them book a hotel room at 11 p.m. at night for family coming in town – they were arriving in 30 minutes.
“You just make it happen,” she said.
She did admit that she’s gotten phone calls in the middle of the night, but it was usually due to a water leak issue – what she described as a common issue in high-rise buildings.
Manalo was hired on to the project in mid-January of this year and was first hand in hiring and training all of the staff, which they did while still operating out of the sales center at 7 World Trade Center.
“We worked a lot with Silverstein Properties for various operational things and they have been outstanding partners,” she said. “They’re really in sync with the Four Seasons in terms of the vision we want to have for property.”
While still training the staff, Manalo even took them on field trips to get to know the neighborhood, so they could be able to answer any questions and offer recommendations to residents. Among their stops were Brookfield Place and a walking trip across Brooklyn Bridge to Grimaldi’s, where they even made sure to note how long it took to cross the bridge.
The staff moved into 30 Park Place in April, and so far, there are about 25 current residents in the building, and they are expecting the rest of the apartments – there are 157 in total – to be filled soon.
Once the amenity floor is complete, Manalo will have an office there that she will work out of. The 38th floor will have a screening room, a children’s playroom, a conservatory, a lounge, a fitness room, a dining room and a catering kitchen.
The one amenity that is shared between the 189-room Four Seasons hotel and the Residences, is the indoor swimming pool, located on the spa floor of the hotel. Residents will have their own changing rooms for the spa and their own entrance, so they don’t have to transfer elevators and go through the hotel. There is also an interior connection to the hotel from the residents’ lobby.
Making sure residents needs are met starts early in the process, when a resident has a contract out for the unit. Manalo makes sure the staff makes a point to greet a purchaser in the lobby, by name, and she makes time to sit down with them and start a dialogue about what their needs are.
“A lot of times I’ve talked to them maybe through phone or email and now it’s about meeting them in person,” she said. “I’ll sit down with them and find out any of their needs before they close. Are they moving right away? Are they not? Are they looking to do some work? How can I help them before they close.”
The hotel officially opened September 19, as well as the restaurant inside the hotel, Wolfgang Puck’s CUT. The scaffolding was also finally removed, as the building is finally just about complete.
“It’s really opened up the whole sidewalk and brought light to the building,” said Manalo. “I think what we’ve done having this property in the area really just changes the whole landscape.