By Sarah Trefethen
When it comes to service and amenities, Daria Salusbury likes to keep ahead of the rental-market curve.
“Who knew that I absolutely needed an iPod before apple created the iPod?” she said. “You have to think creatively and you have to think outside the box.”
The head of Related’s luxury rental division has been with the company for almost all of her real estate career.
From giving tenants the opportunity to pay their rent by credit card back in 2003 to the recent decision to ban smoking in all their buildings, Salusbury said, it’s Related’s progressive thinking that has earned her years of loyalty.
“I absolutely love what I do,” she said.
Salusbury oversees approximately 40 people across the country and works closely with the development, design and marketing teams to bring leasing strategy into the earliest planning stages of a new building.
At 500 Lakeshore Drive in Chicago — Related’s first rental in the Windy City — the team spent two years considering how finishes, fixtures and amenities could best appeal to the company’s target tenants, Salusbury said.
“To whom are we marketing, what kind of look and feel do we want? What sort of lifestyle do we envision for this building — what kind of personality?”
All that thought seems to be paying off. Less than two months after the start of leasing, 150 of the 500 units are rented.
The project has won praise in Chicago for its large and carefully designed lobby, floor full of amenities and sweeping views of Lake Michigan.
“It’s all about the lifestyle that we create for our residents,” Salusbury said.
At MiMa in Midtown, which launched early last year, amenities include a basketball court, and a large, rooftop screen where residents were able to watch the NBA playoffs.
The basketball court was inspired by the success of a half-court at another Related building.
Other innovative amenities include a special concierge who helps residents deal with technology problems — a kind of in-house IT staff for their personal computers — and a service that will provide emergency pet care, such as feeding a dog if the owner is unexpectedly away.
Related also has a relatively generous policy on dogs, allowing canine tenants of up to 50 pounds.
“It was very evident to me over the past several years that dogs were people’s families,” Salusbury said. “I thought, we really need to be much more progressive. We need to go out there and embrace this submarket … if your dog is your family, lets be reasonable about it.”
Salusbury has lived in the same Upper West Side apartment since 1986. She has one son, now 24. she also has a house in Millbrook, N.Y., where she enjoys horseback riding. She also likes to run.
She grew up in Philadelphia and studied film and television production at Temple University. She met her former husband in Boston and they moved together to New York. She had been working as a broker in Boston, and began working with Related as a consultant in the 80s. In 1992, she joined the company full-time and brought the Monterey, on the Upper East Side, to market.
All of Related’s rental buildings are like children to her, Salusbury said when asked if she had a favorite project. She also enjoys helping younger real estate professionals get a leg up in their careers.
“Being in a very progressive, entrepreneurial environment, it really gives you the space to not only spread your own professional wing but also to mentor others,” she said.