Italian Luxury Furniture Maker Giorgetti's First Branded Condo Project Breaks Ground In Houston
The high-end style and time-tested craftsmanship of Italian luxury furniture-maker Giorgetti has inspired the form, function, finishes— and lifestyle—for an entire condo development.
A mid-rise, Giorgetti Houston broke ground May 15 in the Upper Kirby District, an area of upscale retail, restaurants, galleries and neighborhoods located four miles west of downtown. The boutique-style residential building-to-be is Giorgetti's first-ever branded real estate project and is a collaboration with Mirador Group, a Houston-based architecture and interior design firm; developer Stolz Partners of Atlanta; and Sudhoff Companies, a property sales, marketing and consulting venture in Houston.
Giorgetti has previously partnered on projects with hotels (such as the $24 million penthouse in New York's Plaza Hotel), yachts, celebrity residences and royal palaces, but not rolled out a development of its own. And while other examples of branded properties are tied to luxury goods—by the likes of Armani/Casa, Versace, Porsche, Baccarat and Bulgari—they’re not integrated into the overall design from the start, said Jacob Sudhoff, CEO of the company bearing his name.
At the groundbreaking ceremony, developer Will Stolz said the project’s integration of form and function was an intriguing approach when it was first pitched three years ago by Sudhoff and Mirador Group architect and co-principal Jerry Hooker.
Stolz said he welcomed the project's fresh approach: “As developers, we sometimes get stale in what we do. We go with the familiar.”
Hooker’s design of the building’s exterior was inspired by Giorgetti’s "Orgami" cabinet, a piece displaying the maker's use of unusual shapes, mix of maple and walnut, and combination of metal, marble and leather.
“We reverse-engineered it,” Sudhoff said. Look closely at the building façade, for example, to see how it not only incorporates and interprets the geometry of Giorgetti pieces but spells out the company name in a binary code of brick and coursing.
Giovanni de Vecchio, managing director of Giorgetti, said the condo development partners share the same passion, vision and love for the brand and the cultured lifestyle it creates. He said he never could have imagined such an integrated project was possible—until it was proposed so convincingly by Hooker and Sudhoff.
Sudhoff later explained how they took their integrated brand idea, complete with conceptual renderings, to the venerable company.
Giorgetti Houston's site is nearly an acre and framed by a canopy of live oak trees nearly a century old. Mark Reed, E.E. Reed Construction president, said their presence is an important asset and that every effort will be made to keep them intact, including the help of an arborist.
By the numbers, the 40,000-square-foot building will have seven floors and 32 flats, including four penthouses. The units are priced between $1.4 million and $3.4 million.
As condos go, the floor plans are larger than most condos elsewhere in the Houston, Hooker said, with units sized from 2,700 to 6,800 square feet, ceilings of 10 or 12 feet, and covered balconies of 500 to 2,000 square feet to accommodate outdoor living.
Among the upgrades is an option for an “atmosphere unit,” which is fully furnished with Giorgetti pieces to deliver a “seamlessly branded residence.” Other units and common areas will have the company’s custom-fabricated cabinetry, lighting and accessories.
Houston’s condo market has matured and shifted in the past decade, Sudhoff said, and it’s still an emerging one. As in other major cities, rising land prices, particularly closer to downtown, have prompted higher density development. (Here, townhomes took that to a higher level, literally, with four-story units.)
Meanwhile, there is a plethora of buyers who are empty nesters (both ones still working and retired) who are seeking a less complicated housing option, whether in terms of a one-level floor plan or a lock-and-leave lifestyle. Sudhoff said those who are downsizing still want high quality and space equal to the rooms they're using. Translation: Lose the unused bedrooms.
Construction of Giorgetti Houston is slated for completion in 2019. The project is 50% pre-sold.
Giorgetti is a 120-year-old company. The Giorgetti name is familiar to the 1% of the 1%, Sudhoff said. The condos are opening up that exposure to what is a market he candidly described as "the other 99% of the 1%."
And not just in Houston, he said. The pioneering integrated concept could become part of a series of similarly branded properties around the world.
In February, Giorgetti launched its first non-corporate brand store in a new venture by co-owners Sudhoff and Hooker called CASA, located a half-block away in the mixed-use center called West Avenue. The 10,000-square-foot retail and design resource carries a curated collection of select high-end brands and caters to developers, builders, designers and homeowners.