Posted by Leonard Steinberg on August 12th, 2011

As the political climate shifts to a more conservative stance, and the almost certainty that Rick Perry will be the next USA president, the super-wealthy will continue to seek out homes within communities that protect and separate them from the increasingly volatile outside world.

These gilded, gated communities are more obviously visible in Florida, California, Texas and Hawaii, usually featuring elegantly ornate gates with security protecting the inhabitants from the masses. In Manhattan, this country club mentality was taken to the extremes in picky co-ops such as Riverhouse, 740 Park Avenue and One Beekman where wealth alone does not secure entry. Now with buildings such as 15 Central Park West, The Time Warner Center and other high end condominiums, the old fashioned exclusionary co-op policies seem somewhat out of vogue, even though many of these buildings would probably love to institute  stricter ‘admissions boards’ to keep out the riff-raff….lets face it, with the world celebrating and rewarding the likes of Snookie, wouldn’t it be nice to choose your neighbors?

The divide between the extremely wealthy and the poor will probably continue to grow. Those few individuals capable of amassing wealth through either extreme brilliance, hard work, luck or corruption, will want an environment that caters to their needs seamlessly. One Hyde Park in London is the perfect example of a building delivering that cocooned lifestyle becoming increasingly more desirable around the globe in major world centers……inclusive of bullet proof windows to keep the angry London rioters at bay?

I believe the trend to emerge out of this will be some gated community’ buildings that do not appear that way, where those living in them would be somewhat embarrassed to admit the need for the lifestyle. Because many people entering into this new wealth will have no clue about style or taste (think Snookie!) these buildings will have to deliver on every level, proposing a quality of life this buyer aspires to but would have no idea how to create:  If Ralph Lifshitz could create the RALPH LAUREN uber-wasp lifestyle from A to Z, anything is possible! Security will be a growing concern, along with the staffing, swimming pool and high end gym. With the wealthy world fleeing towards quality in everything (Think the success of Hermes), the quality of these buildings from the design to the finishes to the construction to the mechanical systems will have to be of the very highest order, or they will fail.

Hundreds of apartments in this genre will be coming to the Manhattan market over the course of the next few months and years as the global economy grows (even though what is happening now is a bit scary, over the next 5 years we can be certain there will be growth). Developers who deliver an A-grade product will be handsomely rewarded. And those that deliver A-grade quality in a less obviously glitzy setting will attract the younger wealthy who don’t want to appear too ostentatious. In fact, the concept of a gated community is horrific to this buyer.

Maybe the Countess on Bravo’s The REAL Housewives of New York is wrong when she sings “Money can’t buy you class”? Leonard Steinberg sings:  “We will design, create and sell class”……for a price, of course!