The Daily News' Jason Sheftell files a thorough and highly entertaining story today on one of our favorite buildings, 184 Kent, providing a good summary of the famed Williamsburg waterfront structure's path from grocery warehouse to hipster lofts to controversial landmark candidate to aborted condo conversion to... (drumroll) new luxury rentals! We've already had a look inside the place, so how's the leasing going? "More than 80 leases signed" in the 339-unit building so far at prices starting around $1,900 per month, and the developer is flirting with offering a penthouse rental at $30,000 per month. Sheftell also digs deep into the building's offbeat marketing blitz, which includes the Jersey Shore-ish Rent on Kent van and a faux dating site. What's with all the shtick? Something about artists, grit and distancing 184 Kent from its neighbors at Northside Piers.
The campaign was orchestrated by boutique Soho ad firm Dune Road, which has recently worked on more buttoned-up buildings, like the Upper East Side's Manhattan House and Miraval Living. Here's how they explain their 184 Kent strategy:
"Williamsburg is the next great artistic neighborhood," says Richards, who runs Dune Road with Jim Anderson. "It's where the creative class comes to roost. That hipster thing is an old cliché. This building is as authentic as Williamsburg can produce. It’s old neighborhood meets new neighborhood, grit meets luxury. That's what we wanted to convey."Wait, hipsters aren't part of the creative class? So who is? Wall Streeters, it seems, because that's where the Rent on Kent van has been patrolling. More on that and the building's luxury-but-not-stodgy vibe:"We want to put the word out there in the right place," says Richards, who credits Dune Road copywriter Brendon McLaughlin with writing and directing the short films. "This is the real Williamsburg as opposed to Toll Brothers buildings right next-door that have no relation to the area at all."The "real Williamsburg" includes rooftop sun decks, valet parking and 24-hour concierge service? No wonder the longtime locals were pissed when word finally got out!
· Rent on Kent: Dose of authenticity at huge rental building drives biz on Williamsburg waterfront [NYDN]
· 184 Kent [rentonkent.com]
· 184 Kent coverage [Curbed]