Business & Economy

Developer spends $1 mn on mock-up to sell luxury apartments in Brazil

By Jon Martin Cullell

Sao Paulo, Jul 22 (EFE).- In a world that includes miniature buildings that are vastly more expensive than many actual homes, it should come as no surprise that the company behind a new luxury development here in Brazil’s largest city recently unveiled a $1 million scale model of the complex.

Covering 170 sq m (1,827 sq ft), the mock-up of Parque Global features balconies with plants, rooms filled with designer furniture, and swimming pools where the water appears to move.

The model, which took two months to build, helps the prospective buyer imagine what they will get for the price of a unit in one of the five, 47-story residential towers.

The Brazilian subsidiary of The Related Group, a Miami-based developer, is asking up to 18 million reais ($3.7 million/3.3 million euros) for apartments in Parque Global.

Sao Paulo, which ranks ninth on Swiss private bank Julius Baer’s 2023 list of “most expensive cities for living well,” has seen a dramatic expansion in construction of luxury housing that has also spurred the development of a model-building industry including dozens of firms.

It is rare for any developer catering to Brazil’s super-rich not to have an impressive mock-up at the sales office.

The company that made the model of Parque Global, Adhemir Fogassa, was established 50 years ago and has a large workshop near Sao Paulo staffed by more than 100 people, including architects, engineers, and interior decorators.

In a typical year, the workshop turns out some 300 models for a median price of 100,000 reais ($21,000) and sales are growing at an annual rate of nearly 15 percent, owner Fabio Fogassa says.

“The idea of a model is to generate excitement in the person who is going to buy a house,” he tells EFE, insisting that what his firm does is “an art.”

In one corner of the workshop, a 3D printer is transforming fine threads of plastic into a helicopter – common among moguls in Sao Paulo – that will soon takes its place at the heliport in the model of the Quinta da Baroneza, which bills itself as Brazil’s finest luxury development in a rural setting.

The Quinta mock-up is awaiting only the addition of a plastic puppy on the synthetic grass, a request of one of the investors.

Shop foreman Daniel Marson shakes his head incredulously as he gazes at the model.

“Brazil and Sao Paulo are unusual: here the rich travel by helicopter and drive Lamborghinis,” he says.

Adhemir Fogassa has produced models for around 70 percent of the new residential complexes on the banks of Sao Paulo’s Pinheiros River, Marson says.

Now, both developers and model-makers are gearing up for an expected boom facilitated by a decline in interest rates and the enactment of controversial municipal ordinances eliminating height limits on buildings in Sao Paulo. EFE jmc/dr

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