Miraval Teams With Developer To Offer Urban Oasis

As the housing market begins to cool, developers are offering creative perks to potential buyers. One Upper East Side high rise apartment building has even partnered with the Tucson-based spa Miraval to entice buyers. It's not offering a free trip, rather a co-branded condo/spa lifestyle it calls Miraval Living. When renovations are completed, the 20-year-old Manhattan building is meant to be an urban oasis.

A favorite spa of media queen Oprah Winfrey, Miraval, with its "Life in Balance" mantra, might also be the spa of choice for New Yorkers. Unlike rival Canyon Ranch, which puts guests on a limited-calorie diet, guests at Miraval are prepared healthful meal choices, but can eat (and drink) as much as they want. In fact, wait staff generally advise guests to order two or three entrées if they can't make a choice ("they're small"), and decadent but low-fat-and-cal desserts are available at each meal -- without restriction.

In addition to the standard assortment of massages, yoga, Pilates, hikes and other physical activities, Miraval also stands out in its category for offering couples therapy and an assortment of photography, painting, crafts, and other eclectic classes on its premises.



Marketing of Miraval Living is in the early stages. A mailing from new Miraval CEO John Vanderslice to past resort guests who live in the greater New York City area was sent in October.

The spa's Web site flags Miravalliving.com, which omits prices, but shows the development, amenities and floor plans, and features images of the Upper East Side -- everything from Sotheby's to pictures of the skyline and East River. It also depicts less swanky neighborhood details such as a picture of a local liquor store, a crafts shop, and local Japanese, seafood and Italian restaurants.

Currently called River Terrace, the building has been a rental since it was built in 1986 and is being converted to condos by its new owners Zamir Equities and C&K Properties. They bought the building from the Macklowe Organization for $363 million in 2005.

Model units only became available for viewing last week, and owners can expect to move in starting in July, a Miraval rep says. Building renovations are currently underway to include a Zen garden, gym, yoga and Pilates studios, swimming pool, arts studio, climbing wall, spa services, dining options, and full-time spa staffers.

Apartment prices are in line with the rest of the neighborhood, said the rep, but the extra services (except spa services) are included in higher-than-normal maintenance charges, she said.

It might sound like residential utopia, but can overworked, stressed, and highly strung New Yorkers live in the spa mentality, walk around the lobby in a white terry robe, and enjoy "life in balance?"

A Miraval rep said it was the resort, not the developers, which initiated the venture because guests "want to live at the spa" and frequently ask how to translate the vacation life to real life. Also, a high concentration of Miraval visitors live in the Upper East Side's 10021 and 10019 zip codes, she said.

There are a few hundred units in the building to be called Miraval Living, located off the East River at 515 East 72nd Street. Ironically, it's just doors away from the building hit by Yankee team member Cory Liddle in his fatal plane crash last month.

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