26 sep 16  |  Mansion Global

For Adrian Smith, An Architect Known for Sky-High Towers, Beauty is a ‘Priority’

by Lucy Cohen Blatter

Why he thinks Dubai has serious resale value

Adrian Smith, founder of Chicago-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture designs record-setting structures. In addition to the Central Park Tower (a.k.a. Nordstrom Tower), which is rising at 225 West 57th St. in Manhattan, and will be the city’s tallest tower when completed in 2019, his firm is also responsible for the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which at 2,722 feet high is the world’s tallest building. They’re also the ones behind the Jeddah Tower currently under construction in Saudi Arabia. If that goes as planned, it will rise over 3,280 feet, debunking Burj Khalifa. We caught up with Mr. Smith about what’s new in the luxury market, the next hub for luxury properties and much more.

Mansion Global: Describe your dream property.

Adrian Smith: I don’t really have a dream property because there are so many unique and beautiful places to be in this world. I love mountain views, desert views and water views. I like being high in a building but also close to the ground as well. I prefer a modern minimalist property with lots of land and water. Simplicity and refinement is wonderful, but so is old and beautifully detailed. I most like ocean side living with white sand beaches and sunset views.

MG: Do you have a real estate property that got away?

AS: Yes, one a few years ago. A beautiful brick courtyard house with French gardens and steep sloped slate roofs on a hillside property in the town I live in (Lake Forest, Illinois).

MG: What does luxury mean to you?

AS: Beauty, utility and durability, with service.

MG: What area do you think is the next hub for luxury properties?

AS: Cuba, if they change their system.

MG: What’s the biggest surprise in the luxury real estate market now?

AS: The desire to have all things at your fingertips, towers with elevators to take your car to your own floor, swimming pools on all levels, large safes within each unit, indoor-outdoor living and trees outside the window of your penthouse on the 100th floor.

MG: Where are the best luxury homes in the world and why?

AS: The greatest cities on Earth have some of the most luxurious homes because access to culture, theater, restaurants, entertainment, parks and great places to work establish where people want to be. With a strong location comes people with money that can afford the luxuries that money can buy. London, New York, Paris, Rome, Dubai, and Tokyo all contain great luxury homes and great things to do.

MG: Favorite part of your home?

AS: The kitchen. I like to cook and eat.

MG: What best describes the theme to your home and why?

AS: Eclectic. I live in an old home but like modern design, so I try to have these things work together. The same is true for my art. I like great things, well-conceived and well executed with beauty as my priority.

MG: Most valuable thing in your home?

AS: Probably my cars. I am a small-time collector with a Ferrari, Lamborghini and Bentley Mulsanne Speed.

MG: What’s the most valuable amenity to have in a home right now?

AS: A great communication system.

MG: Best piece of real estate advice?

AS: Buy low, sell high!

MG: What’s going on in the news that will have the biggest impact on the luxury real estate market?

AS: The U.S. election.

MG: What is the best area now for investing in luxury properties?

AS: This answer depends on your priorities. In general I would say well established areas with great architecture, natural features and great climate.

MG: If you had a choice of living in a new development or a prime resale property, which would you choose and why?

AS: New development if I controlled the quality, location, design and neighborhood.

MG: What area currently has the best resale value?

AS: Probably places like Dubai, where in the beginning there was vision but not a lot to show for it. Then the vision became a reality, prices skyrocketed and the city blossomed and flourished.