How developers are using cafes in display suites to attract apartment buyers

If you’re thinking about buying an off-the-plan apartment, one of the ways to visualise what it will look like is to visit the display suite. While previously display suites were little more than a demountable with a couple of placards, these days much more thought goes into making them a sensory experience for potential purchasers.

While unusual, there are instances of people visiting a display suite and buying on the spot. That’s what happened with property development company Thirdi Group at one of its Sydney-based projects – something they’re attributing in part to their innovative display suite experience.

Thirdi’s marketing and sales director Luke Berry cites a couple that visited its development 88onRegent display suite in Redfern without even realising it was a display suite due to its innovative inclusion of a fully functioning cafe.

Jonathan Richards (right), pictured with Kirsten Stanisich of SJB, says it is worthwhile for developers to build a display suite to help showcase their end product.Jonathan Richards (right), pictured with Kirsten Stanisich of SJB, says it is worthwhile for developers to build a display suite to help showcase their end product. Photo: SJB Interiors

“They came in just to have breakfast at the 88onRegent Pop Up cafe we installed as part of the suite,” he says. “But they had a look around and fell in love with it. They signed an expression of interest and a couple of hours later they called back and said they wanted to buy it.”

Berry says the cafe addition to their 88onRedfern suite was born from a desire to make buyers feel more comfortable and relaxed while visiting, and removing the dry, sales atmosphere traditionally associated with display suites.

While buying on the spot is unusual, it underpins the role display suites play in influencing sales.

Buyers at the launch of Barangaroo apartments in 2013.Buyers at the launch of Barangaroo apartments in 2013. Photo: Jacky Ghossein

“Some developments sell just using CGIs (computer generated images),” says Jonathan Richards, director of interiors with architects SJB. “But for developments that have a unique perspective, are design focused and architecturally led, it’s worthwhile to build a display suite. It demonstrates to the purchasers how great the spaces will be and sometimes you can’t get this across just by using floor plans.”

Richards adds that display suites also show the confidence a developer has in building what they will finally construct. “With buying off-the-plan there are certain vagaries around what you are going to get,” he says. “If you just buy from a floor plan it could be interpreted in many ways. A display suite demonstrates what the architecture and interiors will be like; it’s locked in and people know what to expect.”

The display suite for Thirdi’s latest luxury Sydney development – the Paragon of Pyrmont, comprising 21 premium residences and 10 luxury apartments – aims to give the target market a complete sensory experience.

A couple came in to the dining space at 88onRegent's display suite just to have breakfast and later that day bought one of the apartments.A couple came in to the dining space at 88onRegent’s display suite just to have breakfast and later that day bought one of the apartments. Photo: Thirdi Group

“The type of person who will buy into the Paragon of Pyrmont is accustomed to being treated in a certain way so what we provide within our display suite reflects this,” Berry says. “From the type of food and wine and how visitors are greeted on arrival. By building something that is beautiful you are respecting your purchaser.”

At 108 Miller Street and opened on June 10, the Paragon of Pyrmont display suite has an accompanying bar, Prosecco, operated by the team behind gourmet pizza franchise, Made in Italy.

Berry believes the display suite is playing a greater role in influencing people’s purchasing decisions.

A bar and dining room is part of a new Pyrmont development's display suite.A bar and dining room is part of a new Pyrmont development’s display suite. Photo: Esteban La Tessa

“Traditionally, display suites were quite sterile,” he says. “They were also environments where people knew they were going to be sold to and felt under pressure. Now they offer ‘experiences’. For example, we incorporate food and beverage vendors in ours and add music to create an experience where there is less pressure on the visitor.”

Berry says people can come in and grab a drink or something to eat and wander around the display at leisure. “It’s a more relaxed atmosphere and if you build a very good offering, people get a sense of what it’s like to live in the area.”

Creating the right atmosphere is a crucial part of the display suite. Richards says when his company is engaged to build one, a lot of thought goes into what the design should feel like.

Paragon of Pyrmont will have 21 premium residences and 10 luxury apartments.Paragon of Pyrmont will have 21 premium residences and 10 luxury apartments. Photo: Esteban La Tessa

“We put a lot of effort into selecting materials and resolving details and making sure every project we do is unique and special to suit that client,” he says. “When a potential purchaser visits a display suite I want them to sense the magic of the design that we have produced.”

He adds that hopefully the buyers love it enough to buy an apartment. “But the first thing I want to do is convey all the effort we’ve put into the design and hope it comes across in a way that will influence their decision.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *