This week I explore a new integrated-wellness living concept from The Well, a wellness social club that brings its concept to a new suite of Miami condominiums. Scroll down to use Glossy+ Comments, allowing the Glossy+ community to join discussions around industry topics.
In today’s wellness-oriented climate and luxe living accommodations, having a gym in-building is no longer cutting it.
New real estate is transforming based on a new focus on integrating wellness into apartments and homes, rather than traditional amenities like gyms or concierges serving as add-ons. A shining example of this new take on wellness-oriented living is a real estate partnership between The Well and Miami real estate developer Terra Group. The Well is part of a new class of wellness social clubs, similar to Remedy Place, Sage + Sound and Gaia NoMaya, that have popped up in response to evolving social dynamics like Dry January or biohacking.
The project, called The Well Bay Harbour Islands Residences, breaks ground this month, with plans to open a 250,000-square-foot residence and office building in Dec. 2024. It includes 22,000 square feet of wellness amenity spaces like a wellness center, social space, outdoor juice café, 7,000 square feet of interior gardens, and two rooftops with pools and thermal baths. The wellness center’s services include Miami’s first caldarium, a halotherapy steam room, cold plunge, IV vitamin therapy and an Infrared Sound Dome for sound healing. Fifty-four condominiums are for sale starting at $1.2 million, plus 100,000 square feet of luxury office space is being offered for rent. Residents can access a full-time wellness concierge, in-home plant design and maintenance and local organic CSA delivery, plus can partake of an energy-clearing ceremony when moving in. Residents can also access The Well for the latest wellness tech, including infrared blankets, lymph boots and MRI via TheraBeam.
Kane Sarhan, co-founder and CCO of The Well, said it was always anticipated that The Well could plug into different real estate types beyond its five standalone locations in places like New York and Costa Rica, such as hotels. The Well currently partners with hospitality groups like the 1 Hotel in Miami Beach and Auberge Resorts. Still, the Terra Group building in Miami is the first of its kind. Sarhan noted that The Well receives approximately three weekly inquiries about wellness-integrated properties and developments.
“The idea [behind The Well] was to create clubs and destinations that make it easy for people to integrate wellness into their lives and make it part of their social fabric so that taking care of themselves is part of their every day,” said Sarhan.
It is generally well-accepted that Covid-19 spurred rapid awareness around what living well means in a world beset by disease, illness, and working almost always indoors. It is also known that working from home long-term has stretched work into more typical personal hours and free time, according to an Oct. 2020 story from WSJ. Such newer trends intersect with other modern concerns and complaints, such as the pressures of contemporary parenting coupled with a lack of time. In May 2022, The New York Times covered a report finding that 66% of working parents meet the criteria for parental burnout. “The nonclinical term means they are so exhausted by the pressure of caring for their children, they feel they have nothing left to give,” according to The New York Times.
The promise of The Well’s new residences is not just about having wellness services available nearby but ultimately about reclaiming time for oneself or one’s family. Though not directly advertised as such, it is not hard to imagine how the plant caregiver, automatic grocery (CSA) delivery, access to a 24-hour concierge and full-size gym, and suite of relaxing spa services could assist in cumulative ways to saving time and restoring mental energy. Strong ties to friends and family, along with frequent social activity, has shown to prolong longevity and contribute to a better quality of life. That’s not to mention that the decades-long decline in domestic servants, a former fixture of even middle-class life, is a key reason people feel overwhelmed by responsibilities.
“We’re seeing consumers’ need and want to have things within their home, or employees [at their companies], that help them feel better, healthier and happier. They also want to be more peaceful, in order to be more productive and accomplish more,” said David Martin, CEO of Terra Group. “The only time you [receive similar services] is in a hotel, but then you have to deal with the transient nature of the hotel.”
There is evidence of a growing interest in integrated wellness features in a domestic setting, particularly around circadian rhythm-friendly lighting, air and water filtration, and noise reduction. People from nearly one in four households in the U.S. expressed concerns over their home negatively impacting their health, with air and water quality cited as top concerns. At the same time, two-thirds of homeowners believe that the right housing environment could cut their annual out-of-pocket medical costs by up to 40%. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also states that Americans, on average, spend 90% of their day indoors, only amplifying how impactful a better home or office space is to individual well-being.
“Everybody is health- and wellness-focused. Many [health] claims are being made, and some aren’t validated. Information has to be substantive and fact-based to move the needle,” said Peter Scialla, president and COO of Delos, a wellness and technology firm founded in 2012. Delos aims to make homes healthier by installing a system that monitors and controls a property’s air and water quality, and lighting.
Delos is also the founder of the Well Building Standard, the world’s largest certification platform for healthy buildings. The Well Certification is administered by the International Well Building Institute, a wholly-owned, independently governed subsidiary of Delos. Delos, IWBI and its various programs and certifications are not affiliated with The Well or its Terra Group residency project.
The Well Certification has focused solely on B2B buildings such as offices, multifamily buildings, shopping centers, government buildings and hospitality groups. Aside from addressing employee or client wellness desires, businesses have also been motivated by achieving environmental, social and governance goals by implementing wellness features such as better air quality and water filtration. But Covid-19 appears to be the primary driver still. In 2019, 600 million square feet of building space had been enrolled in some IWBI offering or program. As of this year, that has grown to over 4 billion square feet, across more than 120 countries and over 40,000 locations.
By the end of the year, however, The Well Certification will offer new certifications and standards for single-family homes. A Meyers Research survey shows nearly 40% of millennials and 35% of Gen X home shoppers have expressed their desire for in-home health and wellness features.
“In the past, the focus on upsells or [getting] a premium price were things like marble countertops or kitchen cabinetry. We’re seeing that get deprioritized, in favor of valid health and wellness interventions that are real and practical,” said Scialla.
The expansion of wellness-integrated living to single-family homes is poised to be the next chapter, following the years-long focus on B2B buildings. According to the National Bureau for Economic Research, certain features like clean air and smart home upgrades can increase property value, and homebuyers are demonstrating a willingness to pay more for spaces that can improve their health and wellness. IWBI also earns money on its certification offering. The Well Certification enrollment fee is $2,500, plus $0.16 per square foot, capping out at $98,000.
Janera Soerel, senior director of global market development real estate at the International Well Building Institute, said building owners or institutional investors behind real estate portfolios are also interested in integrated wellness precisely for this reason, on top of the need to address ESG requirements. She added that the biggest markets for multifamily buildings seeking certification and standards are China, Brazil and the U.S.
Kelsey Mullen, Well Residential lead at International Well Building Institute, said the IWBI’s upcoming certification and standards for single-family homes will apply to all housing types, not just luxury. An existing health safety rating from IWBI has already been adopted by affordable housing communities like those owned by Avanath Capital Management, as well as senior living facilities.
“[Home] buyer awareness will begin to translate into expectation and demand by the homeowner or renter, to the builders and developers, to produce homes that have wellness qualities and these characteristics,” said Mullen.
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