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Delos wellness properties in New York can cost up to US$50m, but the company may expand into mid-level rentals

Clinic can come back with a more accurate prescription for light therapy to help reduce jet lag. “We’re really trying to make it an entire experience, as opposed to just enhancing a special component of the room,” says Scialla.

Broad appeal Individually some of the amenities included in the Well Building Standard aren’t necessarily groundbreaking. However, it’s the way Delos has packaged them that’s captured the attention of US media – which has responded with everything from articles in the LA Times and The Wall Street Journal, to coverage on CNN, Bloomberg and CNBC. Even Bill Clinton is an advocate. “These

healthy building standards will literally change the way we live and work in a very positive way,” said the former US president at the 2012 annual conference for the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), which brings together global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Interestingly, Delos is also a member of the CGI. Delos faces two significant challenges.

Firstly, the price of its ‘well buildings’ could be a barrier for growth, given that the 66 East 11th Street residences range from US$16m–US$50m. Secondly, wellness real estate hasn’t taken off as well as anticipated in the past: a number of residential spa communities, including Canyon Ranch Living in Washington DC and Chicago and Pritikin Living in Houston, have struggled (see Spa Business 2011, issue 1, p30). However, Scialla is confident that

neither issue gives cause for concern. He believes Delos’ developments are significantly different, saying: “A lot of these residential developments anchored the real estate with a great spa, but they didn’t introduce those elements into the homes or rooms.”

He also feels the market has changed,

with it no longer just being baby boomers who are interested in longevity and quality of life in later years. “We carried out extensive demographic studies early on to assess our target categories, demand and potential premiums,” he says.

“We found that what we were offering appealed, and had significant value, to every single person regardless of gender, age or income level. It was very clear to us that more people today are focused on health and wellness.” Of the cost, he says that US$4,000

per square foot “is not expensive based on current New York City real estate prices. Plus, when you think about having a home that’s working on your body 24 hours a day just by living in it, we think it’s worth the price”. Scialla also remains adamant that Delos

isn’t just focused on luxury residential projects. The company has just certified its first wellness offices at the 4,274sq m (46,000sq ft) CBRE global corporate headquarters in Los Angeles and is also working with the healthy restaurant chain Lyfe Kitchen to certify 250 of its facilities over the course of the next five years. In addition, Scialla cites mid-level

rentals and school projects as possibilities in the future, and points out that Delos is working with the US Green Building Council on an orphanage in Haiti and with on an affordable housing project in Boyle Heights – a low-income neighbourhood in Los Angeles. In collaboration with the singer’s philanthropic organisation, Delos is also implementing its Well Access programme, a subset of the Well Building Standard that will see core components such as quality air, water and antimicrobial coatings added to 1,200 homes.

Working with health clubs So which segment does Scialla think has the potential to grow the quickest:

84 Read Health Club Management online at

residential, office or hospitality? “It’s so interesting, because I’d like to pick one, but I actually see a massive opportunity with every single one of them,” he says. He even hints that other verticals such as assisted living and senior housing could be on the cards for development. Scialla is also open to the idea of working with health club operators.

“Wellness is the fastest growing consumer industry in the world, and we’ve received tremendously positive feedback from individuals who are looking for healthier, wellness- orientated experiences at home, in the office or travelling,” he says. “Currently, Delos’ wellness designs

are being implemented in homes, offices and hotels through the brand’s Stay Well offerings, but health clubs are a natural area of expansion. We’ve received great interest from health club operators who are enthusiastic about the potential to infuse our wellness elements and technology into their fitness centres to provide members with a healthier gym experience.” For now, with the Well Building

Standard still in its pilot phase, any company looking for certification would need to partner with Delos. However, the idea is that eventually an independent, but for-profit, corporation – the International Well Building Institute – will govern the standards as they open up to the market. Scialla concludes: “We hope to

achieve similar penetration to the LEED certification and Green Building movement. The Well Building Standard is already applicable to any type of real estate that will help us achieve this ultimate goal.” ●

A version of this feature first appeared in Spa Business issue 1, 2014

March 2014 © Cybertrek 2014

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