GM says sales picking up at the Ritz-Carlton

Sales of the luxury condos at the $220 million Ritz-Carlton Residences in Federal Hill have been steady this year, due, in part, to social media, word on the street and old-fashioned hustle, reports General Manager Joe Graziose. “The market seems to be responding,” said Graziose, also a senior vice president with Long Island-based RXR Realty, owner of the property. That wasn’t always the case. The development of 190 units struggled to attract buyers after it opened in 2007, and by August 2010, only 23 units had sold. In response, Graziose has drastically cut the sales prices of the remaining units to jump start action. Pressure was also lifted about a year ago after a buy-back by RXR of a $176 million private refinancing loan made in 2010 to restructure the high debt load of the posh development. Graziose, who lives at the Ritz-Carlton Residences with his family, said the waterfront condos located along Key Highway have been popular lately among young professionals with children. “I’ve sold two more condos here where people buy two units and merge them together,” he said of two double-wides recently completed that total 4,100 and 3,800 square feet and sold for $2.5 million and $2.3 million, respectively. “Our average age has gone down to 51, but folks in their late 30s and early 40s have caught on to it,” Graziose said. “What I’m finding is that people that work in the city want to be close enough to their businesses and be back home to be with their children.” Graziose said the Ritz is readying a new short video and revamped website to help push sales this year. So far, he has sold 20 units this year, and has set a goal of selling 110 of the development’s 190 total units by December 31. Last year, he said the sales force closed on a total of 37 properties there. “I’m very pleased with our progress,” Graziose, ever the optimist, said. “We’re really seeing a lot of traffic here — 65 percent of our buyers are from Baltimore, and others are from New York, Chicago and Texas. We have people looking who are relocating from Exelon, Johns Hopkins and we’ve had some inquiries from folks who work at Under Armour.”