Monday, October 24, 2005


Timeshare Developers Focus On NYC Market

Timeshare sales volume, which stood at $4.8 billion in the United States in 2001, has risen consistently during the two decades that this property ownership structure has existed. While many people picture Florida, California and other resort destinations as the locations for timeshares, an increasing number of timeshare developers are focusing on urban markets, and New York City in particular.

The timeshare industry, which has overcome an initial stigma created by problematic developments in the early 1980s, has attracted increasing attention from purchasers who either cannot afford the full cost of a second home, or who want the option to travel to several different vacation destinations without being tied to only one vacation home.

The industry also has benefited from the investments of major national and international hotel chains, which have the experience and resources to focus on the costly marketing aspect of the business. More flexible use plans also have increased interest from prospective buyers. Timeshares will often offer a floating unit, split week or multi-site vacation club use--all of which benefit the users swiftly changing schedules and tastes.

The growth in popularity of urban timeshares has mirrored the renewed interest in urban living and travel to urban locations. Urban timeshares, especially those in the underdeveloped market of New York City, are attractive to vacation users as well as to corporations or individual business people who find that they return to the city on a consistent basis.

While the state of Florida has 363 timeshare resorts, the greatest number in the United States, New York State is home to the second highest number of timeshare purchasers. A deep market of consumers and a worldwide destination with restaurants, theatre, arts and cultural attractions, has made Manhattan a natural location for development.

Not surprisingly, there are three new timeshare projects in Manhattan with others in the planning stages. Developers are seeking to convert existing buildings in whole or part, or to work with developers of upcoming buildings still in the planning stages. Timeshare projects also are providing an exit strategy for underutilized hotels. While developers primarily are interested in sites in the Midtown area, they are also exploring Chelsea and Greenwich Village for possible boutique properties.

A New York City location adds appeal to existing vacation clubs by increasing the pool of options for internal exchange. In addition, an urban timeshare may provide a pied a terre for former city residents who return each year. The Manhattan Club, the first urban timeshare in Manhattan, is very popular with purchasers living within 90 miles of the city.

New York City has always been viewed as a complicated market to enter, based on the complexity of offering plan registration and the costs of development. However, the barriers to entry are being torn down by steadily expanding interest among purchasers.

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