By  on April 4, 2005

MIAMI — Fashion is being used to sell residential real estate here.

In a new marketing twist, South Florida property owners are tapping designer trunk and runway shows to introduce stylish potential buyers to condominium towers and lofts.

David Martin, chief operating officer of Terra Group, a real estate development company in Miami, said fashion allows developers to create a branding image for each property.

“We’re building Quantum on the Bay in an emerging Miami neighborhood, so we paired with Gen Art for its summer styles fashion show hosted by Esteban Cortazar,” he said. “The energy or buzz created by a Gen Art fashion show is the same buzz we want for our property.”

Martin said Quantum is sold out and 900 Biscayne Bay, another bay-view high-rise, is 85 percent sold.

In a lifestyle-obsessed era, developers said buyers want to be assured their neighbors appreciate similar aesthetics. Of course, having a celebrity as a neighbor is best of all. Martin boasted that, after a book signing and lunch for “Ultimate Style” author Bettina Zilkha at the 900 Biscayne Bay sales office, society photographer Patrick McMullan stayed for two hours checking out property.

To spur sales for a residential venture that wraps around downtown Miami’s Freedom Tower, Martin is planning to host a charity fashion show of Oscar de la Renta’s spring 2006 collection in October. De la Renta’s Latin heritage and new boutique at Bal Harbour Shops made the designer a natural partner, said Martin, who said he was approached by Showroom Seven during New York Fashion Week to work with Imitation of Christ.

Andrea Greenberg, vice president of marketing for Fortune International, a Miami-based real estate development and sales marketing firm, is a self-professed clotheshorse. She attributes much of her company’s fashion marketing to her personal passion.

Greenberg has held a reception for Miami-based designer Rene Ruiz. An Escada preview where children iced cupcakes as their moms examined the clothes, and a second Escada party at the company’s New York store resulted in two sold condominiums with more contracts pending, she said.

Fortune sponsored ready-to-wear designer Louis Verdad in Los Angeles. Greenberg, who attended Los Angeles Fashion Week in April, saw to it that the logo of Jade Beach, Fortune’s oceanfront residence, was splashed all over the Verdad show venue and on brochures and water bottles. Fortune commissioned Verdad to design a promotional T-shirt.

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