As 150 of the city's top brokers mingle among the lime green hallways and nibble on seared tuna, Picket leads a rousing tour of the model rooms, each decorated to suit the specific tenants that he believes Atlas will attract. "This is the 28-year-old art director at Conde Nast," he says, opening the door to a room filled with brightly colored Mod furniture, sisal rugs and a set of stainless steel bar tools casually strewn just so on the bar. Other models include "the older divorced guy from Long Island" and "the young woman who's lived in France," a potpourri-scented one-bedroom whose most peculiar accent was a cat toy. "To show we're pet friendly," shrugs Picket. (Studios start at $1,880 and a two- bedroom tops out at $4,890.)
With the opening of Atlas, which has 300 apartments available for rent on July 1, Picket is testing a concept more in keeping with Ian Schrager's hotels than Manhattan rental properties: selling a stylish lifestyle.
To that end, he's enlisted two concierge companies to meet his tenants' needs. Dinner reservations at Nobu? Not a problem. A highlighting appointment at Louis Licari? Chartering a private jet? They do that, too. Oh, and each tenant receives a Blackberry to keep updated on Atlas' activities. Those group activities -- yes, tenants will get to know their neighbors here -- include sunset yoga on the roof with Madonna's instructor Duncan Wong, and a rooftop film festival hosted by Hollywood producer and soon-to-be-tenant Cary Woods. Wine tastings and classical music performances will take place in the common areas, like the lobby, which features a waterfall.
In the elevator, brokers gossip about just who the future fashionable tenants might be. Brad Van Liew, the skipper of Tommy Hilfiger's boat "Freedom America," and his wife will be calling the Atlas home this summer. Someone heard that a bigwig at Victoria's Secret was interested and Malia Mills, who clad the rooftop models in her swimwear, was eyeing some space. Mary McFadden also took a tour earlier that day.
"Who's Mary McFadden?" asks one broker.
"A designer," explains another. "Fortuny pleats. She sells her stuff at Bergdorf and Bendel's. Very high end."
Let's hope Mary is ready to play neighbor. "I lived in an apartment building for five years and never met my neighbors," says Lynette Tulkoff, Atlas's real estate agent. "The concept here is to sell a community and to have access to culture and an environment."
"It has the elements of a hotel without the transitory feel," adds Picket, who professes that unlike a Schrager hotel, Atlas' hip factor is tempered. "A Schrager hotel is great for a night or two, but who would want to live there? If I had to look at Philippe Starck furniture every day or pee in a urinal that's a waterfall, I'd go crazy. People don't want to be hit over the head with it."