Developers Adapt to Drive-Thru Events, Virtual Launch Parties

July 2, 2020

Typical launch events or broker happy hours may be a thing of the past for residential and commercial development projects. In the midst of the pandemic, developers are finding new ways to promote their projects, such as through drive-thru events and virtual launches.

The Real Deal reports how development companies Codina Partners, USAA Real Estate, and the leasing team at Fairchild Partners recently organized a caravan tour of a new industrial development. About 50 brokers attended without ever stepping foot outside of their cars. The idea, developers say, was inspired by car parades for children’s birthday parties during the pandemic.

Brokers were welcomed in their cars to the Beacon Logistics Park in the Miami area. They were handed a branded bag with a large bottle of hand sanitizer and disposable mask inside. Once inside the warehouse, car stops were guided with signs and posters. The drive-thru experience of the property gave Codina Partners and USAA an opportunity to show off the finished development to prospective brokers.

But not all real estate projects lend themselves to drive-thru events. The Real Deal also featured a recent “global virtual sales gallery” from the Monaco Yacht Club & Residences in Miami Beach. The developer sent an e-blast video for a virtual launch in marketing luxury condo units. The video was sent out in several different languages to appeal to international crowds.

Optimum Asset Management USA, which is developing the condo project, had originally planned to host live events this summer to drum up interest. But a surge in coronavirus cases in Florida changed that. The company is planning to host additional virtual events over the summer. But the broker open house isn’t completely gone. Real estate pros are hosting Zoom open houses to groups of brokers to show off properties.

“The world has changed,” Louise Sunshine, a strategic adviser for Fort Partners, which is hosting virtual events for Four Seasons-branded developments in Florida, told The Real Deal. “Marketing and sales have gone digital.” And they’re finding that buyers are more open to buying properties virtually, too.