Q&A: Daria Salusbury On Leaving Related, Spinning Off On Her Own
Daria Salusbury was a senior vice president with Related for 25 years, intimately involved with the completion of 33 different residential buildings in New York, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Washington, DC, and Los Angeles totaling $12B. At the beginning of March, she started a new boutique consulting and marketing business, Salusbury & Co., where she is the president and CEO. She spoke with Bisnow this week about her new company and transition.
Bisnow: Tell me about a little about what you are doing now.
Salusbury: Since I left Related around Thanksgiving, I formed my own real estate consulting and marketing firm. I have been having a number of conversations with several individuals about how I can help them in a consulting role. Three are very active conversations: One is a repositioning of a building in the Upper East Side, one is in Philadelphia where they are actively seeking financing, the other is a very large development in the Lower East Side by a very prestigious firm. It is surprising how many conversations I have been having, because I have only been at this for seven weeks and developing real estate is a very slow process.
Bisnow: Where do you start when you are thinking about a development site for a residential building?
Salusbury: One of the things that is of paramount importance is that we are delivering and helping our partners with the type of development they can do to transform a street or transform a neighborhood. Every development I look at is a partnership. I am now in the phase of my business where I am laying solid foundations to create those partnerships, where I help my partners generate additional revenue.
With development, it is a significant undertaking. Before you put that first shovel in the ground, you need to understand, "Who am I marketing this building to? How will this building stand the test of time? What is going to be important to the people who live in this building?"
Bisnow: Are there any trends you see now in must-have amenities for New York luxury residential buildings?
Salusbury: Developing a building is never about following trends, rather it is about how can you take a specific development and think about how will it serve a specific neighborhood. I worked on different projects at Related, like Abington House or 456 Washington, and the individuals to whom the buildings appealed to are different. So they are totally different buildings. The question you have to ask is, what is this submarket?
For instance, Abington House is in West Chelsea, it is in a very vibrant community. An individual living in West Chelsea tends to be a much more creative and innovative thinker than someone who would live elsewhere. So we built many communal areas in the building that we believe will meet the needs of creative people wanting to meet with other creative people. We also created a library and meditation room in the building, that appealed to a specific submarket that may not have appealed anywhere else.
At 456 Washington in the east end, we built a building with large units to appeal to families with children. Some teenagers have tutors and music lessons and so we created spaces in the building for teenagers to bring their tutors and practice their musical instruments in different parts of the building so one activity didn't disturb the other. At the time, there was no trend in the market that said we needed to do that, but when you understand the area and the need, it makes sense.
Bisnow: You spent a quarter-century working for Related. What do you think about when you reflect on your time there?
Salusbury: When I joined Related, they had three buildings when we brought the Monterry to market, 524 units on East 96th Street. When I left, we had 36 buildings. [We went from] a few hundred units to thousands of units. I'm very proud and gratified with work at Related. Some years it was three buildings, some years it was just one. I'm one of the few people who had such a run in Related.
Bisnow: What are you offering now at Salusbury & Co.? Where will you use your experience?
Salusbury: Anything along the spectrum. Already have the unit mix? What are the brand attributes or brand tone, avenues going into the marketplace, sell or rent inventory to marketplace. Or "Here is the land, now how do we do this?"
We have a staff of six per diem individuals. We pull together analytics, comp reports. We can rev up very quickly, I know a lot of people in the marketplace. Some [I] have worked with in the past, some are new. We aim to help take a concept and bring it to life. For that, you need to have a vision and know how to get there.