Advertisement
  1. Archive

Peace. Harmony. Condo.

A developer is hoping luxury condo buyers will be attracted not just by a downtown location with views of the Gulf of Mexico, but also by healthy construction techniques and the harmony and peace promised by feng shui, the ancient Chinese art of placement that channels positive energy flow.

Kanaya, a 35-unit, 15-story building that will rise soon at 505 S Orange Ave., will offer a Zen garden on the roof and a labyrinth for walking meditation. Blessing and cleansing ceremonies were held before construction began. The building's advertising describes it as "the place where your body, mind and spirit feel most in balance."

The building will use paint with low or no volatile organic chemicals and fiberglass insulation manufactured with nonformaldehyde glue. Appropriately placed electrical lines will eliminate overexposure to electromagnetic fields that some regard as health hazards. Each unit will have a humidistat; an ultraviolet light that kills bacteria in the air-conditioning system; Japanese mineral water filters; and its own rooftop garden plot. A solar-heated pool will use no chlorine, and there will be Pilates and yoga studios.

"You can put in a lot of healthy features without spending a lot of money," said the developer, Harvey Kaltsas, an acupuncturist who has long practiced Oriental medicine. "I'd like to see it done everywhere."

Kaltsas said he was inspired to develop a "healthy building that supports a healthy lifestyle" when a patient complained about mold infestation in her luxury home. Another couple were overcome by carbon monoxide in their home because their air conditioning intake opened into the garage, where the husband left the car running while he unloaded groceries.

"Are builders paying attention to the health needs of residents?" Kaltsas said he wondered. "How can you build a $1-million structure infested with mold?"

Living the life that is healthy and harmonious is not inexpensive. The units remaining at Kanaya range from $900,000 to $1.6-million (units started at $600,000). There are two floor plans: the three-bedroom, 3{-bath Bamboo, with 3,000 square feet of living space; and the three-bedroom, 2{-bath Laurel, with 2,600 square feet.

Rod Phillips, who is handling sales and is a minority partner with Kaltsas, put the overall price tag for the building at $40-million.

"I wouldn't get too hung up on the feng shui," he said (pronounce it "fung shway"). "It's part of our package, but not the identity for the building. It's got healthy amenities and a wonderful location. Our tagline is, "Live Well-Balanced, a Balanced Lifestyle."

The Kanaya is within walking distance of restaurants, shopping and galleries in downtown Sarasota in an area that Kaltsas says "will always be a quiet neighborhood." Quiet, he said, was the No. 1 concern of buyers (he is adding extra soundproofing), followed by the healthy aspect.

"Green" and "healthy" homes aren't entirely new. Builders at Lakewood Ranch, the huge master-planned community on the Manatee-Sarasota county line, have agreed to build all green homes there in the future, and all the areas the ranch plans to develop in the next three years have won a green designation from the Florida Green Building Coalition.

WCI Communities of Bonita Springs, which ranks 37th on the respected Builder magazine list of the nation's top 100 builders, opened a model in Venice earlier this year loaded with energy-saving devices and building materials that make it the "greenest" house in Florida.

Will buyers care about the feng shui aspect, or is that no more meaningful than any other marketing program? Developers of other residential properties around Tampa Bay suggest to buyers that they're living in an "urban oasis" or a "secluded oasis"; that they are "on vacation every day" or are embracing the "relaxing Florida lifestyle." Don't most people buy based on location and the prospect of increasing values?

Kaltsas acknowledged that 10 of the first 27 buyers were primarily interested in buying as an investment. The remaining 17, he said, "were more health-oriented."

The building will offer residents an infrared sauna, he said, and after a recent phone interview Kaltsas was about to head off to spend some time in a similar sauna to overcome a cold.

The building's architecture incorporates "as many curves and arches as possible, a more feminine influence," to counteract the "masculine, very angular, neo-Stalinist architecture" of nearby buildings, Kaltsas said.

The name Kanaya was created by feng shui master Katrine Karley of Sarasota. "Each letter represents a number and how you form them together resonates the energy of harmony and peace," said Karley, who developed the name Amberwynd for a development on Sneads Island in Manatee County. "The letters are all balanced, and it represents harmony for the residents, who would have a good time living there and be healthy and happy."

Not until later did Karley learn that Kanaya is a city in Japan that was frequently visited by a Japanese painter who influenced the French impressionists, she said.

"Everything is designed in harmony, and synchronicity just follows," Karley said. She worked with architect Don Foster and with the contractor "so each condo is properly aligned, the eating area is in the proper area so it's healthy," and so the building is appropriately positioned on the lot. Feng shui suggests that the positioning of buildings, rooms and objects can enhance or inhibit the flow of positive energy, or chi.

She will embed bamboo flutes in the walls of the upper floors "to take away the poison arrows" and ensure that those living on high floors still feel grounded. Wood and metal will be strategically positioned "for continuous energetic flow." A dragon will be set in pebbles in the pool area "to encompass the energy of protection."

Kaltsas says he has been hired as a consultant by a developer who wants to build a similar healthy building in Tampa and another in Manatee County. Besides his work in alternative medicine he is founder and president of Triton Quest Inc., a shipwreck exploration firm.

"The Chinese believe you maximize your luck by paying attention to the forces of nature," Kaltsas said. He spent $51,000 on a wind-tunnel study "so you don't get blown off the roof" while enjoying the Zen garden or growing tomatoes. "A lot of feng shui is about paying attention to those forces. If you do that, it's easier to be lucky."

TO LEARN MORE

For information about Kanaya, visit the Web site at www.kanayacondos.com. The phone number at the sales center is (941) 376-6969.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Advertisement
Advertisement