Interview with Peter De Savary from Vanderbilt Residences

By Paul Joseph

Boasting an unparalleled waterfront location, the redeveloped Vanderbilt Residences in Newport, Rhode Island, are an ideal choice for those seeking a holiday home in a vibrant, chic and cosmopolitan corner of the US east coast.

Mastermind behind the condominium development is British entrepreneur Peter De Savary, who alongside business partner Joe Paolino Jr, decided to create an ultra-desirable series of apartments, priced between $2.5 – $3.5 million. The project finished last year, with only five residences left for sale. caught up with Mr De Savary at the recent Fort Lauderdale Boat Show to discuss his thoughts on why the residences, and indeed the area as a whole, have captured the imagination of so many.

“I think Rhode Island as a whole is so historic – it goes back 100-plus years when wealthy Americans used to summer there,” he told’s Shari Liu.

“People like the fact that it’s cosmopolitan. It’s not just American – you’ll see and hear French people, Italian, German, English It’s got an international flavour, great restaurants, wonderful sailing. It’s very social during the season. So I think affluent people find it agreeable – it’s easy to get to, it’s fun, it’s a good place.”

So does Mr De Savary believe the economic downturn has pushed second home buyers away from Europe and towards the American Riviera?

“I don’t think it’s really the decline in Europe. One of the things about Newport is that whilst it’s certainly a very affluent place, it’s not stuffy, everybody can feel relaxed there, you don’t have to feel part of any establishment. So if you’re a foreigner coming to America, particularly from Europe, you’ll feel very comfortable, very welcome, very at home.

“And I think the fact that people are nervous of the Euro, nervous of the European economies, most people believe that the almighty dollar will remain the almighty dollar for our lifetime anyway – the Chinese are not getting us yet! So I think people feel that to have a dollar investment, put some money in the US, have some fun in a place like Newport, makes it very attractive. It’s sort of a safe haven.”

And what does he believe clients are looking for in a multi-million dollar residence?

“We don’t want to make it sound too expensive – they’re beautiful apartments right on the water, from $2.5 to $3.5 million. These are not ridiculous prices – you wouldn’t get very much on the Côte d'azur for that price – so it’s terrific value for people. You’re right on the water, the marina’s in front of you, you can put this gorgeous boat right there in front of your penthouse if you like and I think what attracts people is that we only have 16 – it’s gated, it’s private, it’s secure, it’s very charming.

“You literally are as much on the water as if you’re on the deck of a lovely yacht. You can keep a boat there. You don’t need to use the car, you can walk to all the restaurants, you can walk to the shops. It’s a great location, the sunsets are staggering. It’s about as good as it gets."

By Paul Joseph