Residences at the Ritz-Carlton: The Movie

A team of real estate entrepreneurs went out on a limb to answer a common question would-be residents ask: "So what's it like living here?" Their bet paid off.

Oscar-worthy? Cobble Hill's professional-quality video promoting the Residences at the Ritz-Carlton was directed by a local pro with Hollywood experience and featured a professional cast of actors. The RATR's chief marketing honcho was duly impressed with the end result. | Still from Cobble Hill Real Estate YouTube video

Oscar-worthy? Copper Hill’s professional-quality video promoting the Residences at the Ritz-Carlton was directed by Neal Dhand, a local pro with Hollywood experience, and featured a professional cast of actors. The RATR’s chief marketing honcho was duly impressed with the end result. | Still from Copper Hill Real Estate YouTube video

One of the perennial challenges people who market residential buildings and communities face is giving prospective residents an idea of what it would be like to live in them.

Model units, tours of amenities and slick brochures help but only go so far.

A trio of real estate entrepreneurs came up with a different idea: Why not show prospective residents what a day in the life might look like for an actual resident?

Well, maybe not an actual resident, but someone who could play one on YouTube.

So Tim and Ryan Garrity and Andrew Janos, the trio behind the real estate startup firm Copper Hill Real Estate, decided to bet the farm, so to speak, on producing a “day in the life” video for a luxury residential development they figured could use a little marketing boost: The Residences at the Ritz-Carlton.

“The Residences at the Ritz was built at the height of the real estate bust,” said Tim. “It was a high-end luxury condo building. Once it came on board, they had a lot of units to sell.”

The trouble was, there were very few buyers for several years. When the Garritys and Janos decided to get into the real estate sales business themselves in early 2015, Tim said, “they had a lot of units sitting unsold, waiting for the market to come back.”

By that time, it was on the way back, so the Copper Hill boys decided to propose something that would help pick up the sales pace.

“We came up with a way to market the building’s lifestyle,” Tim said. “We approached [RATR Director of Marketing] Gary Greenip about it because we thought their online presence could use a boost.”

Greenip was less than enthusiastic about the idea. But the Copper Hill crew decided to produce their promotional video anyway on their own dime. “We had some time to do it, and we decided we were going to take it on,” Tim said.

So they got permission from Greenip to film on the property, then went out and hired a director and cast.

The director they hired was Neal Dhand, an Abington native and assistant professor at Chestnut Hill College whose filmmaking credits include six short films and the features “Second Story Man” (2011) and “Crooked and Narrow” (2016). They also hired a six-person crew and six local actors.

They introduced Dhand to Greenip and explained that their goal was to produce a professional-quality product. Then they scheduled an all-day shoot.

“We met Gary at 6 a.m.,” Tim said. “We had a couple of elevators’ worth of equipment. I think he was floored.”

They wrapped up the shoot at 8 the same evening, then spent the next 60 days editing and preparing the video. “The editing was tough,” Ryan said. “Neal put it together the way he wanted it to look, then we went in and re-edited it ourselves, because we knew that if Gary didn’t like it, he wouldn’t let us release it.”

So: Did Gary like it? The fact that it’s now part of the Residences at the Ritz’s promotional material on its website should answer that question, but Greenip offered more detail in a written response.

“Having been involved in site-based real estate sales for decades – from Hawaii to Aspen to St. Thomas – I always find it exhilarating when younger professionals in our industry break tradition, and condition response marketing to forge an uncharted path to reach or touch potential customers,” he wrote. 

“[The Copper Hill team] produced a first-rate video that forces the viewer to mentally drift, if only for a few minutes, into experiencing living so many aspects of The Ritz-Carlton lifestyle. These gentlemen showed up promptly at 6 a.m. with enough equipment to fill half of our 31st floor hallway without any exaggeration with a dozen sparkling faces eager to begin – including a director, producer, lighting experts, cameras & actors – and spent 16 hours straight delivering the exact vision they verbally unfolded to me a month earlier. The video also had to pass the litmus test of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company approval process to punctuate the video’s quality, so again, my hat’s off to these young innovators, Tim Garrity, Ryan Garrity and Andrew Janos, whom I call my friends!”

Ryan described his reaction upon viewing the film thusly: “When you guys came in here, I expected you to fall face first. I didn’t expect you to produce something that exceeded my expectations.”

The Garritys and Janos have in turn been able to use the video as a way of establishing their firm in the real estate marketplace, growing from just the three of them in January 2015 to a team of 12 now.

And this will most likely not be the only such film they make. Andrew said that Greenip has suggested they take their approach to other Ritz properties as a way of promoting other Ritz-Carlton-branded residential communities. Tim added, “We have talked doing something on another project that may be coming up for us. We may even talk to Neal about it.”

Updated 1:52 p.m. to correct Dhand’s academic affiliation.

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