Never Mind the Town Car. Condos at The Laurel Now Come with Private Jets

Or turboprops for those shorter hops. It's the latest in a chain of can-you-top-this? amenities hereabouts.

the laurel plane incentive wheels up citation

Wheels Up members can book flights on planes like this Citation Excel private jet. The Laurel on Rittenhouse Square will now toss in the first year of Wheels Up membership as a purchase incentive for buyers. | Photo: Courtesy Wheels Up

Wanna get away?

Buy a condo at The Laurel and you may never have to worry about checking airfares and departure times again.

Starting now, Southern Land Company will include a membership in Wheels Up, the pioneering membership-based private aviation company, with each purchase of a condominium unit in the building.

Wheels Up provides its members guaranteed access to a fleet of more than 100 private planes, including Citation Excel jets and King Air 350i turboprop planes, that members can schedule for their own use.  The planes fly out of both commercial and private airports, and there’s no long waits or security theater involved: just show up at the airport as little as 20 minutes before your scheduled departure time, load your bags on board and take off. The company also has partnerships with safety-vetted and verified operators that give members access to more than 1,000 planes. Members can also book empty-leg flights.

In Philadelphia, Wheels Up flies out of Philadelphia International Airport, Northeast Philadelphia Airport and Wings Field in Blue Bell.

A “country club” that offers convenience

Wheels Up Senior Vice President Doug Clark compared it to a membership in a country club, a common perk offered in suburban luxury residential communities. But instead of time on the links or a place to have fancy dinners, what Clark’s club offers is convenience when traveling.

“It’s a convenience thing, not necessarily a luxury thing. They’re time machines,” he says of Wheels Up’s planes. “Especially for getting to second homes that are difficult to get to or places that are out of the way [when traveling] for business.”

Convenience it may be, but it’s a luxury nonetheless: Depending on the level of membership, initial fees to become a Wheels Up member run anywhere from $2,995 to $17,500, and annual dues are $2,495 or $8,500 after the first year.

The Laurel will pay the initiation fee and provide flight time credit for buyers of units. Annual dues after the first year will be the buyer’s responsibility. Laurel owners will have access to a dedicated community portal on the Wheels Up app where they can book flight time both individually and along with other building residents. Residents will also be able to offer empty seats on flights they have booked to one another via the portal.

“The ultimate luxury”

Brian Emmons, The Laurel’s development manager, says that several people who have bought units already have Wheels Up memberships.

Of course, this move is also about distinguishing The Laurel from other luxury high-rises. “The ultimate luxury we think any building in Philadelphia can provide is private aviation,” says Emmons. And, citing those future residents who already belong, “the partnership with Wheels Up just completely made sense.”

With this move, Southern Land has upped the ante in the game of Can You Top This? being played by the city’s leading luxury condo developers. Emmons expects it to appeal primarily to local buyers who are shopping around for residences. He says that 90 percent of Laurel buyers to date live in the Philadelphia area, with the remaining 10 percent coming from New York State and the West Coast.

If the ability to fly where you want when you want sounds like an amenity you’d like to have, The Laurel’s sales office is waiting to hear from you. You can start the process at its website, by visiting the sales office at 1845 Walnut St., or by calling Sales Manager Eva Walker at 215-709-7581.

Updated Aug. 1st, 6:57 a.m., to correct Clark’s name and clarify how a Wheels Up membership works.