Will New 'Beaver Butler' and Pillow Fights Sell Balazs' Condos?

When times get tough, what does a perfectly-coifed developer–once called the King of America–do to sell the dozens of remaining apartments at his new condo? Lure buyers with videos of pillow-fighting chicks.

André Balazs today introduced a new amenity at his Beaver House condo in the Financial District building, and it’s called The Beaver Butler. For about $1,000 per year, buyers can watch footage from their “in-residence cameras” on their computers–to “check up on what’s happening while you’re away.”

According to the faux camera footage on the condo’s Web site, you’ll apparently see shirtless men with power tools drinking beer in the kitchen, a girl dusting down a yellow convertible, or, in the bedroom, two blondes and a brunette dressed in pink smacking each other with pillows. The Butler also lets you monitor the lighting and temperature (“or schedule a personal trainer in the fitness club”), but Mr. Balazs told The Observer that “the fact that you can control your air conditioning” wasn’t the main marketing point.

When asked about new condos turning to gimmicks to sell remaining condos, he said his building had sold nearly three fourths of its apartments and wasn’t panicking. But if the Beaver Butler doesn’t bring in new buyers for what remains, would he rent some units out? “I think we would,” he said, “depending on what happens in the next two months, three months. Maybe. Maybe.”

The giddy good times of Manhattan’s real estate bubble already feel far off. “We like beavers, they’re very industrious creatures. And, frankly, they’re such an important part of New York,” Mr. Balazs chuckled last year, after a Scandinavian paid $5 million for two units in the building. “Beavers are a very venerable, important animal to New York. I say that with a straight face.”