In the early nineties, Argentine fashion icon Alan Faena (creator of Latin America's cultish Via Vai ready-to-wear line) and design virtuoso Philippe Starck toyed with the idea of creating "a temple of pleasure" in Buenos Aires. Despite the city's economic and political crises, the duo forged ahead and converted a century-old, seven-story brick granary in the up-and-coming commercial warehouse district on the Río de la Plata into an extravagant residence-hotel (owners can rent out their apartments for extended periods). Slated to open next May, El Porteño has 57 remaining units for sale—ranging from pied-à-terre studios to 2,500-square-foot multi-terraced penthouses. Each comes with Starck kitchens and baths (living rooms and bedrooms can be designed for an extra charge), framed flat-screen TV's, and access to the "Universe," a communal area with a lounge, theater, deli, gallery, and restaurant, whose yet-to-be-announced chef is of international note, according to rumors. El Porteño, 1499 Juana Manso; 54-11/4894-1345; $94,000-$600,000.
—Connie McCabe