If you are the most suave multibillionaire on the planet, the man who owns Christie’s plus Gucci and the future father-in-law to Salma Hayek, you tear out the normal accouterment in your massive new penthouse duplex.
According to city records, a limited liability corporation called ROKUSA just paid $16.9 million for the top penthouse at Barbizon/63 on East 63rd Street, the 80-year-old neo-Gothic women’s hotel that has just been turned into superluxury condos.
The building’s sales director, Sharon O’Brien, says that the buyer is François Pinault. “His art dealer was actually the person who saw the apartment first, and then told François about it,” said Ms. O’Brien. “And he flew in from Paris to see it, and then brought in his architect, Annabelle Selldorf.” That’s the star who co-designed Philip Johnson’s Urban Glass House. Jeff Koons is another client.
How many bedrooms will Mr. Pinault’s new ladies’ hotel spread have? “I know she’s reworked the entire apartment inside to turn it into a one-bedroom,” Ms. O’Brien said. “It’s 4,600 square feet for a one-bedroom!”
The spread is actually a tad bigger than 4,600 square feet, considering that the terraces off the apartment’s four corners add 833 square feet.
When Mr. Pinault visited (“impeccably dressed,” the broker said, “he’s very charming”), he liked the penthouse’s high arches and 20-foot ceilings. Though the buyer controls Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and Stella McCartney, Ms. O’Brien admitted the penthouse doesn’t have excessive space for clothes. “There aren’t a million closets. It’s not like he bought it for the closet space.”
Maybe he’ll redesign the duplex with some extra storage room. “He’s gutting the whole place and putting in his own finishes—in fact, we left them out,” Ms. O’Brien said. “We left out the kitchen and bathrooms. He’s putting his own in.”
Incidentally, the billionaire didn’t get a discount from the developers for declining their standard wares. On the downside, he probably won’t be spending much time here every year. “It could be one month, it could be three,” Ms. O’Brien said.