On Monday, the day Mayor Bloomberg warned that New York City’s budget deficit will go from $68 million in 2009 to more than $5 billion in 2011, thanks to drooping tax revenue from Wall Street and real estate sales, three of the city’s most expensive rental apartments hit the market.
The timing of the gargantuan new rentals, all asking $75,000 per month (nearly $1 million per year), is enough to make one wonder if there are more absurdly expensive apartments in New York than absurdly wealthy New Yorkers who want them. That would be a tectonic shift from the past half-decade, when high-end brokers constantly kvetched about all the demand and such little supply.
At the Plaza, the founder of European operations for the clothing company Esprit, Jürgen Friedrich, put the building’s largest original apartment, the Astor Suite, up for rent, even though he bought it only last November for $25 million.
He’s never spent a night there, said the listing broker, Patricia Burnham, and the place isn’t furnished. “Frank Sinatra, The Beetles [sic], and Aristotle and Jackie Onasis [sic] were all there,” says her listing, which puts the apartment’s square footage at “almost 5,000.” Ms. Burnham later said the number is 4,300.
“I was actually trying to get a hold of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, because I know they’re looking,” she said. “It’s perfect, and I know they’ve been out looking.” When asked why Mr. Friedrich is putting the Plaza apartment on the market, she said: “They’re going to Europe for the year … maybe two years.” Meanwhile, Mr. Friedrich has reportedly put another property, his nine-acre estate in Southampton, on the market, for $67.5 million.
According to the listings Web site StreetEasy, a duplex penthouse at 25 West Houston went on the market Monday, too. “It takes a little longer for deals to get done, but people still need a place to live,” the listing broker, Jill Mangone, said.
“It is a bit of a hard time,” said Margaret H. Bay, who has the third new $75,000 listing, at the stately Waldorf Towers on East 50th Street. “We have some that we’d like to rent, yes … but I haven’t had anybody step up to the plate in the past few weeks.”
Ms. Bay also has a $130,000 and a $95,000 listing (pictured) in the building, plus a $140,000 spread, the Waldorf’s so-called Cole Porter apartment, which has been on the market since around January 2007, although it was briefly rented and has recently been decorated.
Meanwhile, at Trump Park Avenue, work has also been done on the mammoth penthouse duplex that’s being offered for a record $200,000 per month. (It’s also available to buy, as of this week, for $51 million.) The duplex hasn’t been rented out, or sold, since a conversion three years ago, said Jennine Gourin, the building’s broker. “I think the right person,” she explained, “will come along.”
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