It’s hard out there for billionaires. Pity the oligarchs who have been trying to unload massive New York real estate in a month when almost every rich New Yorker, not to mention the foreigners who have feasted here, are too prudish or fidgety to buy.
That’s Eli Broad’s conundrum. Since August, Mr. Broad, the Los Angeles real estate and art baron, has quietly been trying to sell a six-room, two-bedroom tower apartment at the Sherry-Netherland, the high-nosed Fifth Avenue hotel. The place is listed with Stribling for $15 million; the bad news is that there’s a disquieting $17,306 monthly maintenance, and the good news is that the sum covers daily maid service.
Addresses on a deed from 2006, when Mr. Broad’s trust bought a separate unit in the building for $9.45 million, connect him to the tower apartment. But he’s been at the Sherry for much longer than two years: “Sitting on a couch in his plush apartment at the Sherry-Netherland Hotel the other day,” a profile from 1985 began, “Eli Broad explained that he had begun collecting art in 1969. …”
In the ’90s, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Bronx-born septuagenarian had bought a floor of the building in 1996, had hired Jed Johnson and then Barbara Barry to redesign it, and had consigned to Christie’s the furniture that “didn’t work.”
Someone who ranked between Murdoch and Geffen on September’s Forbes 400 probably doesn’t panic over $15 million apartments. But considering that Mr. Broad’s fortune is tied up with AIG, which bought his company SunAmerica 10 years ago, the unsold unit’s $17,306 monthly costs must suddenly seem less laughably trite.
Last week, uptown brokers were saying that Mr. Broad was on the verge of selling the place for around $14 million—maybe to a major fashion designer. But one source said that a would-be buyer got nervous about the market and could be backing out. For now, Mr. Broad is stuck with a New York pied-à-terre that has a 29-foot-long living room off the 13-foot-long dining room; a 14.5-foot-long library; a 7-by-7-foot laundry room off the kitchen; and that pesky monthly maintenance fee.