Santa may be bringing an upmarket trend in his sleigh this holiday season. Forte Software founder Martin Sprinzen sold his ninth floor condominium at 838 Fifth Avenue for $22.5 million, according to a city deed filed Tuesday. The technology tycoon, who sold Forte to Sun Microsystems for a little more than half a billion dollars a decade ago, listed the apartment for $24.5 million in May of this year through Brown Harris Stevens’ broker Penny Toepfer-Guttman, who declined to comment for this article. According to the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Sprinzen spent $3 million renovating the apartment since he purchased it for $15.8 million in 2007.
At this rate, Mr. Sprinzen could stand to have had the price lowered considerably and still have made a profit. However, the software mogul didn’t have to take much of a price chop at all. At only $2 million dollars less than the asking price, a buyer under the company name of J-NYC LLC bought the seven-room, 850-square-foot terraced apartment without much kicking and screaming.
The identity of the buyer remains a mystery, though the Power of Attorney on the deed lists a J. Robert Small. There is a Robert J. Small who is the managing director of Berkshire Partners, but he is not the buyer. That Mr. Small told The Observer, “I think you have the wrong guy. I don’t own an apartment in New York, but this sounds like it’s a really nice one!” There is also a J. Robert Small who is the CFO for Jacobson Family Investments, a private fund run from Carnegie Hall Towers. The fund manages the investment portfolio of the Jacobson family, which, according to Private Wealth, “founded, and continues to operate, a major industrial tools and supplies distribution company, MSC Industrial Supply Co. of Long Island.” Though it is unclear if the Jacobson family is indeed the buyer.
Is this high purchase price a sign that luxury real estate is headed up for the holiday season? Brown Harris Stevens broker Paula Del Nunzio noted to The Observer, “Real estate follows the general trend of the economy and the economy seems to be going up so people are starting to feel more confident about buying, especially in high-end, luxury real estate.”