You might think that the sale of a magnificent Charles Gwathmey-designed penthouse on Central Park would be as rare as spotting an Iceland Gull in the manicured greensward below. But this year two Gwathmey masterpieces changed hands. What’s more, the sellers were both Goldman Sachs men. (And, for the record, on December 17, an Iceland Gull sighting was confirmed at the Reservoir).
On New Year’s Eve, Goldman Sachs vice chair J. Michael Evans sold his Charles Gwathmey-designed Park Laurel penthouse at 15 West 63rd Street for $23.7 million, city records show. Mr. Evans slipped in just before the capital gains tax jumped up, saving him considerable cash given that he purchased the 11-room condo for just $10.3 million back in 2003 from Bradford Weston, another Goldman Sachs man.
Mr. Evans, who is among the candidates that may succeed big Goldman boss Lloyd Blankfein, must have been inspired by the stunning Gwathmey penthouse sale at the Verona when he listed his duplex this September with Douglas Elliman broker Sabrina Saltiel.
The Verona sale, which closed over the summer, netted ex-Goldman partner Jonathan Sobel $21 million. The buyer, commerical real estate investor Steven J. Meringhoff, paid a premium for the penthouse, because it wasn’t technically for sale. Mr. Sobel, for his part, was happy to trade the penthouse that Mr. Gwathmey had called “a labor of cabinet love” for a grand 15-room duplex at 740 Park Avenue.
Mr. Evans was able to get an even loftier price for his starchitect renovation, though not as much as he would have liked: he was asking $26.5 million. Mr. Evans purchased a $27 million Fifth Avenue co-op earlier last summer, and clearly hoped to trade up without dipping into his considerable savings. (This point goes to Mr. Sobel, who managed to knock down the price on his 740 Park duplex to $19 million, giving him a $2 million profit to line his pockets with).
So how about this architectural masterpiece, located on the top two floors of the Park Laurel? It’s no labor of cabinet love, but the living room has 20-foot ceilings, glass and gunmetal walls and an “art wall wine display.” Tiny lights in the ceiling “evoke the stars” and provide, you know, light, as well. There are other neat touches like a moving bookcase that seals off the study from the library. Meanwhile, the library is separated from the living room by a stone and steel double-sided fireplace.
Sounds great, but where’s the piano, you ask? Why, cantilevered off the balcony!
The buyer is Shadywood Holdings LLC, an organization that we can say definitely sounds shadowy. Or at least not out in the open. Though, knowing what we know about the magnetic attraction that Goldman guys have to Gwathmey, and the pool of buyers who can afford $23.7 million penthouse, we can’t help but wonder if this might not be another one of their ilk.