Never one to play it safe, Michael Shvo, that showy relic of the last cycle’s boom years, has dropped a record sum on the site of a gas station in West Chelsea. The deal, which was reported to be in the works by The Wall Street Journal in May, has closed for $23.5 million, at some $850 per buildable square foot, according to a release sent out today. Mr. Shvo’s partner on the deal is Victor Homes.
Mr. Shvo, who built his reputation as a broker on branded condo collections and a reputation for ceaseless energy (a 24-hour sales office, drinking 30 to 40 cans of diet coke a day), is now staking out his career as a luxury condo developer after mysteriously disappearing during the recession. (The Observer remembers placing unreturned calls to an answering service last year.) The West Chelsea parcel, at 239 Tenth Avenue, is currently the site of a Getty gas station.
And while $23.5 million may seem like a lot—the sum sets a square-foot record (or a near record, depending on who you ask) for buildable square feet and a number of real estate insiders interviewed by The Journal expressed doubts that the parcel was worth such a huge amount—Mr. Shvo has already termed the property “priceless.”
“This is truly a priceless property located at the nexus of the art world,” said the “art collector” and newly-minted developer in the release. “239 Tenth Avenue will bring together an unparalleled group of creative talent to craft a new level of ultra-luxury residences.”
“The luxury residential experience” the release went on, is “bound to raise the bar for development in New York City.”
And, according to Crain’s, Mr. Shvo has resumed his new supercharged ways, trying to close on a development site at 100 Varick Street and eying one of Gary Barnett’s parcels at 16-18 W. 57th Street.
We are, in any event, excited by Mr. Shvo’s return and look forward to more hyperbolic, over-the-top real estate rhetoric. Or, in the words of the eponomy-obsessed developer, Let’s Shvo!