When the Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani snapped up 21 Beekman Place for $35 million last June, just days before he left his post as part of a regime change in which the long-ruling emir Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani handed power over to his 33-year-old son, we thought we had seen the end of Qatar’s real estate shopping spree. After all, the sun-flooded East River townhouse was the second that the sheikh had bought in as many years—the first being Aby Rosen’s $48.5 million townhouse at 22 East 71st—and two townhouses seemed, at least to us, a bit excessive, even for a sheikh. Especially given that Qatar and its ruling family already possess an extraordinary amount of rarefied Upper East Side square footage. Most notably, a 45,000-square mansion at 7-9 East 72nd Street, which has the distinction of being the largest single-family residence in all of New York, as well as a 28-foot townhouse at 43 East 70th and diplomatic space at UN Plaza. Read More
In the latest issue of Depatures, Michael Gross, chronicler extraordinaire of the rich and real estate obsessed, takes a look at the race to cross the most tantalizing of all residential thresholds—the $100 million mark. Things have come close, of course—the $94 million contract signed on a One57 penthouse, the $95 million contract at 432 Park, the many conceited listings whose asks far exceed $100 million (reach for the moon, right? And if you fail, you’ll fall among the stars, drifting through a dark, oxygen-less abyss.) Besides breaking some news—notably, that the Zeckendorf’s 50 UN Plaza is offering its top three floors as either a $45 million floor-through and $55 million duplex, or $100 million triplex (which comes with what is sure to become the next must-have in trophy real estate: a private, 50-foot-long heated outdoor pool), Mr. Gross’s piece also includes some ridiculously good quotes. A few of our favorites, below: Read More
This morning, The Post reported that Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich was in contract to buy the late Howard Ronson’s melange of disconnected units at 828 Fifth Avenue, a.k.a. the Berwind Mansion, for $75 million. But they neglected to mention the most important detail in the saga of the segmented mansion—Mr. Abramovich has not only taken on Mr. Ronson’s old apartments, but is well on his way to realizing the real estate developer’s dream of restoring the colossal mansion to a single residence.
Sources tell The Observer that Mr. Abramovich has agreements to buy not only the Ronson family’s three units, but is working out deals with the co-op’s other residents as well. Meaning that he may finally be able to piece together the puzzle of units—a triplex, a penthouse and a duplex maisonette—amassed by Mr. Ronson and his family. Read More
In years past, diplomats, movie stars and the crème de la crème of New York society clamored for entry into River House—the art deco co-op on the East River so elite, so elevated, so refined that it famously prohibited the use of its name in all advertising materials. It admitted only the staidest and most moneyed of applicants, snubbing movie stars and the young socialites alike, among them Diane Keaton and Gloria Vanderbilt.
But in the years since the snootiest of all co-ops first opened its closely-guarded gates, society has changed. There was World War II, and then all the hippies and feminists and radical activists of the 1960s and 70s, the yuppie splendor of the 1980s, the rise of the internet and these days, a real estate market swayed by the whims of Russian billionaires. Along the way, River House lost its place at the pinnacle of New York society. The closing prices of its well-appointed apartments lag tens of millions of dollars behind other top tier co-ops, Beekman and Sutton places have declined in prominence and the social register is now a quaint anachronism, like women wearing hats and gloves when they leave the house. Read More
It has been a long, lonely wait for the Schiansi Mansion at 351 Riverside Drive. Though the 12,000-square-foot French Renaissance mansion is one of the few free-standing beauties in Manhattan to truly deserve the name—neither a trumped-up townhouse nor a sprawling maisonette—she spent seven long years on the market. But she has, at long last, secured a new buyer, who paid the slightly-over-ask sum of $14 million, according to The Wall Street Journal. Read More
Poor, lonely, luxury condo tower! Unlike the co-ops lining Central Park to the East and the West, whose residents really love them, it seems like One57′s new residents are only interested in it for its money. Or, more precisely, how their money might become even more money if they buy apartments there.
As the condo’s top-floor units go into contract, New Yorker’s real estate community has been speculating on who the super-secretive billionaires buying there are. Tantalizingly, Extell confirmed two contracts for more than $90 million, but for months and months and months, there’s been no indication of who the buyers might be. So imagine the collective glee when The Wall Street Journal revealed that one of the buyers was billionaire hedge funder William Ackman. Sort of. Read More
Today, the Pierre penthouse—what may well be the most lavish penthouse in all of New York—officially hit the market for $125 million—which is definitely the most lavish asking price in all of New York. It is also a full $55 million more than the penthouse was asking (and not getting) in 2007. But it’s art, you see.
“Because this is a one-of-a-kind penthouse, it was hard to set a price because nothing really compares. I think of it, and I believe the buyer will see it, as a work of art,” Sotheby’s broker Elizabeth Lee Sample told The New York Times, which reported the listing this morning. Read More
The Observer has spent many an afternoon trying to puzzle out the clues in mysterious LLCs. That is, the LLCs that have clues—those that were not registered in Delaware approximately a month before the real estate purchase they were created to shield, named after the building that they are buying property in, and/or in the care of a huge midtown law firm.
But as real estate chronicler Michael Gross proves in a new Newsweek article, promising clues may well be red herrings. When Novgorod LLC purchased a nine-room spread on the 40th floor of 15 Central Park West in 2009, it was assumed that the buyer was one of the many rich Russians who had been sniffing around the building. Quite possibly a rich Russian with some intense personal or professional connection to the city in whose name he’d purchased a $37 million dollar condo. Read More
It’s a happy New Year for developer David Edelstein and wife Sarah. The couple made a mint on the sale of their townhouse at 122 East 70th Street, nearly doubling their money in just two short years.
The Edelsteins, whose bargain basement buy of the house for $12 million in 2010 shocked the other residents on what some call the loveliest block in all of New York, have sold the five-story manse for $21.45 million, The New York Times reports. Prudential Douglas Elliman brokers Michael Kafka and Theresa Thompson deserve a hand. Read More
Apparently, Dreamworks co-founder David Geffen doesn’t take the biblical commandment “thou shalt not covet they neighbor’s house” very seriously. He’s gone ahead and purchased the 20-room duplex penthouseat 785 Fifth Avenue from his upstairs neighbor Denise Rich for a record-setting $54 million, according to The Wall Street Journal. The previous co-op record was set this spring, when Oaktree Capital Chief Howard Marks purchased the Courtney Sale Ross apartment at 740 Park for $52.5 million.
Ms. Rich listed the crazy spread for $65 million in January with Corcoran brokers Noble Black, Chazz Levi and Bonnie Pfeifer Evans, who claim that at 12,000-square-feet it is the largest apartment ever offered on Fifth Avenue (although measuring square footage in co-ops is a notoriously imprecise process). And while Ms. Rich didn’t get full ask, she got more than anyone else ever has before. And we thought that maybe the trophy hunting season was over! How many pseudo trophy listings will Ms. Rich’s enviable sale spawn? Read More