The beginning of 2012 started with a closing, the most spectacular closing this city had ever seen: Russian fertilizer king Dmitry Rybolovlev spent $88 million on Sandy Weill’s 15 Central Park West penthouse. Of course, the question on the real estate community’s lips back then was what Mr. Rybolovlev’s buy could mean. Was it just a weird one-off—a tycoon trying to hide funds in the midst of a divorce—or something more? Did we dare to dream that it might be the opening salvo in a trophy hunt?
Indeed, it was. In the months that followed, some of the world’s wealthiest individuals made it clear that they had money to burn and wanted to spend it on New York real estate. Super sales bloomed with the spring flowers. Steve Wynn spent $70 million for a 10,882-square-foot penthouse at the Ritz Carlton. Gary Barnett announced that not one, but two penthouses were in contract for more than $90 million at One57. The penthouse of 18 Gramercy, the Zeckendorfs’ new collaboration with Robert A.M. Stern, in contract for $42 million, is poised to set a new downtown record when it closes. Read More