We’re not surprised that the man who famously used The Art of War as his professional bible made a killing on his Midtown pied-a-terre. Michael Ovitz, who built his reputation and a small army of enemies as the soft spoken, bludgeon-carrying leader of the Creative Artists Agency, didn’t just make a profit off the sale of his Metropolitan Tower condo, he made a 577 percent profit.
This is, after all, the same guy who managed to emerge with a severance package of some $38 million in cash and $131 million in stock options when he was canned as president of Disney after a year on the job, a shove out the door so generous that shareholders sued (they lost, of course). Even when he loses the war, Mr. Ovitz still takes home the spoils.
Real estate kerfuffles
Seattle-based luxury retailer Nordstrom has reportedly paid $102.5 million for the site of its future Midtown flagship store at 225 West 57th Street.
The seven floor store will anchor a massive 88-story, 1,550-foot residential condo tower that Extell Development is building at the site.
The retailer said its store will encompass 285,000 square feet when it Read More
Sure, New York’s landscape is being remade by luxury condo towers, its streets mobbed by the Goyard and Louis Vuitton-toting global elite, the lower and middle classes pushed to the end of outer-borough subway lines. But is the transformation happening fast enough?
Apparently not. The city and state, eager to speed the ascent of the moneyed classes and Manhattan’s ongoing metamorphosis from a borough occupied by an economically-diverse population to one often unoccupied by the wealthy globe-trotters who view high-end real estate as an investment vehicle, are doing all that they can to ease the path of One57. The ultra-luxury tower, whose top-floor units have all but been spoken for by billionaires or investment groups led by billionaires willing and able to pay upwards of $90 million, has just received a plum work permit from the city, allowing around-the-clock seven-day-a-week construction work, according to DNAinfo.
Real estate kerfuffles
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.
Real estate kerfuffles
A new boom has successfully been hoisted onto the crane at One57, nearly seven months after the previous crane snapped during Hurricane Sandy and dangled ominously over West 57th Street for several days.
The maneuver’s completion—which involved swinging the boom over three buildings before hauling it up the side of the uber-luxury tower—was announced by Extell at just after 3 p.m. this afternoon. Residents of the two co-ops under the boom will now be allowed to return home after being forced to evacuate from their homes last night. It also means that construction will be able to move forward on the condo tower.
And then there were condos
Despite the rainy, windy weather that is set to hit New York tomorrow and a last-minute lawsuit filed to stop Extell from evacuating two co-op buildings adjacent to One57, plans to repair the crane broken during Hurricane Sandy are still moving forward Saturday morning.
Which means that the unfortunate residents of Alwyn Court, the landmarked building at the corner of Seventh Avenue and 58th Street, will either vacate the building voluntarily in the next few hours or face forcible eviction. The crane repair involves swinging a boom over Alwyn and two other buildings before hoisting it up the side of the unfinished tower.
Toddlers in towers
With prices ranging from $2.9 million to $65 million, no one can accuse Extell’s hotel-to-condo conversion at 21 East 61st Street—which just launched sales—of courting bargain hunters. But in comparison to Gary Barnett’s crown jewel rising a half mile away on 57th Street, the Carlton House looks positively affordable.
In comparison to anything other than uber-luxury condos poised to set records when they close for more than $90 million, the Carlton House is pricey indeed. Though anyone who was really hankering for the low end of the luxury market would be well-advised to stay away from Extell projects altogether—only Extell could make $65 million look, well, kind of reasonable.
Remember the days when a Barbie Dream House seemed like a splurge?
This week, a Chinese mother paid $6.5 million for a condo in Midtown’s One57 for her two-year old daughter to use when she goes to college, according to the Daily News.
As Kevin Brown of Sotheby’s international explained in an 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.
Michael Stern was walking to a meeting last summer when he saw the vacant site, barely wider than a townhouse, at 107 West 57th Street. On one side was the Steinway Building, an 87-year-old city landmark with an etched white limestone façade. On the other was a dowdy old SRO about to be gutted and transformed into the Quin Hotel, yet another boutique confection for the tourist masses.
Yet it was not the barren lot’s immediate neighbors that set Mr. Stern’s heart racing, but another edifice further down the block: Gary Barnett’s One57. The 1,005-foot, 90-story tower was only about halfway built at the time, but already it was on its way to taking the crown, on the skyline and in the record books, as the city’s tallest apartment building. Billionaires were already circling the units, which ranged from $5 million to $115 million.
Looking from Mr. Barnett’s site to the one in front of him, Mr. Stern knew he had to have it.
“Right now, there is nowhere else in the city like 57th Street, and it is only going to get better,” Mr. Stern told The Observer.