For his day job, Sanjay Motwani is the president and portfolio manager at Sansar Capital Management, which is one of the largest private equity firms in Iraq. “Let’s not be dismissive,” he told the website FINalternatives, right above a photo of him in dress clothes and a bullet proof vest. “It’s a dangerous place, if you go to Baghdad you do need a security detail.”
So we don’t begrudge him a sanctuary in one of the least-Iraqi places on earth: the Upper West Side, and specifically, Trump Place. He just picked up a five-bedroom condo combination on the 20th floor of 220 Riverside Boulevard at Trump Place, paying $11.5 million for the pleasure.
The sun was setting over New York harbor, and behind it, the coast of New Jersey. From the 17th floor of 11 Broadway, through the not-floor-to-ceiling, turn-of-the-last-century office windows, the Statue of Liberty was plainly visible. She appeared to be waving through the late-summer haze. Milling about and sipping champagne were some of the city’s biggest developers and their employees, names emblazoned upon apartment towers from this end of Manhattan to the other and beyond.
Silverstein, Ratner, Extell, Elad, Milstein, Glenwood, Trump. All the big firms were there, along with many other machers and dealmakers. It could have been a convention of The No Nonsense Apartment Builders Association of the Greater Five Boroughs. Instead it was the third anniversary party for Goldstein, Hill & West and the unveiling of their new downtown offices.
The foyer is painted a slick graphite gray, with a globular chandelier overhead, but beyond that, the designer pretense fades away. There are no amoebic benches, no plywood bookcases, no 3D printer for producing models of unusually torqued and cantilevered buildings. Little hangs on the walls besides drafting templates and zoning handbooks. It is this simplicity of design, aesthetic and attitude that draws the city’s biggest developers to the firm.
Has the Upper West Side fallen for an eight-acre bait and switch?
At least one and possibly all five towers at the massive Riverside Center development will not be the work of Pritzker Prize-winning architect Christian de Portzamparc. The French designer helped Extell Development and the Carlyle Group sell their swank plans‘ to the community and the City Planning Commission. The latter was so taken with the crystalline designs of Mr. de Portzamparc, who also designed the LVMH headquarters and Extell’s One57 tower, that restrictive zoning covenants were set to ensure the buildings would look as promised.
But now, Extell and Carlyle have turned over one of their tower sites to the Dermot Company, which has hired local firm SLCE to design the apartment building on the West End Avenue section of the site. While Dermot insists its project will be up to the standards promised during last year’s public review process, some, including the exacting City Planning chair Amanda Burden, worry the design doppelgangers will lead to lesser work.
We already know that the DMZ between the Upper West Side and Hell’s Kitchen (call it Lower West End Avenue?) is a happening spot, with the Walentases, the Dursts, the Elghanyans, basically everybody building a slick new project over there. The biggest, of course, is Riverside Center, Gary Barnett’s massive reimagining of the final plots of the Riverside South complex.
Earlier this week, Extell returned to the local community board with plans for affordable housing in the project, according to DNAinfo, and therein he revealed the latest detailed designs for the Christian de Portzamparc-created project.
Red Carpet Real Estate
In February of last year, Ilan Bracha, the developer and star broker now heading up Keller Williams NY told The Observer, “We’ll be No. 1 in five years,” He was referring to his firm, but the Bracha family has now taken the top spot elsewhere—at Gary Barnett’s hugely successful Rushmore condominiums at the Riverside South development.
Mati Bracha, Ilan’s wife, just paid $5.28 million for penthouse 3A, according to city records. It was not immediately clear if Mr. Bracha would be moving in.
Aside from his oft-discussed, revolving door of high-profile girlfriends, Alex Rodiguez is known for being a playboy on an entirely different field. No, not on the baseball diamond—that ninth inning strike out won’t be forgotten any time soon—but in the real estate market. After bowing out of his 15 Central Park West rental, Mr. Rodriguez bought a full-floor spread at the Rushmore for $5.5 million last spring.
The third baseman is in the process of taking a walk, but it appears he will score on the place after only 8 months.
It seems that we’re in the wrong profession. Although The Observer has long considered a career in rabbinical studies, we fully intend to pursue our religious calling after noticing a recent real estate transaction involving Rabbi Alvin Kass.
Rebbe Kass, who also serves as the NYPD’s head chaplain, and his wife Miryom have just Read More
Red Carpet Real Estate
Could Alex Rodriguez still be rounding the bases looking for home?
In February, the Yankees slugger was reportedly warming up to buy a four-bedroom condo at the two-towered Rushmore on Riverside South. The full-floor-spread was said to cost between $5.5 million and $6 million. Extell Development even released a statement in which founder Gary Barnett Read More
Donald Trump may want to buy the Mets, but the developer with a real feel for the game—as well as basketball, it turns out—is Extell’s Gary Barnett. Scoring the extra point is the fact that he famously beat Trump out at Riverside South, where many of the city’s top athletes are now moving.
Alex Read More
The Rushmore has been a hot commodity of late, attracting the likes of Alex Rodriguez, Robin Williams and violinist Pinkus Zuckerman. Should any of them need homeowners’ insurance, they could turn to Domingo Amaro Rangel, who is no relation to our city’s most corruptible congressman but does run one of the largest insurance concerns Read More