There are few things that The Observer loves reading about more than the lurid world of ultra high-end real estate. From Eastern European oligarchs buying $88 million dorm rooms for their daughters to billionaires butting heads over custom renovations to their mega-penthouses, real estate is a both a personal and a professional obsession. And during this past year, there are few reporters that we have enjoyed reading more than New York Times’s Alexei Barrionuevo, who has chronicled the ups and, well, the ups of the trophy market in his Big Deal column over the past 16 months.
So we were sad to hear that Mr. Barrionuevo will be leaving his column and The Times to work on a documentary series called Project Allegro.
Given the massive profits that many early buyers at 15 Central Park West made flipping their units, it sometimes feels like no price is too high for an apartment in New York’s newest pre-war building.
Well, it looks like steel magnate Leroy Schecter has finally learned how much is too much: $95 million.
Mr. Schecter just cut a whopping—or, at least, it would be whopping in any other building—$10 million from the ask on his 35th-story apartment, to a still-stratospheric $85 million, which would put it below the $88 million record price that Dmitri Rybolovlev paid for Sandy Weill’s penthouse.
2012 in review
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.