Putting On the Ritz-Carlton: Has Its Moment In the Sun Finally Come?

The Ritz’s Big Hope: Howard Marks $50 M. apartment.

Let’s face it: prices at the Ritz-Carlton, while resplendent, pale in comparison to the blindingly spectacular sales at buildings like 15 Central Park West and the Plaza. But with the $70 million Steve Wynn buy behind it and a new $50 million listing, The Wall Street Journal asks: is the Ritz ready to rise again?

It’s not as if the building has been doing shabbily or anything, but it hasn’t been the brightest star in the sky, The Journal notes. Built in 1930 as the Hotel St. Moritz, it’s lost some of the luster it once had and its debut on the luxury market was less than stellar. The condo conversion finished shortly after Sept. 11, and then the building got kind of eclipsed by the Time Warner Center and 15 Central Park West.

And yet, with the luxury market going bananas and the Steve Wynn sale and the new listing, maybe the Ritz-Carlton’s time is here at last?

In any event, such speculations are a good excuse to focus on the massively expensive apartment listing of Oaktree Capital chief Howard Marks and wife Nancy, who just left the building for the super-selective corridors of 740 Park Avenue. (Not just any casino king or media mogul can buy at 740 Park, you know.) And apparently, the couple is hoping to finance their new $52.5 million apartment with the sale of their old one. At $50 million, they’re certainly asking far more than they paid for it in 2007—a mere $18.8 million!

They’ve done extensive renovation work, of course. Now there’s “stucco veneziano and a parquet de Versailles-patterned floor of German silver, hand-hammered over wood,” and “a library inspired by Coco Chanel’s famous Paris apartment is fitted with 18th century Chinese lacquer panels,” according to the listing held by Sotheby’s broker Roberta Golubock.

“They recreated the perfect apartment with 92-feet on Central Park,” Ms. Golubock told The Journal. “A buyer could easily step off the elevator and move in with just with a toothbrush.”

That would be a gold-plated toothbrush.

Still, even with a $50 million listing and and a $70 million sale, the Ritz-Carlton doesn’t stand a chance of taking down 15 CPW. After all, $70 million is very, very impressive, but an $88 million, record-breaking sale is much, much more impressive. And Sandy Weill got every cent he had asked for, while Mr. Wynn managed to shave a full $7 million off the ask. Besides, the Ritz-Carlton shouldn’t get its hopes up because soon One57 will literally overshadow all the other apartment buildings.

kvelsey@observer.com Putting On the Ritz-Carlton: Has Its Moment In the Sun Finally Come?