The Real Deal New York

Socialite Lily Safra sells for $40M, buys for $33M at 820 Fifth Avenue

By Adam Pincus | December 22, 2009 06:00PM

From left: Lily Safra, Ken Griffin and 820 Fifth Avenue (Building photo source: PropertyShark)

In a high-end game of musical chairs, socialite and philanthropist Lily Safra sold one cooperative apartment at 820 Fifth Avenue at 63rd Street for $40 million to a hedge fund manager and on the same day bought another in the same building for $33 million from home building CEO Ara Hovnanian.

Safra closed on the sale of the 12th-floor unit to Kenneth Griffin as well as the purchase of the fourth-floor unit from Hovnanian, CEO of Hovnanian Enterprises on Dec. 16, city property records published today show. Residential real estate Web site first reported the $40 million Safra sale today.

Reports from October said Griffin, founder of the $13 billion hedge fund Citadel Investment Group, was going to buy Hovnanian’s fourth-floor unit, but instead he bought Safra’s, city records show. Safra is the widow of Edmond Safra, a billionaire banker.

Hovnanian Enterprises is in a difficult financial period, reporting this month its 13th consecutive quarterly loss.

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