CitySpire triplex resurfaces as NYC’s priciest owner sale ever

Triplex condo, previously listed with Elliman’s Raphael De Niro, once again asking $100M

TRD New York /
May.May 16, 2013 04:30 PM

UPDATED, 6:58 p.m., May 16: The triplex penthouse at the CitySpire Center in Midtown, listed last year for $100 million, hit the market again today with the same price tag, but a new broker. Sort of. Owner Steven Klar is listing the condominium himself, StreetEasy shows, making the home the priciest for sale by owner (FSBO) listing in Manhattan apartment history.

The 8,000-square-foot octagonal unit, located at 150 West 56th Street, has six bedrooms and nine bathrooms spread across the 73rd, 74th and 75th floors, and comes with 3,000 square feet of wraparound terrace space.

The apartment is by far the priciest FSBO listing on the market today, with the next most expensive, a co-op unit at 860 Park Avenue, asking $12.5 million, according to StreetEasy data provided to The Real Deal.

Klar, president of Long Island real estate developer the Klar Organization, had previously listed the home in July 2012 with Douglas Elliman’s Raphael De Niro and Victoria Logvinsky.

The apartment attracted some attention, most notably from Nick Candy, the developer of London’s One Hyde Park, who toured it in April.

Yet despite a publicity whirlwind — at one point, Elliman Chairman Howard Lorber gave a televised tour of the home — the unit languished on the market.

The developer pulled the listing in January, about six months, or the typical length of an exclusive listing contract, after he first put it up for sale.

“Douglas Elliman, they definitely did promote it well,” Klar told The Real Deal.

But after the exclusive expired, Klar said he decided that he would let his brokerage Klar Realty, “which has been in business for over 60 years, take a shot at it.”

Klar bought the apartment in 1993 for $4.5 million off the lender that took control of CitySpire from developer Ian Bruce Eichner. Klar, along with Zeckendorf Realty, had been brought in to complete the building and market the remaining units, but he reportedly took a liking to the penthouse originally intended for Eichner, and purchased it.

“Art is what people are willing to pay for, and an apartment like this is like a piece of art,” Klar told the New York Times when he listed it last year.

However, real estate appraiser Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel told The Real Deal that if De Niro — whom Miller described as “one of the most successful and effective brokers in the business” — was unable to find a buyer, “it seems unrealistic to throw it on at the same price.”

Indeed, while the essayistic Elliman listing used evocative language, describing the apartment as a “magnificent residence in the sky” and the master suite as “the ideal retreat from the bustling city below,” the new listing, first spotted by the New York Observer, is far shorter and more matter-of-fact, simply listing the bedrooms, bathrooms and features.

De Niro and Logvinsky did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Klar’s inability to find a buyer so far may have something to do with the asking price. The apartment is worth closer to $25 million, according to a residential real estate expert who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

“While penthouses can be unique, they don’t live in a vacuum,” he said, noting that the nearly 700,000-square-foot mixed-use development was constructed in the 1980s and did not have the cachet of the nearby One57 or 15 Central Park West, both of which have had multiple $80 million-plus listings.

Indeed, when the property first hit the market last year, several top luxury brokers scoffed at the price, as The Real Deal reported. At the time, the penthouse was asking almost three times as much per square foot as its nearest Midtown rivals, according to The Real Deal’s analysis of apartment prices in the neighborhood.

When asked why he believed the apartment was worth the $100 million price tag, Klar said, “I like going out on my terraces, and I think other people will enjoy that too.”

But, he added,”really, I don’t know what it’s worth. I’m not going to say I’ll take a $100 [million] and nothing less.”

Elliman’s listing describes the apartment as “designed by the renowned Juan Pablo Molyneux,” but the designer previously disassociated  himself completely from the project.

“I never stepped in that apartment,” Molyneux told The Real Deal today. “I did the preliminary paperwork for the design, and that was it.”

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