The news that Airbnb CFO Laurence Tosi is asking $26.5 million for his Soho penthouse got us at TRD thinking – what would Tosi’s four-bedroom, 5,900-square-foot duplex go for on the popular home-sharing service?
Before we get started on this little exercise, let’s remember that if Tosi were to rent out the penthouse for 30 days or less, he would have to stay in the unit to remain on the right side of New York state law. In effect, he’d be looking for a short-term roommate. But we have no reason to think an Airbnb host would be anything less than compliant with the law, so let’s just move on, OK?
How’s the pad?
In a word, it’s swanky.
Tosi, formerly the CFO of private equity giant the Blackstone Group, bought the penthouse at Aby Rosen’s 350 West Broadway for $17.6 million in 2012 after the unit had languished on the market for three years. He quickly went to work jazzing up the 1,400-square-foot rooftop terrace with a plunge pool and some landscaping. Now he’s ready to cash in, for a $9 million markup, as the New York Daily News reported last week. But could he make more by renting it through his very own company?
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that apartments like Tosi’s aren’t easily found on Airbnb. As of Aug. 10, there were only three Manhattan apartments listed on the company’s website that match the 350 West Broadway penthouse’s four bedrooms and five bathrooms.
Of those, the priciest is a six-bedroom, 5.5-bath Upper East Side townhouse three blocks from Central Park, between Park and Lexington avenues. Asking price? Prepare to spend $2,520 a night.
Further uptown, another Upper East Side townhouse – listed as a 5,000-square-foot property with four bedrooms and six bathrooms – is seeking $1,500 a night, as well as offering a monthly rate of $30,000. And even further north, in Harlem’s Mount Morris Park section, is a five-bedroom, 5.5-bath “getaway” mansion available for $1,000 a night or $5,000 a week.
None of the uptown properties really fit the profile of Tosi’s penthouse – a top-floor duplex with 360-degree views in the heart of Soho – but a quick trip Downtown finds more comparable properties and even higher prices.
There’s a 5,000-square-foot penthouse on Mercer Street in Soho – featuring three bedrooms, three bathrooms and a private roof deck measuring 1,500 square feet – seeking up to $4,750 per night, depending on the season and the number of guests. Further west, a four-bed, four-bath Tribeca loft is asking $2,295 per night, though the apartment measures a mere 2,800 square feet.
And if the East Village is more your scene, a four-bed, three-bath, five-story townhouse on East 10th Street is going for $3,000 a night or $14,000 a week.
Perhaps the most comparable unit to Tosi’s penthouse on Airbnb is one of the most expensive listings – a “breathtaking” two-story penthouse on Broome Street in Soho, with three bedrooms, three baths and a 700-square-foot walkout terrace.
But even that Broome Street penthouse can’t compare to 350 West Broadway’s – the duplex is only 2,100 square feet, almost three times smaller than Tosi’s apartment. And when considering that the penthouse’s $5,000 nightly rate sums up to a little over $1.8 million a year – assuming there’s no discounted monthly rate involved – Tosi’s decision to forego his company’s platform and put his apartment up for sale seems all the wiser.
Does the math add up for Tosi?
Not even Airbnb’s most expensive New York City listing this year – a two-bed, one-bath unit in Central Park Gardens, at 50 West 97th Street on the Upper West Side, that asked a remarkable $10,000 a night when it was available – could stack up to the CFO’s luxe apartment.
That nightly rate would amount to $3.65 million a year, meaning it would take Tosi more than seven years to make up the current $26.5 million asking price on the 350 West Broadway penthouse.
Then again, there’s a chance Tosi could find offloading his apartment just as difficult as Rosen did – when three years without any takers meant having to slash the original asking price by $8.4 million.
At which point, maybe he should think about Airbnbing it?