The sprawling penthouse that tops 212 Fifth Avenue almost wasn’t: The developers initially planned to split the condo unit and market it as two separate homes.
Now, the latest offering plans for the office-building-turned-residential condominium show that developers Madison Equities and Thor Equities decided to combine the two units into a 10,079-square-foot triplex. The decision comes as other property owners do the exact opposite — separate large condo units to match the softening luxury market. Macklowe Properties and the CIM Group, for example, divided full floor units at its 432 Park Avenue in November. And Madison in fact took the same route for its triplex penthouse at 10 Sullivan Street, chopping the 8,400-square-foot unit into two.
Madison owner Robert Gladstone said that they wanted to adhere to a more traditional penthouse format in a building that has been restored to recapture its neo-Gothic charm.
“The one is far greater than the two, and that’s more than just by math. Historically, the finest penthouses in the world had a few things in common, they were at the ultimate, there was no one above them,” he told The Real Deal on Friday. “If we cheapened it and made it more like everyone else’s, I think we would have lost market share.”
For now, the building has a projected sellout of $445 million, according to documents filed with the New York State Attorney General’s Office. Gladstone said he hasn’t yet settled on an offering price for the five-bedroom penthouse. The developers are in the process of enclosing the top-floor unit and plan to keep it as a “raw box” for the new owner. If the unit doesn’t sell as a blank slate, then they’ll eventually build it out themselves, Gladstone said.
The other 46 units in the building range in price from $4.4 million to $28.5 million. To date, 18 of the units are in contract, according to listing database Online Residential. Town New Development is marketing the condos.
Madison, Thor and Building & Land Technologies purchased the 24-story building from Extell Development in 2015 for $260 million. A few months later, the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the conversion of the office building for residential use. During a tour of the building in April, Gladstone told TRD that restoring the building’s limestone façade and the parapet cost more than $6 million. Many of the building’s cornices had fallen off or deteriorated over the years, but those that remained intact were used to create molds for replacements made of reinforced concrete. Admiring the building from Madison Square Park, Gladstone said he wanted to honor the architecture and “vocabulary” of the neighborhood. He also wanted to help restore a piece of the city’s history.
“I’m a New Yorker, and it’s a beautiful building,” he said.