The Real Deal New York

Silverstein: Amazon can save Midtown’s luxury condo market

Developer thinks e-commerce execs will buy pricey units
By Konrad Putzier | November 28, 2018 01:30PM

Left to right: 111 West 57th Street, 157 West 57th Street, 220 Central Park South, and 432 Park Avenue with Larry Silverstein (Credit: Getty Images)

Larry Silverstein thinks Amazon might bail out Midtown Manhattan’s struggling high-end condominium towers.

“Long Island City is one, sometimes two, subway stops from Park Avenue and 59th Street,” Silverstein said. “There are going to be a lot of executives in Long Island City.”

“Could that part of Manhattan get lucky because executives at Amazon want to live close to where they work? Highly possible,” he added.

The chairman of Silverstein Properties spoke at a panel discussion at his condo development One West End with Douglas Elliman’s Susan De Franca and Fredrik Eklund on Wednesday. While he acknowledged that a surge of new condo supply across Midtown could take years to sell, Silverstein argued that Amazon’s impending arrival could help accelerate the process.

The e-commerce giant recently announced that it will open an office for around 25,000 employees on the Queens waterfront, in exchange for $1.7 billion in tax credits (which doesn’t include the as-of-right incentives, which could put the total over $3 billion). The planned move reportedly already led to a spike in demand for Long Island City condos, with some Amazon employees buying units before the company made its announcement.

The median sales price for Manhattan new development condos fell by 8.8 percent between the third quarter of 2017 and the third quarter of 2018, to $2.67 million, according to a report by Douglas Elliman and Miller Samuel, while the median price of luxury units fell by 9.7 percent to $6.56 million.

In January, Silverstein and Elad Group landed a $300 million condo inventory loan for One West End, which sits on the corner of 11th Avenue and West 59th Street.