The penthouse at 520 Park Avenue — once seeking $130 million — was among several trophy apartments seeking nine-figure sums when it hit the market in 2014. But that was then, this is now.
In recent months, Zeckendorf Development quietly joined the ranks of developers opting to split once-massive penthouses into two or more smaller units. In 520 Park’s case, what was once planned as a 12,398-square-foot triplex is now being offered as a simplex seeking $40 million and duplex priced between $80 million and $100 million.
The developers couldn’t be reached for comment, but sources familiar with the decision said they realized last year that the triplex was simply too big.
“It was easier to sell a full-floor and a duplex,” said Jeffrey Fields of R New York, who represented the buyer of a $68 million condo at 520 Park that closed last month. “The developers realized it would make sense to create another duplex.”
Although the Zeckendorfs scaled back the penthouse offering, several brokers who’ve done deals in the building said they’re not desperate to sell the top unit. They said multiple buyers have bid on the duplex penthouse — only to be turned down. “They’re not in a rush,” one agent said. “They can wait until the crown jewel of the building is finished and get the highest and best price for the crown jewel.”
Starting last year, a string of wealthy buyers have closed on unit at the Robert A.M. Stern-designed building, which has just 33 units. They include Vacuum cleaner mogul James Dyson, who paid $73.8 million for a 9,000-square-foot penthouse, and billionaire investment banker Ken Moelis (brother of affordable housing developer Ron Moelis), who dropped $62 million for his duplex.
According to Fields, carving up the triplex penthouse made sense given the high demand for duplex units. It also followed the playbook of several developers who scaled back once-grand penthouses to appeal to a wider pool of buyers.
In late 2015, Macklowe Properties and CIM Group reluctantly split several full-floor units at 432 Park Avenue. So did the developers of 10 Sullivan, who divided a $45 million penthouse into two apartments. And hotelier and developer Ian Schrager a 12,000-square-foot penthouse seeking $45 million into two smaller units.
For 432 Park, splitting up several full-floor units turned out well for Macklowe and CIM. Caryl Englander, wife of hedge funder Israel Englander, paid $60 million to reinstate a full-floor pad on the 91st floor.