JDS’ Michael Stern lists Walker Tower pad
for $28M

Developer paid $16M in 2014
By E.B. Solomont | June 04, 2019 06:45PM

Walker Tower’s newest listing comes with the developer’s personal stamp of approval.

JDS Development Group’s Michael Stern listed his own duplex at Chelsea condominium for $27.8 million — around $11.8 million more than he paid for the pad in 2014.

Spanning 4,749 square feet, the unit features a 686-square-foot terrace, four bedrooms and a media area. The asking price works out to around $5,855 per square foot, according to a listing from Compass’ Vickey Barron, who was the sales director at Walker Tower when JDS and PMG originally launched sales in 2012. The 49-unit project was a conversion of the former Verizon building at 212 West 18th Street.

Stern purchased the unit through a corporate entity, WT 15B LLC, for $16 million in 2014, records show. That’s roughly two years after the developer launched sales at the project, a 49-unit condo conversion that JDS developed with Property Markets Group.

The redevelopment project very much put Stern on the map. He and Kevin Maloney’s PMG paid $25 million to buy the property from Lehman Brothers in the middle of the financial crisis.

The project also sparked interest in its original architect, Ralph Walker.

“The initial idea for trying to look into that old history came from myself and Shaun Osher [founder of CORE, which handled sales at Walker Tower],” Stern told The Real Deal in 2018.
“We were in a room brainstorming saying, “Hey, what are we going to do to sell this Verizon building and not have it referred to as the Verizon building?”

Later on, JDS converted Stella Tower, another former telephone building designed by the architect. Magnum Real Estate Group and CIM Group’s 100 Barclay is another condo conversion of a Walker-designed building.

The same year that Stern bought his unit at Walker Tower, a penthouse there sold for $50.9 million, setting a record for Downtown. That was surpassed last year when private equity chief Richard Smith scooped up a $59 million penthouse at the Getty. This month, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos reportedly paid around $80 million for three condos at 212 Fifth Avenue. That deal included a penthouse that was asking $58 million.

Stern is far from the only developer to live in a building of his own design.

PMG principals Kevin Maloney and Elliott Joseph also bought condos at Walker Tower; Joseph listed his two units for a combined $44.5 million in 2014, but ultimately sold them separately for less.

Stern did not immediately comment on the listing, nor did Barron. Last year, the developer forked over $10.9 million for a waterfront property in Miami Beach.

Walker Tower has attracted a number of celeb buyers — Cameron Diaz reportedly bought an apartment in the building, and it’s rumored that Harrison Ford and Katie Holmes did, as well. The Walker Tower penthouse hit the market asking $34 million earlier this year after being linked to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad. scandal.