UPDATED April 1, 2020: Kuwait is joining the club of nations whose New York-based diplomats enjoy a short commute and high-rise living at 50 United Nations Plaza.
The oil-rich nation has bought a $16.1 million dollar pad at the East Side building. It will serve as the personal residence of its consul general in New York, Hamad Al-Hazeem, who signed the deed.
The sponsor unit on the 40th floor appeared on the market last June, asking $18.25 million. Newly available records show it went into contract in August and closed on March 9, a week before Gov. Andrew Cuomo began implementing what became a sweeping stay-at-home order.
The 5,893-square-foot pad has expansive entertaining rooms facing the East River and the United Nations visitor center and headquarters. It has five large bedrooms and two smaller rooms designated in the floor plan for staff.
The 88-unit condominium was a project of Zeckendorf Development and Global Holdings. Sales launched in 2013.
Al-Hazeem told The Real Deal by email that he chose the apartment because it is suitable for entertaining, close to the U.N. building, and has a driveway that provides safety for his children as they go to and from school.
The building’s initial project sellout was north of $711 million, but it has been lowered to about $642 million, according to filings at the New York attorney general’s office. The city’s condo market has been dragged down by a glut of new supply and $33 billion worth of unlisted, unsold inventory.
Kuwait opened its New York consulate last year in the Lotte New York Palace Hotel. But it’s almost a rite of passage among some diplomats to buy a penthouse at the Turtle Bay tower.
The U.S. Mission to the United Nations snapped up a 37th-floor sponsor unit last June for $15.85 million. Earlier in spring 2019, the British Consulate-General in New York had purchased a sponsor unit of its own, one floor above, for $15.9 million.
Years earlier, the Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar acquired four apartments for a total of about $45 million. And the head of the New Zealand mission to the United Nations bought a three-bedroom unit on the 18th floor for $8 million in 2015.
Other big-name residents include Jay Baker, the former head of department store Kohl’s, who purchased a unit with his wife one floor below the Kuwait consulate’s apartment back in June.
Write to Erin Hudson at [email protected]
Editor’s note: Comments from Al-Hazeem were added after he provided a statement.