$30M Stanhope unit in contract to New York family

Deal marks end of five-year saga for building's final sponsor unit

A New York family has purchased the final sponsor unit at Extell Development’s 995 Fifth Avenue cond-op, after a five-year stretch where three brokerages attempted to sell the 8,360-square-foot apartment. The full-floor, seven-bedroom unit was last listed with Nikki Field of Sotheby’s International Realty for $30 million. The apartment was first listed for $35.5 million, when Extell was in the process converting the 26-unit former Stanhope Hotel into a cond-op.

While Field declined to go into further detail about the buyer’s identity or the final price, citing a confidentiality agreement, she said she was surprised that the purchaser was local.

“Contrary to all of our other large trades recently, it was purchased by a New York family, not an international purchaser,” Field said.

The prospective sale was not the priciest in the building — that honor goes to the penthouse that sold for almost $34.8 million in 2008 — but it may have been the most circuitous.

Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group, the building’s exclusive marketing agent, first listed the unit in May 2007, but after several price cuts, Extell yanked it off the market.

Two years later, the developer brought on Michele Kleier and Samantha Kleier Forbes of Gumley Haft Kleier to help Corcoran sell it. But, even priced at $27.5 million and after an appearance on HGTV’s “Selling New York” in 2010, the property failed to move.

Field came on board in November and relisted the apartment in mid-March at $30 million.

In the interim, the developer renovated the home, tearing down walls to take advantage of Central Park views and outfitting it with new finishes and furniture custom-designed by interior designer Felicia Zwebner. Though the furniture was also for sale, the buyer didn’t want it, Field said.

The 16th-floor apartment features 9.5 bathrooms, a private guest wing and an elevator that opens onto a “grand gallery appropriate for a significant art collection,” the listing says.

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As for why the unit took so long to sell, Field blamed a flat market that picked up only recently, with a number of mega-deals closing in the last two quarters.

“I would like to say it was finally the right broker, Sotheby’s,” Field joked. “Perhaps a tiny bit of it was Sotheby’s, but the majority of it was time.”

The buyer’s broker was an agent at Prudential Douglas Elliman, Field said, but she declined to identify the broker by name, and representatives for Elliman did not return a request for comment.

Meanwhile, beer heiress and fashion doyenne Daphne Guinness recently relisted her four-bedroom apartment in the building for $14 million with Dan Neiditch, president of River 2 River Realty.

Guinness, whose mammoth wardrobe was the subject of a recent exhibition at the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Museum at FIT, had originally listed the unit with independent broker Ron Teitelbaum in January, but she opted not to renew their six-month exclusive, he told The Real Deal late last month.

While the Stanhope is “a good building,” Teitelbaum said, “it’s not what everyone wants,” noting the additional rules that come with cond-ops, which are built on land that is leased, not owned.

While cond-ops lack many of the rules that plague traditional co-ops, they often have higher maintenance fees because of the added monthly costs of lease payments. Those higher charges are often factored into reduced purchase prices, Field said.

Neiditch said he was not sure why Guinness planned to sell but speculated she might want to downsize from the 4,118-square-foot apartment.

“We took it over so we can get it sold,” Neiditch said.