Do these NYC apartments warrant their $90M listing prices?

Jul.July 01, 2013 07:00 AM

The penthouse at the Pierre Hotel

Ever since financier Sandy Weill’s apartment at 15 Central Park West hit the market — and quickly sold — for a record-breaking $88 million in December 2011, a $90 million New York City listing no longer comes as a shock. In fact, some eight New York City homes in the $90 million-plus range are now on the market or in contract.

“What the 15 Central Park West sale did was catapult the market into uncharted territory,” said Nick Jabbour, a broker at Nest Seekers International. “[It’s] a market where anything is possible.”

Just what qualities does a NYC home need to justify a $90 million-plus price tag? For starters, brokers recommended proximity to Central Park, more than 10,000 square feet of space, and a prestigious address, such as Park Avenue or Central Park West.

We asked a panel of experts to weigh in on the city’s recent high eight-figure listings and tried to find out (when brokers were forthcoming) what they might sell for.

The Pierre Hotel

795 Fifth Avenue, PHE – PHW

Asking price: $125 million

Status: Listed in April with Elizabeth Sample, Brenda Powers and Serena Boardman of Sotheby’s International Realty

Square footage: Undisclosed

Current owner: The estate of financial expert Martin Zweig

Features: Co-op units at the Pierre offer residents a 24/7 on-call physician, twice-daily maid service and elevator attendants. This triplex penthouse, once the ballroom of the hotel, features 360-degree views of Manhattan.

Expert opinions: Part of the unit’s value is its “iconic” location inside an internationally recognized luxury hotel, said Stan Ponte, a luxury broker at Sotheby’s.

Plus, “anyone who looks at those pictures and looks at that space — if you could afford that, you would buy it,” he said.

But would-be buyers have to get past the stringent co-op board, and that shrinks the pool of potential purchasers, explained Max Dobens, a broker at Douglas Elliman. “It’s not [just] a matter of having the money,” he explained. “Co-ops are like country clubs. They’re exclusive and prestigious. Not everybody will get in.”

One Beacon Court

151 East 58th Street, PH51W

Asking price: $115 million

Status: Listed in April with Deborah Grubman of the Corcoran Group

Square footage: 9,000

Current owner: Hedge fund founder 
Steven Cohen

Features: This duplex penthouse features 24-foot ceilings, two walls of windows, Venetian plaster, maple floors and a security system, according to the listing. One Beacon Court, also known as the Bloomberg Tower, offers concierge services, a children’s playroom, and business and fitness centers.

Expert opinions: Several brokers told TRD that they are skeptical that this apartment will fetch its hefty asking price. “I would be very surprised if it sold for that price,” said Richard Steinberg, a broker at Warburg Realty, who estimated that the unit will eventually trade for $75 to $80 million. “Nothing in the building has even rivaled that [$115 million sum]. The location is not prime — it’s not on Fifth; it’s not on Park.”


150 West 56th Street, PH

Asking price: $100 million

Status: Listed July 2012 with Raphael De Niro of Douglas Elliman; taken off the market in January 2013; relisted in May with Colleen Brooks of Klar Realty.

Square footage: 8,000

Current owner: Real estate developer Steven Klar

Features: This triplex penthouse has the highest terrace in the U.S., some 73 to 75 stories up. The 3,000 feet of exterior space has 360-degree views of the city. The apartment also includes a private elevator, a wine cellar and separate maid’s quarters. The CitySpire condominium, built in 1987, has a 50-foot pool and a parking garage.

Expert opinions: This apartment “definitely is not worth” $100 million, said Frank Ragusa, an independent broker who has had listings in the building. Based on the unit’s 8,000 square feet and CitySpire’s amenities and age, he predicted the unit will sell for $30 to $40 million.

Klar told TRD: “I will admit it’s not a new building like One57, and it may not have the cachet of 15 Central Park [West], but what it has, which they don’t have, is the outdoor experience. I can walk outside and I can see every part of New York City.”

But he added: “Will I say it’s going to be $100 million or nothing? No.”

Two penthouses at One57

157 West 57th Street

Price: $90 million to $100 million each

Status: In contract

Square footage: 10,923 and 13,554

Features: When complete, Extell Development’s 1,000-foot-plus One57 condominium, above a Park Hyatt hotel, will include an indoor pool, a fitness center, a performance room, a private dining area and a library. These two duplex penthouses are each in contract for more than $90 million (although Extell declined to give the exact pricing). The 13,554-square-foot “Winter Garden” penthouse is on the 75th and 76th floors, while the 10,923-square-foot unit is on the 89th and 90th floors.

Expert opinions: The “worldwide renown that Extell was able to create [around One57] was very effective in making it a brag-worthy acquisition,” Nest Seeker’s Jabbour said.

Sources have said One57’s one-of-a-kind Central park views — due to its height — contribute to the building’s cachet. “When you’re in the building and you see the views, you get a sense of ownership of the city,” Sotheby’s Ponte said. “That’s what people are buying. And they’re also buying an asset to protect their wealth.”

Sherry Netherland

781 Fifth Avenue, 18th floor

Asking price: $95 million

Status: Listed September 2012 with Lisa Simonsen of Douglas Elliman and Kathy Sloane of Brown Harris Stevens

Square footage: 9,000

Current owner: Liberty Travel co-founder Gilbert Haroche

Features: Co-op units at the Sherry Netherland hotel provide twice-daily maid service, dining at the in-house restaurant, Cipriani’s, and membership to Doubles, a private club in the building. This 15-room apartment has a terrace overlooking Central Park.

Expert opinions: “If it’s been on the market [since September], it’s not going to sell for its ask,” Elliman’s Dobens said. “The seller is either fishing or not realistic or both.”

But Ponte, who has several listings at the Sherry Netherland, said properties of this stature tend to sit on the market longer. And, he noted: “if you’re asking $125 million two buildings away [at the Pierre], $95 million starts to become a deal.”

432 Park Avenue penthouse

Asking price: $95 million

Status: Developers CIM Group and Harry Macklowe reportedly have the unit in contract

Square footage: Undisclosed

Features: Slated to become the city’s tallest residential building when completed in 2015, the 1,396-foot tower has 10 full-floor penthouses, one of which is priced at $95 million. Buyers can purchase maids’ quarters on lower floors, as well as personal wine cellars. Other amenities include a private restaurant, a 75-foot swimming pool and valet parking.

Expert opinions: Even with the building’s star status and unrivaled amenities, Warburg’s Steinberg said the $95 million ask is a little high. Then again, “I compare [luxury real estate] to a piece of contemporary art,” he said. “The purchase of an apartment for $95 million is as much about saying you can afford to buy it as it is the value of the property.”

The Woolworth mansion

4 East 80th Street

Asking price: $90 million

Status: No longer available; listed with Paula Del Nunzio of Brown Harris Stevens in September 2012; taken off the market in March 2013.

Square footage: 19,950

Current owner: The estate of fitness entrepreneur Lucille Roberts

Features: The townhouse is 35 feet wide and has a limestone façade. Complete in 1916, it has 14-foot ceilings and a dining room that can seat more than 50 people.

Expert opinions: Warburg’s Steinberg said the house will ultimately sell for around $50 million because it has not undergone major renovations to modernize the home. “It’s very formal,” he said. “Someone will want to rework some of the spaces to make it more family friendly.” In fact, Steinberg said he was asked to market the property, but turned it down because he thought $90 million was too aggressive an asking price.

Correction: A previously published version of this story said that 432 Park Avenue’s 10 penthouses were all listed for $95 million. In fact, only one penthouse is listed for that amount. 

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