Barnett fears billionaire construction wars at One57

Gary Barnett and One57
Gary Barnett and One57

The so called “billionaire’s club” that has recently formed on the top 15 floors of Midtown’s One57 building, has developer Gary Barnett worried about a possible “gripe fest,” according to the New York Times. Several of the new owners of the building’s top sections have commissioned their own
designers to finish their full-floor apartments and the construction could become a potential disturbance to their well-heeled and fussy neighbors.

“This was a major, major issue for us,” Barnett said. “We don’t want our people who are buying and accepting our finishes to be sitting there for three or four years while tons of construction goes on in the building and people build out their spaces. It ties up elevators and creates dust and noise. We are doing everything possible to avoid that.”

Seven of the building’s 11 full-floor units and two duplex units have already sold to a group of mostly undisclosed billionaires that includes fashion moguls Silas Chou and Lawrence Stroll – both paying about $50 million for their 85th and 82nd-floor units. Both Chou and Stroll plan to finish their units themselves rather than with Extell’s Danish designer Thomas Juul-Hansen.

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To head-off potential construction headaches, Barnett has made agreements with the full-floor buyers to allow Extell to do most of the “heavy-work.” But in cases where agreements could not be reached, Barnett has notoriously denied potential buyers access.

“The guy wanted to do his own stuff and wouldn’t let us do what we were going to do,” Barnett said. “I said, ‘Forget it, I don’t want to go through with this.’ ”

But while Barnett apparently is not desperate to sell, he already has more than $1 billion in contract at One57, with about 60 percent of the units sold. [NYT]Christopher Cameron