Glenview’s Robbins behind $38M UES penthouse buy

Hedge funder wrote apology to investors last week for 15 percent losses this year

The Charles NYC
Larry Robbins (credit: Forbes) and 1355 First Avenue (credit: Ismael Leyva Architects)

Times may be tough for hedge funder Larry Robbins’ Glenview Capital Management, but that hasn’t gotten in the way of his taste in real estate. The private equity titan was the buyer of a $37.9 million penthouse at the Charles condo building on the Upper East Side this summer.

Robbins, who has a net worth pegged at $2.3 billion and whose primary residence is a sprawling mansion in Alpine, N.J., combined two duplex penthouses in Bluerock Real Estate’s Ismael Leyva-designed building at 1355 First Avenue, between East 72nd and East 73rd streets.

The new spread totals 11,740 square feet, including private terraces that cover 1,300 square feet, according to the New York Times. Robbins purchased the apartments through a limited liability company called CRE Acquisition and plans to use the new spread as a second home, per mortgage documents.

The penthouse’s $37.9 million sale price is the highest ever paid for any apartment on the Upper East Side located east of Third Avenue, according to CityRealty. Monthly fees for the property amount to $10,547, and Robbins financed the buy with a $22 million mortgage.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

In addition, a family member of Robbins’, shielded by another LLC, bought an adjoining penthouse at the Charles for $20.7 million. That purchase was made for investment purposes and financed with a $12.9 million mortgage, according to documents.

The big buy came during a trying time for Glenview Capital, the $8.8 billion hedge fund Robbins founded in 2000. The fund has stumbled after years of strong returns; last week, Robbins wrote a seven-page apology to investors for losing 15 percent of their money so far this year, and promised to forfeit his pay for 2015.

Robbins’ penthouse purchase is actually dwarfed by hedge fund rivals. Citadel founder Ken Griffin reportedly spent $200 million to buy several floors at Vornado Realty Trust’s 220 Central Park South condo tower.

Pershing Square Capital Management’s Bill Ackman, meanwhile, led a group of investors who paid $91.5 million for a six-bedroom spread at Extell Development’s One57 in Midtown.

Ackman’s firm, like Robbins’, hasn’t had a great year — Pershing Square is down 19 percent after its position in Canadian pharmaceutical company Valeant plunged more than $2 billion in recent weeks. [NYT]Rey Mashayekhi