LA Fitness chief sells Walker Tower PH for $45M

Louis Welch paid $40M for 6,700 sf pad in 2014

212 West 18th Street #Ph2
212 West 18th Street #Ph2

UPDATED: June 23, 4:12 p.m.: Without breaking much of a sweat, LA Fitness CEO Louis Welch sold his Walker Tower penthouse condominium unit for $45 million, two years after paying $40 million for the sprawling Chelsea pad.

Challenging the notion that sales are sluggish on the high end of Manhattan’s residential market, a mystery buyer – identified as Walker Tower 1-8 LLC – paid just over $6,678 per square foot for Penthouse 2, according to property records filed with the city Thursday. The buyer went into contract May 20 and closed June 10.

“It wasn’t listed and the buyer came out of nowhere. They bought and closed very quickly,” said Douglas Elliman’s Vickey Barron, who sold the apartment on behalf of the sponsors in 2014. “When I sold it to him, I said, ‘You’ll thank us one day.’”

In the latest transaction, the Corcoran Group’s Carrie Chiang represented the seller. Corcoran’s Jerry Huang brought the buyer. Both declined to comment.

In 2014, Welch paid $40.3 million, or just over $6,044 per foot, for the five-bedroom condo, public records show. The unit has 360-degree views and three wood-burning fireplaces.

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Developed by Michael Stern’s JDS Development Group and Kevin Maloney’s Property Markets Group, Walker Tower rises 23 stories and has 47 units. The Art Deco building was constructed in 1929 and served as an office for Verizon before JDS and PMG converted it into high-end condos.

As a high-end condominium, the building has set Downtown sales records. In 2014, hospitality executive Neil Moffitt paid $50.9 million for Penthouse 1. He later re-listed the 6,000-square-foot pad for $70 million, before dropping the price to $55 million. As of April, it was no longer on the market, according to StreetEasy.

Barron, who sold Moffitt his unit and lives in the building, said she’s “more than pleased” about selling Penthouse 2 for $45 million. But she said Penthouse 3, currently listed for nearly $40 million, is larger and the seller put more than $2 million into renovations.

“It’s off-the-charts good,” said Barron. “Whoever sells Penthouse 3 should raise their price.”