In Chelsea, biggest sales didn’t guarantee profit

Priciest deal and three others in year’s top 10 lost money

334 West 20th Street and 551 West 21st Street (Compass, StreetEasy, iStock)
334 West 20th Street and 551 West 21st Street (Compass, StreetEasy, iStock)

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Making the 10 most expensive sales in Chelsea last year wasn’t enough to keep sellers out of the red.

Four out of the six resales on that list sold at a loss, according to TRD Pro research. And even though Manhattan’s condo market had a strong 2021 in general, all of Chelsea’s top 10 home sales were for below the asking price.

The top sale in the neighborhood was an 18th-floor unit in Walker Towers at 212 West 18th Street. It sold for $23.5 million, nearly $1.5 million below the asking price and $500,000 less than it sold for in 2016.

Four of Chelsea’s top 10 sales were in Walker Tower, whose condo board made headlines in 2020 for suing to block the low-ball sale of the penthouse seized by federal marshals in a money-laundering investigation, and last year for suing to evict the buyer and take back the unit.

Of those four top-10 sales at Walker Tower, only one — of a duplex joining the 15th and 16th floors — sold for more (by 31 percent) than the owners had paid. The price was still nearly a quarter below the ask.

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One of the money-losing Walker Tower sales came at the expense of David Krieger, a senior adviser at private equity firm Warburg Pincus’ energy group, and his wife Devorah Rose, a socialite and editor of Hamptons-based magazine Social Life.

Krieger assembled two units in Walker Towers for a combined $16.6 million and spent an unknown amount renovating the space into a stylish duplex, but sold it for a mere $15.3 million last June.

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But the biggest haircut among the top 10 came on a unit at 551 West 21st Street, which sold for 27 percent less than its 2016 price.

The biggest moneymaker was Chelsea’s second priciest deal — the record-breaking sale of a 19th-century townhouse at 334 West 20th Street in the neighborhood’s historic district. Fred Wilpon’s Sterling Equities spent an undisclosed amount on a two-year renovation of the property, which then fetched $22.5 million last November — a record for a townhouse sale in Chelsea, and more than one and a half times its 2015 purchase price.