Manhattan’s 15 Central Park West Fuels Ultra-Luxury Condo Surge | Bedford Corners Realtor

Apartment owners at Manhattan’s 15 Central Park West, home to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein and the musician Sting, are seeking to double their investments after the complex shattered price records and sparked a wave of ultra-luxury listings.

Four condos have hit the market since May with asking prices at an average 192 percent premium over what owners paid in 2007 and 2008, according to data from StreetEasy.com. The priciest listing came last week, with Leroy Schecter, chairman of metalworks firm Marino/Ware Industries Inc., seeking $95 million for a five-bedroom unit on the 35th floor.

The dual limestone towers have set a standard for New York’s trophy-home market, which has seen a surge in demand from investors and foreign buyers. The sale in February of former Citigroup Inc. Chairman Sanford Weill’s penthouse for a record $88 million has emboldened owners in Manhattan to “test the waters” for expensive properties, said Jonathan Miller, president of appraiser Miller Samuel Inc.

“Sellers are a lot more confident in this building than probably any other building,” said Sofia Song, vice president of research at New York-based StreetEasy, a property-listings website. “There’s not a whole lot of inventory or product out there that’s like 15 Central Park West. When the demand is intense, that’s when you get these crazy prices.”

Beats Gold

If history is an indication, the sellers aren’t far off the mark. The 12 most recent transactions at 15 Central Park West averaged $17.3 million, 103 percent more than their original purchase prices, according to data compiled by StreetEasy. That return beat gold, which rose 88 percent since the beginning of 2008, when most buyers at the complex were moving into their apartments.

Weill and his wife, Joan, paid $43.7 million for the 6,744- square-foot (627-square-meter) full-floor condo in 2007, city property records show.

Schecter’s apartment offers unobstructed views of Central Park to the east and the Hudson River to the west. The property is a combination of two units, one of which was rented by New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez, that were purchased in 2008 for a total of $26 million, according to Emily Beare of CORE, the broker representing him. Schecter is renovating the space.

“It’s almost like a work of art,” Beare said. “It is an investment. You’re investing in one of the best properties in the world.”

‘Anything’s Possible’

The market will determine whether he and the other sellers get what they’re asking, said Miller.

“Anything’s possible,” he said. “But just because one transaction or a couple of transactions broke a record doesn’t translate into guaranteed results for its neighbors.”

A fifth unit at 15 Central Park West is listed for $35 million, 76 percent more than the purchase price.

Arthur and William Lie Zeckendorf built the $800 million project on a plot two blocks north of Columbus Circle, the traffic hub that connects the Upper West Side and Midtown. Robert A.M. Stern, now dean of the Yale School of Architecture, designed the 19-story “house” and 43-story “tower,” as they are known, to evoke the Art Deco luxury apartment buildings of the early 1900s.

“The ambiance of the entire property is casual elegance,” said Noel Berk, a broker at Mercedes/Berk Private Real Estate in New York. “There’s an informality about it, a non-pretension.”

Private Garden

Residents have access to a swimming pool, dining room, movie theater, conference rooms and a communal deck that’s the site of the annual building-organized viewing of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. A driveway off 61st Street into the garden allows discreet passage for residents who want privacy.

It’s “the single best amenity package I have ever seen,” said Dolly Lenz, vice chairman at Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate.

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