Israel Englander, the founder and chief executive officer of hedge-fund firm Millennium Management LLC, bought a duplex apartment on New York’s Park Avenue for $71.3 million, a record price for a Manhattan co-op.
The seller was the government of France, New York City property records filed on Aug. 30 show. The six-bedroom unit at 740 Park Ave. was listed for $48 million in April, according to real estate website StreetEasy.com.
The Park Avenue tower, completed in 1931 and designed by Rosario Candela and Arthur Loomis Harmon, has been home to John D. Rockefeller Jr. and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, according to StreetEasy. Its 31 units include duplexes and triplexes of as much as 20,000 square feet (1,900 square meters). The difference in the asking and purchase prices for Englander’s 18-room co-op was the result of a bidding war, said John Burger, the listing broker with Brown Harris Stevens.
“There were three very qualified buyers that were extremely interested in this apartment and that created competitive bidding and ultimately pushed the price up significantly,” Burger said in an interview.
The duplex is on the 12th and 13th floors of the tower, where Englander also owns a unit on the 14th story, property records show.
The price Englander paid topped the previous co-op record set earlier this year with the $70 million sale of the late Edgar Bronfman Sr.’s apartment at 960 Fifth Ave, said Greg Heym, chief economist for Brown Harris Stevens.
The $71.3 million price recorded with the city includes about $1.3 million in transfer taxes. Those are usually paid by the seller but weren’t in this case because foreign governments are exempt.
Tripp Kyle, a spokesman for Englander and Millennium at Brunswick Group LLC, declined to comment on the purchase. Thierry Caboche, a spokesman for the Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations in New York, didn’t respond to an e-mail.
Englander, known as Izzy, founded Millennium in 1989. The hedge-fund firm has grown to oversee more than $23 billion invested across markets. He was the sixth-highest-earning hedge fund manager in 2013, according to Institutional Investor’s Alpha’s Rich List, making $850 million.
Local and international buyers seeking trophy homes have shattered price records in the past two years. In 2012, former Citigroup Inc. Chairman Sanford Weill sold his penthouse condominium at 15 Central Park West for $88 million, still the most expensive completed purchase of a New York residential property.
Since then, two contracts have been signed at more than $90 million each for condos at Extell Development Co.’s newly built One57 skyscraper in Midtown. Bill Ackman, founder of New York hedge-fund firm Pershing Square Capital Management LP, is part of an investor group that agreed to purchase one of the apartments. A penthouse at nearby 432 Park Ave., being developed by Harry Macklowe and CIM Group, found a buyer who agreed to pay $95 million.
The previous record for a co-op was set less than three months ago, when Nassef Sawiris, Egypt’s richest person, paid $70 million for the Fifth Avenue penthouse owned by Bronfman.
Co-op residents buy shares in a corporation that owns the building, rather than getting a deed to the apartment itself. The units tend to be less expensive than condos because they are often in older buildings and their boards maintain more-restrictive rules on who may purchase and how deals may be financed.
With the recent record prices, “it may be that people are now starting to value these ultra-exclusive, elite co-ops like that of luxury condos,” said Sofia Song, head of research for brokerage Urban Compass. “Still seems like a bargain in comparison to buying a luxury condo of similar cachet.”
The Bronfman apartment was also in a Candela-designed building, adding to its prestige, Burger said.
“I think of these apartments as paintings,” he said. “I’m not surprised when the architectural treasures of Manhattan reach new highs.”