pursuits

Manhattan Condo Lists for Record $150 Million

Is There a Bubble in New York’s Real Estate Market?

Manhattan’s ultra-luxury condo market has a new high-water mark: $150 million.

That’s the price set by developer Chetrit Group for a 21,500-square-foot (2,000-square-meter) triplex at the former Sony Building in Midtown, according to documents filed with the New York State attorney general’s office. It would be a record for a residential listing, topping a $130 million offering planned at Zeckendorf Development Co.’s 520 Park Ave.

As luxury apartments proliferate in Manhattan, builders are offering their premier units at ever-higher prices as a way of standing out from the crowd, said Jonathan Miller, president of New York appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. So far, the highest price ever paid for a condominium in the city is $100.5 million, a deal completed in December for a duplex penthouse at the One57 tower.

“The penthouse seems to be a strategy to train focus on the development,” said Miller, a Bloomberg View contributor. “Buyers in the super-luxury market are obsessed with having an asset that’s unique and not cookie-cutter.”

Chetrit Group, led by Joseph Chetrit, is converting the former offices of Sony Corp.’s U.S. headquarters at 550 Madison Ave. into luxury residences. The $150 million triplex, on the 33rd through 35th floors, will have eight bedrooms, eight bathrooms, a spa and a wine room, according to the attorney general’s office, which oversees condo development plans.

Phone messages left at Chetrit Group’s Manhattan office weren’t returned. Kathleen Cudahy, a spokeswoman for the developer, said Chetrit wasn’t immediately available to comment. The Real Deal reported the record $150 million price on Tuesday.

This year, 2,386 newly built luxury condos will be listed for sale in Manhattan, the most on record, according to data compiled by Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group. The brokerage defines luxury as units priced at more than $2,300 a square foot.

Testing Limits

Manhattan developers are testing the upper limits of what investors are willing to pay as they seek a haven for their cash, said Nancy Packes, a marketing and design consultant to New York residential builders.

“No one knows where the ceiling is and they’re trying to find it,” she said. “The amount of global wealth being created is still great.”

At Zeckendorf’s 520 Park, the 12,394-square-foot penthouse spans the top three floors of the building near 60th Street. The developer is also listing a $100 million penthouse at its 50 United Nations Plaza tower on First Avenue across the street from the U.N. Secretariat headquarters.

Woolworth Building

Developers of condos at lower Manhattan’s landmark Woolworth Building said they would seek $110 million for the penthouse atop the 58-story tower, according to filings last year with the attorney general’s office.

There’s no guarantee these prices will be reached. At Extell Development Co.’s One 57, the last asking price for the $100.5 million condo was $115 million, a price list filed with the attorney general’s office shows. The luxury market is also showing signs of slowing as new condos add to supply and a rising U.S. dollar curbs the appeal for foreign investors.

Chetrit Group bought 550 Madison in 2013 for $1.1 billion. The company purchased Manhattan’s Chelsea Hotel, former residence of artist Andy Warhol, in August 2011, and is a co-owner of the Willis Tower in Chicago.

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