Vornado Sells $1.1 Billion of Central Park South Condos

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Vornado Realty Trust has commitments for $1.1 billion of the condominiums at 220 Central Park South, its luxury residential tower under construction in midtown Manhattan.

Vornado opened a small sales gallery to a “limited audience,” and a third of the building sold within six weeks, Chief Executive Officer Steven Roth said Tuesday on the company’s first-quarter earnings conference call. He declined to disclose an average sales price for the units when asked about it on the call.

“We are doing beyond well there,” Roth said. “We are thrilled.”

The company is competing for buyers in an area of Midtown where at least six condo towers aimed at multimillionaires are being built. Vornado’s building is two blocks from Extell Development Co.’s One57, where a 10,923-square-foot (1,014-square-meter) duplex penthouse sold in December to an undisclosed buyer for $100.5 million, the most expensive residential deal ever completed in Manhattan.

Vornado has raised asking prices at its project three times within the past two months, according to filings with the New York state attorney general’s office. The least expensive apartment, a 2,394-square-foot, two-bedroom unit on the 22nd floor, is listed at $12.25 million, 2.5 percent more than in March. The priciest, for now, is a 9,535-square-foot penthouse on the 73rd floor that’s being offered for $100 million.

A duplex on the 50th and 51st floors with more than 11,000 square feet hasn’t been priced yet, nor have full-floor penthouses on the 75th and 76th stories, according to the filings.

Park Views

The project, designed by Robert A.M. Stern, has 118 units, many of which feature unobstructed views of Central Park.

“How many times do you get to build on the park?” said Andrew Gerringer, managing director at Marketing Directors, a new-development brokerage not involved in sales at the Vornado tower. “This is a New York-centric buyer, someone who wants the best of the best.”

At One57, an investment group led by billionaire hedge-fund manager Bill Ackman paid $91.5 million for a duplex penthouse, a price he called a bargain compared with what Vornado is seeking at its project.

Ackman paid $6,750 a square foot for his condo, while units at 220 Central Park South are priced at about $10,000 a square foot, making Ackman’s investment “already 50 percent in the money,” he said this week in a Bloomberg Television interview.

Ackman said he bought the condo as an investment and doesn’t plan to live in it.

Luxury Sales

The new condo buildings are creating an excess of high-priced homes for sale. At the end of the first quarter, 1,345 units in new developments were on the market, up 22 percent from a year earlier, according to a report by appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate. Purchases of such properties dropped 13 percent.

Sales of luxury homes, the top 10 percent of all transactions by price, fell 20 percent in the quarter from a year earlier, the firms said. There were 34 purchases for $10 million or more, compared with 60 in the first quarter of 2014.