February 17th 2015
New York Daily News
The stakes just got even higher in Midtown’s skyscraper wars.
A penthouse condominium at the former Sony building at 550 Madison Ave. is slated to hit the market for an astonishing $150 million, making it the most expensive listing ever to come on the market in Manhattan.
If it sells for that price, it would smash the record $100.47 million paid last month for the penthouse at One57, the glitzy new tower on 57th St.’s “Billionaires’ Row.”
“This is taking everything to whole new level,” said luxury broker Ben Benalloul of RLTY NYC. “It’s setting a new standard for real estate in this area. Now, everyone is going to be playing catch-up with this number.”
The massive 21,504-square-foot penthouse would occupy three full floors of the 37-story Philip Johnson-designed building between 55th and 56th Sts. and have eight bedrooms, eight bathrooms and 10 powder rooms, according to the plans, which were filed with the Attorney General’s office and first spotted by real estate website The Real Deal.
The former office tower with the Chippendale top, which used to be home to Sony and AT&T, is being converted to condominiums by development giants the Chetrit Group and Clipper Equity, which paid $1.1 billion for the building in 2013. The property will have a total 96 luxury apartments.
The tower is one in a string of trophy buildings slated to come on the market just south of Central Park, including skinny new towers at 111 W. 57th St., 220 Central Park South and 520 Park Ave. The comparatively tiny, 12,394-square-foot penthouse at 520 Park is expected to come on the market for $130 million, making it even more expensive by price per square foot.
These “Billionaires’ Row” megatowers are primarily aimed at Russian oligarchs, Arab sheikhs and Chinese tycoons, who can use the apartments as occasional pieds-à-terre when they’re in the city.
“In a market like this where everyone is going after the biggest trophy, everyone always wants the shiniest one,” said broker Jason Haber of Warburg Realty. “Chetrit is now saying this is the shiniest one.”
Developers justify the jaw-dropping price-tags by pointing to the fact that New York’s luxury real estate prices are still far below that of comparable properties in cities such as London . The record price for a London apartment is a whopping $237 million, which was paid for the penthouse at uber luxe development One Hyde Park.
But some experts say the price-tags for some of New York’s new towers are becoming borderline ludicrous.
“It’s all public relations,” said luxury broker Donna Olshan. “They’re ratcheting it up for the press’ sake. I can’t think of a better way to make a splash than to put something on the market at a record price.”
Others caution that the market for condos on New York’s most exclusive real estate corridor is in danger of collapse as over-supply puts downward pressure on prices.