Gates trumps up $20m for pad

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The Independent Online

Bill Gates is as rich as he is famous. But for all that, he'll have to live downstairs from a European tycoon.

Bill Gates is as rich as he is famous. But for all that, he'll have to live downstairs from a European tycoon.

Mr Gates and his wife Melinda are understood to have bought a lofty nest in the 900 ft-high Trump World Tower overlooking the United Nations building in midtown Manhattan.

New York property sources say Mr Gates is paying $19.8m (£13.2m) for an 8,500 sq ft full-floor pad with 16ft ceilings, having combined two apartments to make one and taken over the entire 89th floor.

But he'll have to resign himself to living below the 17,000 sq ft duplex penthouse, combining four apartments, snapped up by an unnamed European billionaire.

"That was sold a few months ago for $38m," said the building's owner, Donald Trump. "It's the highest price ever paid for a New York apartment."

There are five floors of penthouse residences at the top of the building, rising from the 86th floor to the 90th.

"There are four units still available. They begin on the northern side of the building, with 12ft ceilings, at $9.5m. At the most expensive there's one left on the 88th floor, with 16ft-high ceilings and a fireplace on the southern side. It covers 5,425 sq ft and costs $14.1m," said Trump's sales chief, Lauren Day.

"These people are an ilk of individuals on a global level that are the very, very top, and they all enjoy their peace and quiet," she cooed.

Most of Mr Gates's fellow elevator passengers will be global tycoons, investment banking chiefs, internet investment survivors and entertainment moguls. Recently promoted IBM vice-chairman John Thompson bought himself a mansion in the sky befitting his new stature.

And in another Manhattan transfer last month, Sir David Frost sold for $1.6m the 1,150 sq ft pied-Ã -terre he had kept at the Essex Hotel on Central Park South for 20 years. According to his broker, "He just wasn't using the apartment much."

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