Penthouse at Manhattan tower where billionaires went viral for ‘petty’ complaints hits the market at $169m

The penthouse – if sold – will have the highest per-square-foot price-tag in the city

Graig Graziosi
Tuesday 29 June 2021 19:34
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<p>A view of 432 Park Avenue 15 October 2104 the day after it earned the distinction of being the country's tallest residential skyscraper.  The 104-unit condominium tower with its 96 stories will officially tower over the rest of the Western Hemisphere topping out at 1,396 feet. The luxury tower will welcome its first residents next year, giving them a breathtaking view stretching from Central Park to the Atlantic Ocean and from Lower Manhattan, where the Freedom Tower is located, to Connecticut. AFP PHOTO / Timothy A. Clary        (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)</p>

A view of 432 Park Avenue 15 October 2104 the day after it earned the distinction of being the country's tallest residential skyscraper. The 104-unit condominium tower with its 96 stories will officially tower over the rest of the Western Hemisphere topping out at 1,396 feet. The luxury tower will welcome its first residents next year, giving them a breathtaking view stretching from Central Park to the Atlantic Ocean and from Lower Manhattan, where the Freedom Tower is located, to Connecticut. AFP PHOTO / Timothy A. Clary (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

For apartment hunters longing to live in a building facing multiple reports of mechanical issues and who want neighbours with more money than some small nations, they need look no further than a recently listed $169m penthouse suite on Manhattan's Billionaires Row.

The suite is on the 96th floor of the nearly 1,400-foot (427m) super tall tower on 432 Park Avenue, and is among the highest priced units of its type in the country since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

The New York Times reports that the unit's price is nearly double what its owner, Saudi retail magnate Fawaz Alhokair, paid for it in 2016. That year, he closed on the 8,225 square-foot penthouse for $88m.

It appears Mr Alhokair is hoping to make a killing from a recent spike in luxury real-estate sales in New York.

Over the last 21 weeks, more than 30 contracts have been signed in the city for units worth $4m or more, setting a new record.

Much like the rush on public spaces and the upswing in the housing market, the explosion of luxury real estate sales is a result of the pandemic all but freezing sales in 2020 and – with the country slowly returning to normal – the demand that existed prior to the coronavirus snapping back into place.

Donna Olshan, the president of Olshan Realty and an analyst of the luxury market, told The Times that the streak is the strongest that has ever been seen in the industry.

She said the apartment's price broke down to more than $20,500 per square foot, blowing the former record of $13,049 per square foot set by an apartment at 15 Central Park West in 2012.

"This is like a try-God price," she told The Times.

While the penthouse in Manhattan will hold the record for price per square foot, it is still a far cry from the most expensive apartment to ever be sold in the city.

That title goes to a 23,029 square-foot monster at 220 Central Park South, which sold in 2019 for nearly $240m.

While the tower housing 432 Park Avenue is considered to be home to luxury real estate, its mega-wealthy denizens have complained about maintenance issues and safety concerns.

Among those complaints are reports of elevator malfunctions, particularly during high-wind days, creaking walls, and floods in the middle and near the top of the building, costing millions of dollars of damage. The ultra-wealthy residents found few on social media willing to feel especially bad for them, noting that most people face similar issues without the luxury of having extreme wealth to throw at their problems.

“Billionaires: They have elevator issues just like us,” one Twitter user wrote.

Ms Olshan told The Times it was unlikely that luxury apartment hunters would be dissuaded by the complaints. She pointed out that another unit in the West Village faced public scrutiny in 2008 over construction issues, but nonetheless saw resale values fall in line with the market.

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