Published May 24, 2007

Record US$56m deal for NY condo

Buyer of triplex penthouse in Manhattan's Plaza Hotel a UK-based businessman

(NEW YORK) In an era of ever more expensive apartments in Manhattan, a triplex penthouse condominium in the Plaza Hotel has gone into contract for US$56 million, in what would quite likely be the most expensive Manhattan apartment sale to date when it closes later this year, according to several real estate executives briefed on the transaction.

The condominium combines two separate apartments, one a duplex, the other a triplex, for more than 9,200 square feet of living space. The apartment will also have an inside lift entrance and a terrace of more than 500 sq ft, much of it overlooking Central Park, according to real estate executives who reviewed the offering plan.

The buyer was said to be a London-based businessman in the oil business. He signed the contract to buy the apartment, even though the developer, El Ad Properties, headed by Miki Naftali, would not combine the apartments into a single unit until the sale was completed, the executives said.

The contract, said to have been signed in December, is one of several lucrative contracts signed in the conversion of the hotel, at Central Park South and Fifth Avenue, providing 180 luxury condominium apartments and 152 slightly less expensive condominium hotel rooms.

Last week, the online edition of The New York Observer reported a sale at the Plaza in excess of US$50 million, but brokers familiar with the building could not confirm whether that report referred to the same sale or a second sale in the same price range.

The highest apartment price reported to date in Manhattan had been a US$45 million contract said to have been signed by Daniel Loeb, a hedge fund manager, for 15 Central Park West, a condominium building under construction opposite the west side of Central Park. The price for the Plaza penthouse is higher, and it is larger, but at a square-foot cost of about US$6,100 it is comparable to prices at 15 Central Park West.

Lloyd Kaplan, a spokesman for El Ad Properties, said sales in the Plaza were strong, with 85 per cent of the units in contract. Officials at Stribling & Associates, the sales agent for the building, declined to comment.

The buyer was represented by Elizabeth Lee Sample and Brenda Powers of Brown Harris Stevens, who also declined to comment. They are also the brokers for an even more expensive offering, the 16-room penthouse atop the Pierre Hotel, at Fifth Avenue and 61st Street, with an asking price of US$70 million. - NYT