Photo via Creative Commons
Update 5/8/18: Saudi Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal and Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. will buy the Plaza Hotel for $600 million, besting a previous offer made less than a week ago, according to the New York Post. While it was reported White City Ventures and the Kamran Organization were in contract to buy the iconic building, the prince and Ashkenazy, as the minority owner, had the option to acquire the hotel if they matched the $600 million offer. The deal is expected to close this summer.
A deal to sell the historic, 111-year-old Plaza Hotel has finally been reached, after the New York City landmark sat on and off the market for years and changed hands numerous times. As the Real Deal reported, a group of investors including Shahal Kahan of White City Ventures and Kamran Hakim of the Hakim Organization, are in contract to buy a majority share of the hotel for $600 million. While reports in March said the group was considering paying for part of the purchase with cryptocurrency, the deal instead is being made up of equity from investors and a $415 million loan from a pair of British billionaires, David and Simon Reuben.
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Photo via Wally Gobetz/Flickr
Cryptocurrencies make the wild west look tame. Yet despite their volatility, they’re becoming more of a presence in NYC real estate. Five days ago, when we reported on the first Bitcoin closings in Manhattan, the value of Bitcoin was $8,592. It is currently $7,999. According to a CNBC report, Chimera, a group of foreign investors interested in buying the Plaza Hotel, is considering offering partial payment for the transaction in a new cryptocurrency. Chimera has proposed the creation of the “Plaza Token,” an asset-backed securitized token, to raise more than $375 million. They are being advised about this initial coin offering by a company called Securitize. “This would give cryptocurrency investors the chance to diversify into luxury real estate and receive certain concessions inside the Plaza Hotel,” CNBC reports.
Sure, Michael Dell has bragging rights to buying One57‘s $100 million penthouse, the most expensive home ever sold in New York City, but Bill Ackman’s $91.5 million buy a few floors down came with a coveted terrace. Only two units in the Billionaires’ Row building claim “private outdoor space on the park,” and the second has just come on the market for the first time, asking $28.5 million. Dubbed the Spring Garden Residence (as opposed to Ackman’s “Winter Garden Penthouse,” as Curbed notes), the 41st- and 42nd-floor duplex boasts a 43-foot-long great room wrapped in floor-to-ceiling windows that lead to a 671-foot solarium and a terrace with views of the park and skyline.
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Photo of Lady Gaga via Wikimedia
The former penthouse of singer-songwriter superstar, Lady Gaga, has hit the rental market for $33,000 per month. Located in prestigious 40 Central Park South, the two-bedroom, two-bathroom features a sunken living room, two wood-burning fireplaces and a whopping four terraces. As the New York Post first reported, the sprawling duplex has been home to other celebrities like Liza Minnelli and Lance Armstrong. The apartment was featured in Lady Gaga’s recent documentary, “Gaga: Five Foot Two,” which is currently streaming on Netflix.
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, Mon, September 11, 2017
After making several attempts to sell his pad, fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger is relisting his lavish penthouse apartment in the Plaza for $50 million. Hilfiger and his wife, Dee Ocleepo, first listed the apartment at 1 Central Park South in 2013 for $80 million. After dropping to $75 million in March 2015 and then $69 million, the most recent relisting had the property on the market for $58.9 million in April (h/t Mansion Global). The couple paid roughly $20 million in renovations for the 5,600-square-foot duplex, which features marble-clad rooms, vintage limestone fireplaces from England and a domed room that features a custom-designed “Elouise” mural designed by the children book’s illustrator Hilary Knight.
Just two days after Mayor de Blasio spoke publicly of his idea to add contextual plaques to controversial statues around the city instead of razing them, Public Advocate candidate and Columbia University history professor David Eisenbach has proposed a completely different plan. In reference to City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s call to remove Central Park’s Columbus statue based on accounts that the explorer enslaved and killed indigenous people, Eisenbach suggested an alternative where Columbus Circle would be divided into public educational “plazas.” As reported by DNAinfo, these would include three parts of the Circle for “Conquest, Slavery, and Immigration.” Instead of taking down the monument, he believes this would “tell the story of Columbus’ legacy, the good, the bad, and the ugly.”
Things have been shaky for 111 West 57th Street since it came to light last month that construction on the world’s will-be skinniest skyscraper was stalled at just 20 stories after Property Markets Group‘s Kevin Maloney and JDS Development’s Michael Stern were sued by real estate investment corporation and owner AmBase. Trying to salvage their $66 million investment, Ambase filed an injunction to stop lender Spruce Capital from seizing the $1 billion project, but yesterday a Supreme Court judge ruled that a strict foreclosure could move forward, meaning AmBase will likely lose its majority ownership, according to Crain’s. On the flip side, the developers will now be able to proceed with construction on the 1,421-foot Billionaires’ Row tower, whose units started going into contract earlier this month.
The full story
“Christopher Columbus is a controversial figure for many of us, particularly those that come from the Caribbean,” said Puerto Rican-born City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. According to DNAinfo, Viverito is calling on the city to consider removing the Columbus Circle statue of the Italian explorer as part of their larger 90-day review of “symbols of hate.” She first introduced the proposal on Monday at a rally in East Harlem to remove another controversial statue, that of Dr. James Marion Sims, who achieved his title as the father of modern gynecology by performing experiments on slaves without consent and without anesthesia. Columbus, honored for discovering the Americas, is also believed to have enslaved and killed many of the indigenous people he encountered. In response, the Mayor’s office said the proposal will receive “immediate attention.” But of course, not everyone is happy about it.
Both sides of the debate
Rendering of 111 West 57th Street via Property Markets Group
Just last week, 6sqft covered the financial and legal woes of Property Markets Group and JDS Development’s super tall and slender tower at 111 West 57th Street. Despite reports that construction had stalled over budget overruns and a potential foreclosure, the first condominiums, at what is lined up to be the world’s future tallest residential skyscraper, just went into contract (h/t The Real Deal). While Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance, which issued a $325 million mezzanine loan for the project, did not share exactly how many units out of 60 are under contract, CEO Stuart Rothstein told TRD, they sold at “prices well over (Apollo’s) basis.”
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The construction of Property Markets Group and JDS Development’s 1,421-foot-tall tower at 111 West 57th Street has been the subject of much anticipation and excitement, as it’s slated to be among the tallest residential skyscrapers anywhere and the world’s most slender with a height-to-width ratio of 24:1. But after rising only 20 stories, the SHoP Architects-designed Billionaires’ Row addition has stalled, plagued with budget overruns and headed for foreclosure, the New York Post reports.
What could possibly have happened?