There’s only one developer in New York currently tasked with building an entire city neighborhood, and that’s the Related Cos. In 2008, Related embarked on Hudson Yards, a type of project never before tackled in New York—28 acres of apartments, office space, retail, parkland (and a subway stop, to boot) on top of the West Side Railyards in Manhattan. It’s one thing to build all that on Manhattan bedrock; it’s another to build it on a platform designed to top the yards. The impressive scope of the project—considered the largest private development in U.S. history—didn’t just come out of nowhere. It’s the crowning achievement, many might say, of a development firm, and its billionaire founder Stephen Ross, after decades of building and investing in New York.
Time Warner Center
If you think Manhattan condos are pricey, feast your eyes on the world’s most expensive dollhouse! Valued at $8.5 million, The Astolat Dollhouse Castle is a 29-room micro-mansion that’s been is filled to the brim with 10,000 painstakingly crafted miniatures that include “elaborate furniture, oil paintings, mirrors, fireplaces, gold miniature jewelry, rare-mini books more than 100 years old, fine rugs, fabrics, and pieces made of and silver and gold.” Sound too absurd to be true? Well, you can check out this pricey and petite pad up close and personal starting this month. The Shops of Columbus Circle at Time Warner Center (TWC) will be showing the dollhouse for the first time ever since it was built in the 1980s.
Maybe it’s the location near Lincoln Center and lots of shopping, or maybe it’s the unobstructed views of Central Park, or maybe it’s the ease of planting tons of one’s foreign cash without worry within its walls, whatever the case may be, the ultra-luxe Time Warner Center has just drawn in a record $50.92 million sale.
The owner, Russian billionaire Andrey Vavilov, listed the sprawling 14-room penthouse for $75 million early last year, then dropping the price to $68 million in November, finally landing on $51 million with a buyer known only as “Columbus Family LLC,” according to city documents filed today. As CityRealty reveals, the transaction is the highest ever recorded at the building; the runner-up, incidentally, the same unit, which traded hands last in 2009 between Vavilov and Austrian investor Gerhard Andlinger for $37.5 million.
Amidst rumors that Ben Affleck and wife Jennifer Garner are heading to splitsville, the Post now reports that Affleck is on the hunt for a NYC pad. The actor was spotted scoping out a duplex condo at the Time Warner Center at 25 Columbus Circle, currently priced at $24.995 million. The home was originally listed at $50 million last year, the Post writes, then popping back on the market early in January at almost half the price at $28 million. With 3,582 square feet at his disposal, this sprawling unit most definitely offers more than enough room for the actor and family to stretch out in, plus or minus Garner.
The Time Warner Center
We’ve been talking a lot lately about foreign investors with their hands in the NYC real estate market, but a story in the Times took the investigating one step further by uncovering the secrecy of more than 200 shell companies at the Time Warner Center, documenting “a decade of ownership in this iconic Manhattan way station for global money transforming the city’s real estate market.” Though most of these were simply wealthy Americans, at least 16 were rich foreigners who “have been the subject of government inquiries around the world, either personally or as heads of companies,” ranging from environmental violations to financial fraud.
In 2014, around 50 percent of all $5 million+ sales were to shell companies, but at the Time Warner Center it was 80 percent. With this growing trend, however, the government hasn’t taken a closer look at the money being used to buy luxury real estate, allowing shell companies to make the movement of foreign funds largely untraceable.
Decisions, decisions…sometimes there’s just far too many in New York City. Thai or Chinese takeout? Subway or bus? Central Park or the High Line? The list goes on. And one of the most grueling decisions we make as New Yorkers is where to live. From choosing a borough and neighborhood to deciding on a price point, it’s quite the undertaking. But what about the most elementary component of the building in which we decide to live–it’s material. To be more exact, glass or stone.
Glass tower dwellers are often drawn to the floor-to-ceiling windows, panoramic views, and clean lines, whereas buyers of apartments in stone buildings prefer a more traditional feel, with pre-war-style layouts that provide great separation of spaces. And some of the city’s most prominent architects have become synonymous with one style or the other. Think Richard Meier for glass and Robert A.M. Stern for stone. CityRealty decided to take a closer look at this epic battle and see how pairs of glass and stone developments fared across the city.
Founded in 1972 by former tax attorney Stephen Ross, the Related Companies got its start securing funding for affordable housing upstate. Before long, the company moved to New York City, bringing affordable units to Battery Park City and the Upper East Side. When the boom years of the 1990’s hit, Related got involved with luxury development, beginning with the renovation and conversion of an historic Beaux Arts building at Union Square into the W Hotel and then the development of 1 Union Square South.
Today, the Related name is attached to some of today’s biggest and most high profile projects, including One Madison and Hudson Yards. And with more than $15 billion in assets, the company is New York’s leading real estate developer.
Who wouldn’t want to be able to order a juicy burger in the middle of the night and have it delivered in mere minutes? Or never have to worry about making the bed or folding sheets ever again (does anyone know how to fold the fitted sheet properly)? How about having an on-call masseuse? This is the life of living in a condo hotel.
Today, the city is teeming with these luxurious hybrids. The Residences at the Ritz Carlton in Battery Park City are home to the city’s most expensive listing at $118 million. The landmark Plaza Hotel was partially converted to 181 residences in 2008. And let’s not forget One57, the 90-story, 52-condo tower that will be the first five-star luxury hotel to rise in New York City in the last ten years. But do the vacation-worthy amenities at these buildings make them dominant in the real estate market?
Manhattan is known for hosting more than a handful of the world’s most luxurious homes — many of which are perched hundreds if not thousands of feet above ground. Though few folks will ever get to see the interior of anything higher than their 5-story walk-up, we’re offering up a look into how New York’s loftiest live.
From the “smallest” to the tallest, take a peek into the penthouses of 10 of Manhattan’s supertall condos ahead. And just to give you a little more context, the Empire State Building soars 1,250 feet high.