Saturday, June 7, 2014

What makes an apartment worth $20,000,000? Or more?

At the moment, there are more than 100 apartments for sale in New York with price tags at or above $20,000,000. 

Many are in the new midtown buildings that spring up almost daily as builders play their endless game of mine's taller than yours.

Each of these gigantic, thousand-foot-and-more obelisks is surrounded by a cloud of buzz as fluffy as the clouds it pierces.
157 East 57th Street,
architectural rendering
(Daily News, MARCHMADE)

The buzz, which helps jack up the price, typically involves an expensive marketing campaign and a lot of press about its starchitect (it's always a starchitect) along with the Russian oligarchs, the hedge fund managers and the movie stars who are paying stratospheric sums to live in it.  

But if you buy one, besides an address that makes people hate you at the same time they’re angling for invitations to it, what do you actually get for your $20,000,000+?

One57, that is, 157 West 57th Street, is the 90-story (Wikipedia says it's actually only 75, but it's being marketed as 90) condominium that began the transformation of a not particularly exciting stretch of office buildings into what’s now known as Billionaire’s Row.   

Central Park and Canada, as seen from 
the upper reaches of One57
It offers a truly spectacular view of all of Central Park at once, through walls that are made entirely of glass.  

To the south, you see the city skyline—all of that, too, along with both rivers.

You get hotel services from the Park Hyatt.  

You get proximity to lots of places to spend the rest of your money, like Bergdorf's and Barney's and David Webb and other shops so expensive and exclusive nobody even knows their names.

Fifth Avenue near 52nd Street
You do not get outdoor space.  You do not get a private entrance; you will share a hall unless you’re in one of the full-floor apartments. 

You do get walk-in closets, marble bathtubs and separate showers in the bathrooms, lighting with dimmer switches, brand name fixtures and hardware, a washer and dryer and an intercom system to reach the concierge.  

You will share, along with  the Russian oligarchs and the hedge fund guys and the movie stars and whoever it was who paid a mere $6,000,000 for the little one-bedroom down on the 39th floor (definitely Not Our Kind, Dear, the poor thing), a fitness center, yoga studio, indoor pool, private dining, catering kitchen, library with billiards table, screening and performance room "and more," the ad says.  You can have a pet, and onsite parking is available.

Onsite parking would be pretty cool.

One of several choices for the first of three courses on the $76 
prix fixe menu at Le Bernardin, an easy walk from Billionaire's Row.
But on the other hand, if you live in a $20,000,000+ apartment, getting the car is probably your driver’s problem, not yours.

For this kind of money downtown, in an older loft building for example, what you get is different.

These buildings generally have too few units to support a doorman, but then those who buy these properties prefer not to have a doorman anyway.  Doormen talk.

Besides, you will in all likelihood get a whole lot more square footage. In a property of that size, there is room for your own staff person who will, among other things, open the door for you. 

Warburg photo
You have a much better chance of getting outdoor space.  A whole lot of outdoor space.  Sometimes enough for a lap pool, certainly enough for a hot tub, and you won’t have to share either of them with some Russian oligarch or hedge fund manager or movie star you don’t even know. 

You can have your own private screening room.  You can have a private steam room big enough for yourself and five friends.

You will not get hotel service or onsite parking, but there are some very nice hotels and parking garages nearby. 

You will not get a spectacular view of Central Park or the city, but you will have a lovely view of the flowers and trees in your own roof garden.

The screening room in a 
downtown penthouse
For a very good reason, you may well have a painfully unpretentious, small, rather dusty vestibule instead of anything that could be called a lobby. 

This is because people who live in these buildings like to keep it a secret that there are trillions of dollars worth of art, jewels and other treasures upstairs.  A lobby that looks like the building is still a warehouse full of old machine parts is one way to get this effect.

(It's just possible there is some reverse snobbery involved here as well.)

As I said, it’s different. 

So mull it over.  Think about your priorities. 

And let me know as soon as you decide where to spend your $20,000,000.  (Or more.)

Any questions?  E-mail or call me (, 917-991-9549) and I’ll either have answers or know where to get them.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

very costly flats.. please tell me flat that comes in an average range... thank you
books on confidence | self presentation book