There are plenty of legendary addresses in New York City, but one — 15 Central Park West — stands out above the rest.
The ultra-luxury condominium on the corner of West 61st St. and Central Park West has been home to to a laundry list of bankers, celebrities and other assorted bold-faced names, from Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein to Sting.
Unlike many of New York’s history-laden apartment buildings, especially its main rival across the park, 15 Central Park West is a relative newcomer.
Completed in 2008 by developers Arthur and William Lie Zeckendorf, it offers a ridiculous array of amenities to New York’s moneyed elite, from an in-house chef to a skylit lap pool and private screening room.
15 Central Park West took three years and around $US1 billion to construct, including the land. It was an immediate success, ringing up some $US2 billion in sales. Even today, the building continues to break real estate sales records.
Unlike many of today's glassy towers, 15 CPW architect Robert A.M Stern was inspired by the great New York apartments of the 1920s. The building has two sections with 201 units total, as well as a formal driveway.
Other amenities include a library, private restaurant, three-lane lap pool, and health club with private massage rooms and a yoga area.
The facade of the building is completely covered in limestone, which cost millions of dollars more than brick. The lobby is also opulent, with English oak panels, fluted marble columns, and two fireplaces. There's even a waiting room for chauffeurs.
It's only been open for five years, but the list of well-known people who have lived or currently live at 15 CPW is astounding. Let's start with the finance folks.
Hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb bought an 8-bedroom, 10,700-square-foot penthouse condo, paying a record-breaking $US45 million back in 2005 when the building was still a hole in the ground.
Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein was also an early buyer. He paid $US25.7 million in cash for his corner duplex back in 2006.
Former Citigroup CEO Sandy Weill bought a full-floor penthouse in the front section of 15 CPW. He paid $US43.7 million for the place in 2007, then a record price per-square-foot, and surprised his wife with it on Valentine's Day.
But that was nothing compared to the $US88 million Weill made when he sold it to the 22-year-old daughter of Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev. She reportedly barely uses it.
More than half a dozen Goldman Sachs execs have owned apartments at 15 CPW at some point; no surprise, since the bank helped finance the building. 'Goldman Sachs executives didn't need to make phone calls or write letters to make its building desirable,' Gross wrote of the so-called Goldman Effect. 'The mere fact that Goldman people were buying en masse made it so.'
Hedge fund founder Daniel Och was another early buyer, picking up the top floor of the 43-story tower -- a simplex listed at $US41.25 million. He held a birthday party in the apartment before it was finished, setting up a stage on the terrace where the band Five for Fighting performed.
Israeli scientist Shlomo Ben-Haim sold his 40th floor penthouse to a mysterious buyer for $US37 million in 2012; it was later revealed to be Bob Diamond, then CEO of Barclays Capital.
The building's amenities and private nature are also a major draw for celebrities. Denzel Washington paid just over $US13 million for his 3-bedroom, 4-bathroom apartment back in 2006.
NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon and his wife paid $US9.67 million for a condo back in 2007. The couple sold it last year for $US25 million, somewhat less than its $US30 million asking price.
Slugger Alex Rodriguez rented a $US30,000-a-month apartment there in 2010. He was 'the best tenant,' one broker told Gross, though building staff griped about his womanizing.
Actors Kelsey Grammer and Mark Wahlberg have also called the building home for brief periods. 'Security is tight -- and for good reason,' Gross writes. 'Members of the staff believe that terrorists, have threatened, if not targeted, the building.'
Techies are also represented at 15 CPW. Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang dropped a little more than $US20 million for a condo in the 'house' section of the complex.
Senior Google exec Omid Kordestani lives on the same floor as Lloyd Blankfein and musician Sting. He bought his apartment in March 2008 for $US29.5 million.
Representing the media world, Wine Spectator publisher Martin Shanken was another early buyer. He paid $US19.75 million for his half-floor penthouse.
Sportscaster Bob Costas bought his $US11 million pad in 2007; he and wife Jill moved in from the Time Warner Center a few blocks away.
The real estate world has a presence in the building as well. Both Zeckendorf brothers, who developed the building, bought apartments there. They each paid $US11.5 million, discounts of $US3.5 million over the initial listing prices. Will later sold his for $US40 million.
Co-developers Eyal and Idan Ofer also bought into the property. Eyal wound up with a penthouse featuring a 'King of the World' terrace that was listed for $US26 million, and Idan got a $US4 million discount on his $US30 million pad, according to Gross.
Marquis Jets founder Jesse Itzler and his wife, Spanx inventor Sara Blakely, own two condos, which together cost $US14.7 million. Blakely has a fear of heights, and the couple reportedly hired a former Navy SEAL to suggest emergency escape plans from their 37th floor apartment, Gross writes.
Steel manufacturer Leroy Schecter bought two units on the 35th floor and combined them in 2012. He soon listed the mega-pad for $US95 million, and it has bounced on and off the sales and rental markets ever since.
Other major executives who bought into 15 CPW include TV producer Norman Lear, who paid $US10.2 million for his pad, Limited founder Leslie Wexner, who spent $US13.34 million on his, and Alan Horn, then president of Warner Bros., who paid $US9.7 million.
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