There are plenty of legendary addresses in New York City, but 15 Central Park West stands out.
The ultra-luxury condominium on the corner of West 61st Street and Central Park West has been home to a long list of bankers, celebrities, and assorted bold-faced names, including Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and Sting.
Unlike many of New York’s history-filled apartment buildings — especially its main rival across the park, 740 Park Avenue — 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, including an in-house chef, a lap pool, and a private screening room.
15 Central Park West took three years and about $A1.3 billion to construct, including the cost of the land. It was an immediate success, ringing up $A2.6billion in sales. Even today, the building continues to break real estate sales records.
15 CPW architect Robert A.M Stern was inspired by the great New York apartments of the 1920s, not today's glassy towers. The building has two sections with 201 units in 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 yoga area.
The facade of the building is completely covered in limestone, which costs 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 eight-bedroom, 10,700-square-foot penthouse condo, paying a record-breaking $A60.51 million back in 2005 when the building was still a hole in the ground. He reportedly outbid Carl Icahn for the unit.
Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein was also an early buyer. He paid $A33.81 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 $A57.48 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 $A115 million Weill made when he sold it to the 22-year-old daughter of Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev. She reportedly barely uses it — and Ryboloblev is now putting it back on the market.
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 $A54.26 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 $A48.67 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 $A17.10 million for his three-bedroom, four-bathroom apartment back in 2006.
NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon and his wife paid $A12.72 million for a condo in 2007. The couple sold it in 2013 for $A32.88 million, just a little under its $A39.46 million asking price.
Slugger Alex Rodriguez rented a $A39,462-a-month apartment there in 2010. He was 'the best tenant,' one broker told Gross, though building staff griped about his womanizing. Robert De Niro would later rent the same unit, which is owned by steel magnate Leroy Schechter. It's currently listed for just under $A65.77 million.
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 $A26.31 million for a condo in the 'house' section of the complex.
Former Google exec Omid Kordestani owns a unit on the same floor as Lloyd Blankfein and Sting. He bought his apartment in March 2008 for $A38.80 million. Kordestani joined Twitter as executive chairman in October 2015.
Representing the media world, Wine Spectator publisher Martin Shanken was another early buyer. He paid $A25.98 million for his half-floor penthouse.
Sportscaster Bob Costas bought his $A14.47 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 $A15.13 million, discounts of $A4.60 million from the initial listing prices. Will later sold his for $A52.62 million.
Co-developer Eyal Ofer and his brother Idan also bought into the property. Eyal wound up with a penthouse featuring a King of the World terrace that was listed for $A34.20 million, and Idan got a $A5.26 million discount on his $A39.46 million pad, according to Gross.
Marquis Jets founder Jesse Itzler and his wife, Spanx inventor Sara Blakely, bought two condos, which together cost $A19.34 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. The couple sold their 37th-floor unit for $A39.46 million in August 2014.
Other major executives who bought into 15 CPW include TV producer Norman Lear, who paid $A13.42 million for his pad; Limited founder Leslie Wexner, who spent $A17.55 million on his; and Alan Horn, ex-president of Warner Bros., who paid $A12.76 million.
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