80% of the luxury apartments owned in New York’s Time Warner Center at 25 Columbus Circle were bought through secretive shell companies,according to an in-depth luxury real estate report in The New York Times.
The tall glassy building and its 192 condos rise above the Shops at Columbus Circle and are known for being protective of owners’ privacy.
Many of the residents are foreign billionaires investing in a New York vacation home. Some are even alleged corrupt officials or under investigation, according to the Times, and using the expensive condos as a kind of Swiss bank account.
And they could not have chosen a better place to stash their wealth — from the unadorned hallways to the multiple entrances, this was a high-rise built for anonymity. As The Times reporters Louise Story and Stephanie Saul put it:
There are no door buzzers or mail slots with residents’ names. You are unlikely to bump into neighbours wandering the halls because only about a third of the owners live there at any one time, according to people familiar with their comings and goings. The building’s annual holiday party is a lonely affair, they say.
No one in this building really knows their neighbours, and they’re not meant to. There are multiple entrances either through the Shops at Columbus Circle or the nearby garage, as well as the main doors. If they want to, they don’t even need to have their names listed in the building’s book of owners, according to the Times:
And while the building has a book listing the names of people associated with units, the owners do not have to be listed for them to get access to the building. They could walk in alongside someone whose name is in the book. Or, if they are cleared to visit, they could enter the complex through the shops or the hotel, and then take the secure elevators to the condos.
Not even the people who are associated with the sales necessarily know who purchased each unit thanks to all the secretive limited liability companies (LLCs) and trusts that hide the buyers’ identities, according to the Times reporters.
And even if their signature or name were visible on the lease, many of the sales are made in cash, according to The Times, so there are no mortgage statements or public documents that could trace back to the true owner.
Aside from the secrecy and confidentiality offered by the Time Warner Center, the gorgeous apartments in the building are another huge draw. They have some of the best views of Central Park, huge bathrooms and kitchens, bedrooms with 360 degree views, and more.
Adding to the luxury, all the condos have access to the building’s amenities including restaurants Masa and Per Se as well as the Mandarin-Oriental Hotel’s spa.
Plus, Whole Foods is right downstairs in your building as is an Equinox fitness center and luxury shops such as Cole Haan, Diptyque, Coach, and Wolford.
The building is a tiny microcosm in and of itself. In fact, if they didn’t want to see the rest of the city, the wealthy occupants wouldn’t need to journey anywhere else at all.
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