It seems like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos can’t get enough of New York! Case in point: He reportedly just purchased a penthouse in the Big Apple—and the two apartments directly beneath it—for around $80 million.
So what does the rumored new home of the world’s richest man look like? For one, its location—on Fifth Avenue near Madison Square Park—is somewhat unexpected, as it’s farther downtown than the usual luxury haunts of Billionaires’ Row, near Central Park. The building, originally built in 1912 and used for manufacturing, was converted to approximately 50 ultraluxury condos in 2015.
And the penthouse Bezos is thought to have bought is the crown jewel: In addition to its more than 10,000 square feet of interior space, it has 5,730 square feet of terraces on all four sides.
There are five bedrooms and 5.5 baths. The master suite alone consists of seven rooms. Naturally, it has a private elevator, which opens to a dramatic marble foyer, which leads to an atrium with a grand bronze staircase.
There’s also a ballroom and a library with a marble and glass fireplace—and that’s just on the first level!
There’s even more entertaining space on the second level, and an observatory on the third floor with panoramic views of the Empire State Building, Flatiron Building, and World Trade Center.
As for the two units below that Bezos reportedly also purchased? With plenty of living and entertaining space in his penthouse, Bezos could use them for any number of purposes, like storage or staff accommodations. And their utility as a privacy shield from residents below is indisputable.
So is Bezos’ New York purchase a good deal?
Given that Bezos is purportedly worth $151 billion, he probably barely would have felt the pinch with this purchase. While it’s unknown exactly how much he may have paid, odds are good he landed a deal, given that the penthouse alone has been dropping in price for the past two years. Listed for $73.8 million in 2017, the apartment got a price cut to $62.8 million in 2018, then to $58 million in March 2019.
As for the two units below, Alex Lavrenov of Warburg Realty looked into them.
“It looks like he bought units 21A and B, which closed for $28,450,000,” Lavrenov concludes.
Add it all up, and here’s what you’ve got: “A theoretical combined residence would span four floors and 17,318 square feet, with over 5,000 square feet of outdoor space,” Lavrenov estimates. “A 12-bedroom quadruplex apartment of that size is certainly impressive, and if around $80 million was paid, then the price per foot translates to $4,619 per interior foot.”
That might sound like a lot, but by New York standards, it’s actually a deal.
“This is a great value for a marquee luxury building. It’s less than half the square foot price of penthouses on the towers on Billionaires’ Row or 15 Central Park West,” says Martin Eiden of the sports and entertainment division at Compass. “Truly, the smart money buys when things are on sale.”
So the price was right, but consider this: Even if Bezos paid cash, as billionaires often do, and avoids monthly mortgage interest charges, he’ll still have to fork over an additional chunk of change each month for carrying costs on the three units. They include things like building insurance and maintenance, as well as amenities such as a 24/7 doorman and concierge services, valet parking, fitness room, golf simulator, screening room, and children’s playroom.
Regardless of whether Bezos makes use of these amenities, Lavrenov estimates that the carrying costs could amount to as much as $57,000 a month—which, again, is mere pocket change for this multibillionaire.
The property could still be priceless to Bezos, because it meets his particular needs.
“The key to this purchase is an enormous amount of contiguous space that presumably has or can have the flow he needs for his use in a hip central neighborhood,” says Harriet Kaufman of Warburg Realty. “That’s not always easy to find.”
What this could mean for Amazon’s HQ2
So this major residential purchase can’t help but make you wonder if Bezos still might be in a New York state of mind for Amazon’s HQ2, even after his plans to build an office here collapsed in February.
In fact, rumors have been swirling that the tech giant has been nosing around for office space in midtown Manhattan, which, thanks to new large developments such as Hudson Yards, will soon have an estimated 26 million square feet of space available for tenants, with ample city infrastructure already in place.
“Bezos’ purchase in NYC could be taken as a sign that Amazon still may have NYC on its radar for HQ2,” says Lavrenov.
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