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The A-Word Comes to Billionaires’ Row: Affordability

Midtown, Manhattan

The A-Word

Parker New York is bringing "affordability" to Billionaires' Row (image via Google Maps).

Feb. 25, 2019

A month after Ken Griffin dropped an eye-popping $240 million on a luxury condo apartment on Central Park South, a developer has come forward with a modest proposal, by Billionaires’ Row standards: condos for the low, low price of just $1.5 million. Which is this neighborhood’s definition of affordability

GFI Capital Resources Group and Elliott Management Corporation have acquired the Parker New York on West 56th Street for $420 million, with plans to renovate the 38-year-old hotel and build 67 luxury condominiums on top of its 729 rooms.

“We came up with a new concept, and it’s probably unique for the 57th Street market,” Allen Gross, GFI’s chairman and CEO, tells Commercial Observer. “Most of our units are going to be small – between 500 and 800 square feet – and you’re going to be able to buy a condo starting at $1.5 million, which is unheard of in that market. When I see people selling condos for $40 million, $50 million, $200 million? We’re not interested in that.” 

The arrival of the A-word on Billionaires’ Row might reflect a sea change in the city’s real estate market. As the building boom wanes and hundreds of luxury condos languish unsold, developers seem to be rethinking the anything-goes ethos of recent years. Also, buyers are beginning to realize that luxury New York City real estate, once regarded as a gold-plated investment, has become a money loser in recent years. 

The exception to the affordability rule at Parker New York? Two 4,000-square-foot condo units at the top of the building with 10,000 square feet of outdoor space between them overlooking Central Park. Those two will fetch upwards of $20 million. 

“Their outdoor hot tubs will start at $1.5 million,” Gross says with a laugh.

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