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Can’t Give It Away on Billionaires’ Row

Midtown, Manhattan

No Buyers
May 2, 2019

They’re supertall. They’re super-expensive. And they’re super-empty. 

Anyone who has eyed the soaring condo towers along Billionaires’ Row with either envy or disgust will be delighted to learn that more than 40 percent of the apartments in those buildings are unsold and empty, according to the New York Post

Five years after the One57 building became the city’s first supertall residential skyscraper, only 84 of its 132 pricey condos have been bought – leaving more than a third of them still on the market and none under contract, according to data compiled by leading appraiser and researcher Jonathan Miller. Six other nearby buildings have as many as 80 percent of their units available, the figures show, with the total value of all the unsold inventory estimated by one analyst at between $5 billion and $7 billion

Those numbers are unlikely to shrink as more inventory keeps coming into an already glutted market. Another building that’s set for completion next year – Central Park Tower, at 217-225 W. 57th St. – will put an additional 179 apartments on the market. 

High end real-estate broker Dolly Lenz blames the stalled sales on the sky-high prices, saying, “When people come here from other parts of the country and from around the world, the first thing they want to see is Billionaires’ Row. We toured them through the properties, but many felt they were too pricey for the market – $7,000, $8,000, and $10,000 a square foot.” 

Lenz says the high prices are caused by a combination of factors, including the costs of property, construction, financing, and high-end marketing – and developers who have clauses in their contracts that keep lenders from forcing them to drop prices. 

In a city with more than 60,000 homeless people, the obscenity of luxurious condo towers standing empty was not lost on neighborhood resident Laura Miller, 35. “To find out that people aren’t living in the condos is just, ugh,” she says. “I wish this was all affordable housing. This really upsets me. So many are struggling in the city.”

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