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If you haven’t read the piece already, New York magazine takes a fascinating look at the New York City real-estate market in its latest issue.
At the same time as New York real estate has become something of a financial haven for wealthy foreigners, the U.S. FATCA taking effect has hit expats especially hard, which may help explain why a record number of Americans renounced their citizenship in 2013. The building’s lobby, designed in leathery tones by Armani, swirled with polylingual property talk.
After a few minutes, a fashionably stubbled young man swung through 20 Pine’s revolving door: Santo Rosabianca, a broker with Wire International Realty.
Like several other buildings she was being shown, 20 Pine was developed at the height of the real-estate bubble. This is not exactly true—there’s plenty of risk in real estate, as the original crop of purchasers at 20 Pine discovered—but that hardly dampens the enthusiasm of foreign buyers, who have become an overpowering force in New York’s real-estate market. The influx of global wealth is most visible on the ultrahigh end, as Stern and other builders are erecting spiraling condo towers and sales records are regularly shattered by foreign billionaires, like the Russian fertilizer oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev, purchaser of the most expensive condo in Manhattan’s history ($88 million), and Egyptian construction magnate Nassef Sawiris, who recently set the record for a co-op ($70 million).
And so New Yorkers with garden-variety affluence—the kind of buyers who require mortgages—are facing disheartening price wars as they compete for scarce inventory with investors who may seldom even turn on a light switch.
To cater to the tastes of their transient residents, developers are designing their projects with features like hotel-style services.
Even those with less reflexively hostile reactions to foreign buying competition might still wonder: Who are these people? Those on the New York end of the transaction often don’t know—or don’t care to find out—the exact derivation of foreign money involved in these transactions. More typically, though, foreign buyers are searching for a favorable investment climate and the identity protection provided by an LLC. She ended up back downtown at 75 Wall Street, where she saw a unit she liked: a one-bedroom belonging to a Panamanian-owned company. Every year, the British real-estate brokerage Knight Frank publishes a document called “The Wealth Report.” The latest edition produces the curiously precise estimate that there are 167,669 individuals in the world who are “ultrahigh net worth,” with assets exceeding $30 million.
This new global wealth is being lavished on the usual status items—planes, yachts, contemporary art—but Knight Frank is pleased to report that the rich favor real estate most of all. Daniela Sassoun, a Portuguese-speaking Corcoran broker who used to work in Swiss banking, frequently travels to Sao Paulo and Geneva to sell elite buyers on New York. No American city rivals New York, however, in the diversity of its wealthy population and the buying options it offers.
A luxury-skyscraper boom, fueled by international buying power, is casting a shadow over Central Park, where new and proposed towers are attempting to mimic the example of One57, which boasts of sales to every continent but Antarctica.
Much of this speculation is being driven by two factors: sparse supply, due to the absorption of the inventory left over from the last boom, and fast-rising prices. 432 Park Avenue and its competitors have historical antecedents, most notably Olympic Tower, built in the 1970s with financing by Aristotle Onassis.
Other investors in 15 Central Park West relied on the strict secrecy laws in offshore jurisdictions.
The first rule of selling property to the ultrarich is that you can’t try to sell them property—you offer them status, or a lifestyle, or a unique place in the sky. Buyers for whom money is still something of an object—very wealthy people who have a few spare million to spend on a reliable investment—have slightly less lofty options. Perepada, who lives in Sheepshead Bay, says he acts as a sort of all-purpose consultant and fixer for his moneyed clients, who hail mainly from the former Soviet Union.
The further you descend in price, the more distanced the ultimate owner tends to become from the transaction.
I spoke with Jajan at the cafe at the Trump Soho, the hybrid hotel-and-condominium project (his small firm has handled around 40 percent of the building’s sales).
Extreme wealth demands extremely elaborate wealth management, and anyone who has a few million in spare cash will probably already have an entree to the cloistered world of private banking.
The theatrical secrecy is designed to build personal trust between such bankers and their clients, which is especially vital when the goal of the transactions is to conceal assets from the prying eyes of rivals, vengeful spouses, or tax collectors. Behind a New York City deed, there may be a Delaware LLC, which may be managed by a shell company in the British Virgin Islands, which may be owned by a trust in the Isle of Man, which may have a bank account in Liechtenstein managed by the private banker in Geneva. Recently, scrutiny from the United States has punctured some of the traditional secrecy of Swiss banks. There is nothing illegal—at least from the destination nation’s perspective—about sending money from an anonymous offshore bank account to purchase property in America. No federal authority, not even the IRS, keeps track of the actual “beneficial” owners behind LLCs, and the more lenient states don’t even require much record-keeping by the firms that handle incorporation. Lawyers, brokers, and other service providers fall into a category that money-laundering experts refer to as “gatekeepers.” An international organization formed to combat such financial crime has called for gatekeepers to be required to report suspicious activity, and some nations, like Great Britain, have placed disclosure requirements on attorneys. One notorious international fraud case illustrates the difficulty of tracing laundered money that allegedly made its way to New York.
Browder suspected the swindle was pulled off with the complicity of powerful government players and dispatched a Russian attorney named Sergei Magnitsky to investigate. According to the allegations in a civil complaint filed by federal prosecutors in Manhattan, the tax money was deposited into three corporate bank accounts and then diced up into smaller amounts and bounced around several Russian banks. Starting in late 2009, Prevezon began purchasing units in 20 Pine, acquiring five in total.
In reality, the 20 Pine case shows just how hard it is to police the flow of money into real estate. The best—though still fuzzy—global estimates say as much as $1.5 trillion in criminal proceeds is laundered each year. Prevezon has been liquidating its New York holdings, though the proceeds have been frozen by the government. I recently visited Shvo—a perma-tanned Israeli with an action-figure physique—at his Fifth Avenue office, which is decorated with pieces from his art collection, including a Playboy bunny by Andy Warhol and a hanging noose by an artist whose name escaped him.
This theory is driving an enormous amount of luxury development across New York, but it is based on fragile assumptions and subject to unpredictable external factors.
Some brokers and lawyers who deal with foreign clients say they have seen a recent softening at the top end of the marketplace, as all these new buildings compete for a group of buyers who are canny about supply and demand. But the boom, and potential glut, at the billionaire end of the market obscures the broader trend, the one that has pushed up prices for everyone.
The Brazilian was focusing on the Upper West Side, and he wanted to spend between $3 million and $6 million.
Even for the global rich, the most desirable Manhattan apartment is often the one that sits just a bit out of reach.
Additional reporting by Ionut Stanescu, Paul Radu, Margot Williams, Mar Cabra, Titus Plattner and Pavla Holcova.
More information about text formatsPlain textNo HTML tags allowed.Lines and paragraphs break automatically. Big businesses paid an effective tax rate of nearly 32 percent during Reagan’s eight years in office, but under Obama they have enjoyed paying just 22.8 percent – the average annual difference coming out to around $166 billion in corporate profit.
With more teachers being made redundant, class sizes swelling, head teachers wrestling with holes in their budgets, the picture in Britain’s modern-day classrooms is bleak. A growing green industry born of the United States’ hostile labor climate is unlikely to produce steady, good paying jobs without a fight.
Parties like RISE, the Greens, and sections of the Scottish National Party are not only setting out new ideas – they are actively involved in movements fighting for change on the street, and at the ballot box. Dennis Black is a revolutionary running for office in Michigan, who says we need grassroots activists to re-make the law.
Despite North Dakota’s collapsing oil market, its state-owned bank continues to report record profits – so what might California, with fifty times North Dakota’s population, do following that state’s lead?
As more farmers retire, some lawmakers see student loan forgiveness as key to keeping small-scale food producers on the land. Greenpeace says internal documents show the US is attempting to lower or circumvent EU protection for environment and public health.
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New York City is one of the most stable real estate markets in the world because it is both highly transparent and under-leveraged. As a result, it's a hot location for people looking to invest in property who don't necessarily plan to live there.
Both Wei Min Tan and Jarrod Randolph specialize in crunching the numbers for their high net-worth clientele to help them make the most informed investments in Manhattan real estate.
And while they both represent some very wealthy foreign buyers, their advice holds true for everyone investing in New York City residential properties.
Because there are more co-ops, they are usually significantly cheaper (by as much as 30% to 40%).
Location is important, but dona€™t worry too much about neighborhoods, especially if youa€™re investing in Manhattan properties where many zip codes are considered prestigious. So instead of focusing solely on a a€?hipa€? neighborhood, know whata€™s in walking distance.
If youa€™re buying a condo, ita€™s important to research the buildinga€™s developer and have a good understanding of their past.
If youa€™re buying a co-op, find out everything you can about the cooperative board and have a good understanding of what future changes could be made to the building. Your a€?best pricea€? doesna€™t mean the best deal, because therea€™s really no such thing as a a€?good deala€? in New York City real estate.
If you can, get a feel for the neighborhood, make sure there are no hidden downsides to the apartment, and check out the building. But if coming to see the apartment is not a possibility, get a trusted broker to tour the place for you.


Tan also stresses seeing the apartment, but notes that technology has rendered it almost unnecessary for foreign buyers.
The luxury market continues to surge as average sales prices jump 46 percent in the first quarter of 2014 compared to last year. New York mayor Bill de Blasio rode to victory with a pledge to make the city tenable for middle-class residents.
An 18-acre East Hampton estate, sold in May to hedge-funder Barry Rosenstein, became the most expensive property sold not just in the Hamptons, but in the U.S. The idea of spending summer in the Hamptons in a condo -- with a communal pool -- is ludicrous to some. The Greenwich Lane, a five-building West Village condo complex, drew protests when it replaced the old St. Bocce courts are the newest feature developers are putting into buildings such as Manhattan's Mercedes House and 50 North 5th in Williamsburg. The under-construction 1,379-foot 432 Park Avenue, which just hit the 1,000-foot mark, is on track to be the western hemisphere's tallest residential building. Is a€?Grita€? the Key to Success or an Old Idea Dressed Up to Be the Latest Self-Help Sensation? As the Italian and I waited for her broker, an Asian man sitting on a couch next to us asked, “You see the apartment?” But he didn’t wait for an answer, leaping up to join a handful of women speaking a foreign language heading toward the elevators. The firm, run by Rosabianca’s brother Luigi, an attorney, specializes in catering to overseas investors. After the crash of 2008, it became an emblematic disaster, with the developers selling units in bulk at desperation prices, until opportunistic foreigners swooped in with cash offers. According to data compiled by the firm PropertyShark, since 2008, roughly 30 percent of condo sales in large-scale Manhattan developments have been to purchasers who either listed an overseas address or bought through an entity like a limited-liability corporation, a tactic rarely employed by local homebuyers but favored by foreign investors. But much of the foreign money is coming in at lower price points, closer to the median for a Manhattan condo ($1.3 million and rising).
But now the market is broad and diversified: Fiocchi’s firm handled not only two of the ten most expensive residential sales in the city last year, but also a large volume of transactions at more mainstream prices. The Census Bureau estimates that 30 percent of all apartments in the quadrant from 49th to 70th Streets between Fifth and Park are vacant at least ten months a year. And the new economy has spawned new service businesses, like XL Real Property Management, which takes care of all the niggling details—repairs, insurance, condo fees—for absentee buyers.
An entire industry of brokers, lawyers, and tight-lipped advisers exists largely to keep anyone from discovering the answer. Rosabianca’s client, the Italian, lives in Nigeria, where her husband is in the oil business.
She ended up making an offer on both that one and the condo at 20 Pine, but ultimately settled on yet another unit at 75 Wall for $1.3 million.
Real estate can serve as a convenient pied-a-terre, an investment hedge against a wobbly home currency, or an insurance policy—a literal refuge if things go bad.
As expensive as New York’s luxury real estate might seem, it’s a bargain compared to other global capitals; a million dollars will buy twice as much space here as it does in Monaco or Hong Kong. At 432 Park Avenue, construction on a Rafael Vinoly–designed tower has ticked past 1,000 feet, and three more similarly scaled developments are on the way. Manhattan saw a 30 percent price increase over the past year, on average, which market analyst Jonathan Miller attributes primarily to sales closing in ultraluxury buildings. But the market really began to emerge a decade ago with 15 Central Park West, where Wallgren also handled sales. Two units, for instance, were sold to Jolly Star Holding Limited, an entity registered in the British Virgin Islands, which guards the identity of shareholders. A marketing video for 432 Park Avenue, scored to “Dream a Little Dream,” features a private jet, Modigliani statuary, and Harry Macklowe himself costumed as King Kong. Million-dollar apartments are often traded sight unseen, based on a floor plan or a YouTube clip.
Jajan’s family is from Argentina, and his clientele primarily speaks Spanish and Portuguese. Moving the money itself is a relatively simple matter: A wire or a suitcase can convey cash from China to Singapore, or from Russia to an EU member state like Latvia, and once the funds have made it to a “white list” country, they can usually move onward without triggering alarms. But that has just pushed clients to boutique advisory firms, often run by the same personnel.
Earlier this year, an international team led by Shima Baradaran, a law professor at the University of Utah, published an ingenious study of its mechanics. It turned out that offshore locales like the Caymans were the most stringent about complying with international anti-money-laundering standards.
Many of the service providers Baradaran’s team approached asked for no identity documentation and were willing to set up LLCs in even the most suspicious scenarios. But no such regulation exists in the United States, and while financial institutions are tightly monitored under the 2001 USA Patriot Act, parties to property transactions have been given a specific exemption. In June 2007, Russian police invaded the Moscow offices of William Browder, an American investor who had fallen out with the Kremlin. Magnitsky was arrested and died in prison under mysterious circumstances, prompting international outrage. Ultimately, about $50 million was sent to a pair of companies headquartered in the capital of Moldova. The company later added three Manhattan commercial spaces to create a $24 million portfolio, which prosecutors sued to seize last year. It took a vocal American victim, a diplomatic furor, and an act of Congress to get the authorities’ attention. The United Nations figures that as little as one-fifth of one percent of that is ever recovered. Leviev and his local partner originally bought the property, an old office building, during a speculative fever in the Financial District. He handed me the glossy “concept book” for one of his slated projects, a condo tower in Soho.
New development in New York has only slowly regained its momentum since 2008, and sales inventory remains mired near a decade-low point. He deals primarily with Brazilian clients, and he invited me to tag along while he showed the available options to a banker from Rio. Within his price range, there was an odd duplex apartment decorated entirely in silver and a three-bedroom above Lincoln Center with a stunning view in need of major renovation.
Ana Teresa Fernandez shows us how we might view things differently, simply through the application of color. Once we receive your inquiry we will send you a customized report of all listings that best meet your preferences within 24 hours. Once we receive your inquiry we will send you a customized apartment rental report of all listings that best meet your criteria within 24 hours.
Of the 64,000 condos in Manhattan, Randolph told us only about 10% of that marketplace is considered a€?new developmenta€? (property built in the last 5 years).
Knowing whether the co-op rules might change to no longer allow pets or if there are plans to completely redo the lobby (requiring you to pay a large monthly assessment) could sway your desire to live in the building. Ultra-net worth individuals may be buying $20 million+ condos as pied-A -terres that they can use whenever theya€™re in the city. The vast majority of investors, however, are buying condos and apartments to rent out and turn a profit, which has a vastly different price point. But while his affordable housing plan dominates the political conversation, the hyper-luxury apartment market continues to surge, with the luxury market seeing average sales prices jump 46 percent in the first quarter of 2014 compared to last year. Now comes news that the planned One Vanderbilt project near Grand Central will reach 1,450 feet at its peak, still shy of One World Trade Center's 1,776 feet. Aided by layers of shell corporations, as well as brokers and lawyers who turn a blind eye, foreign money has flowed out of deep pockets abroad and into luxury condos and apartments in New York.
That is precisely why experts say that property investment is a favored route for money laundering, a crime that depends on the outward appearance of legitimacy.
She wore a red scarf, jangly jewelry, and a pair of lime-green sunglasses perched atop her curly hair, and she told me she would prefer to remain anonymous.
A first-generation American, Santo greeted the buyer with kisses and briefed her in Italian.
Similarly, the firm Corcoran Sunshine, which markets luxury buildings, estimates that 35 percent of its sales since 2013 have been to international buyers, half from Asia, with the remainder roughly evenly split among Latin America, Europe, and the rest of the world. In fact, if you’ve recently been outdone by an outrageous all-cash bid for an apartment, there’s a decent chance that, behind a generic corporate name, there’s a foreign buyer and an offshore bank account. Buildings around Times Square and the Financial District are being marketed heavily overseas. This is because, while New York real estate has significant drawbacks as an asset—it’s illiquid and costly to manage—it has a major selling point in its relative opacity. It answers gleefully in the affirmative, forecasting that over the next decade, the ranks of the ultrarich will increase by 30 percent, with much of the growth coming in Asia and Africa.
Other financial centers boast a similar mix of glamour and apparent security—Knight Frank’s list of the top-ten “global cities” includes London, Paris, Geneva, and Dubai—but New York is forecast to add more ultrahigh-net-worth individuals than any city outside Asia over the next decade. The national firm RealtyTrac reports a recent rise in all-cash sales (a rough indicator of such investor activity) in the metropolitan areas of Florida and New York City, where well over half of all transactions in the first quarter were handled without financing. The development was initially marketed to local finance types, like Daniel Loeb and Sandy Weill, but it quickly attracted buyers from Israel, China, India, and elsewhere.
The owner of a $37 million unit, Novgorod LLC, was widely believed to be a Russian oligarch until it was revealed to represent the chief executive of the British bank Barclays. But confidential records obtained by the ICIJ as a part of a massive leak identify Jolly Star’s owners as Sun Min and Peter Mok Fung, a Chinese couple in the shipping business.
Recently, his firm closed on two units at One57, one to a company called Metty Properties LLC and the other to an entity called Escape From New York LLC.


One recent morning, at the development’s sales office in the GM Building, Wallgren led me down a hallway lined with vintage New York photographs, through a ten-by-ten-foot frame meant to illustrate the building’s enormous window size, to a scale model of Manhattan. Martin Jajan, a lawyer who is one of New York’s most prolific closers in new condo buildings, told me it is not uncommon for him to buy for clients he’s never met.
While putting the deed in the name of a corporate entity has practical advantages—it can be part of a strategy to avoid estate taxes or potential lawsuits, a consideration for rental properties—the tactic is also designed to ensure secrecy. Senate investigators after taking advantage of an amnesty for tax cheats, described the process by which he would manage his funds when visiting Zurich.
The academics sent emails to more than 7,000 firms around the world that offer incorporation services, posing as a variety of characters, like a politically connected Uzbek or a Lebanese representative of an Islamic charity. Most surprisingly, Baradaran found that the suggestion of foreign corruption actually increased the likelihood that a provider would agree to do business.
Documents hauled away during the raid were allegedly later used to transfer ownership of three subsidiaries to a shadow company, controlled by a criminal ring with government ties, which then used sham lawsuits to run up enormous liabilities. In 2012, President Obama signed the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act, imposing sanctions on a list of Russian officials and other alleged accomplices in the fraud. From there, a small portion, $857,000, was transferred into a Swiss bank account belonging to a company called Prevezon Holdings Limited, now controlled by the son of a Russian political figure.
Levin has proposed legislation to extend the Patriot Act’s regulations to real-estate closings and to require disclosure from LLCs, but the bill has gone nowhere. Betting that its proximity would appeal to young bankers, they converted the building and mounted a nightclubby marketing campaign, complete with a 24-hour sales office that featured a fashion-style catwalk.
Stern says that once land and construction costs are figured in, the break-even point for ultraluxury towers such as his is around $5,000 a square foot. The relatively rare new developments that offer apartments in Manhattan’s “affordable” price range, like 400 Fifth Avenue near the Empire State Building, are the ones that have proved particularly popular with foreign investors (400 Fifth Avenue has a large population of Chinese buyers). The Brazilian—a laid-back fellow who nonetheless asked for anonymity—said he was looking for protection against market instability at home.
The approval process and rules for a co-op are much more strict than for a condo, requiring proof of net worth, liquid assets, tax returns, and brokerage statements, not to mention a down payment of at least 20% of the purchase price.
Working through a shell company, she was looking to anchor some of her wealth in an advantageous port: New York City. The one-bedroom the Italian was looking at, on the 27th floor, had a view of the Woolworth Building, sleek finishes, a bachelor-size kitchen, and access to an exclusive terrace reserved for upper-floor residents.
One development project on John Street is “crowdfunding” $50,000 financing shares via the Prodigy Network, a marketing firm with offices in New York and Bogota.
With a little creative corporate structuring, the ownership of a New York property can be made as untraceable as a numbered bank account. An inquiry by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a Washington-based nonprofit, has uncovered numerous cases in which New York real estate figured in foreign financial- and political-corruption scandals. It is much cheaper than London, where tabloid-fanned outrage over property prices has created an uncomfortable political climate and various new or proposed taxes are aimed at foreign investors and offshore entities.
Across the street is the Baccarat, affiliated with the crystal brand, which has been heavily marketed to foreign buyers. A decade ago, the Mexican financier David Martinez shattered a record when he bought a penthouse at the Time Warner Center for $42.5 million, or around $3,500 a square foot.
A Hong Kong tribunal recently convicted Sun Min of trading on inside information related to Coca-Cola’s failed acquisition of a Chinese juice company in 2008, the same year she and her husband made their $15 million purchase. A stocky Ukrainian with thin, slicked-back hair, Perepada had found the apartment on behalf of an investor, whom he would only describe as “Russian-speaking,” who purchased it for $3 million. All he needs to do a deal is a simple corporate structure and a wire transfer to his escrow account. A remote-controlled elevator would take him to a bare meeting room where he and his private banker would discuss his money; all printed account statements would be destroyed after the visit. Shelley, director of the Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center at George Mason University. Ukrainian politician Yulia Tymoshenko has filed a civil lawsuit claiming a crony of the country’s ousted president moved tainted money into New York development projects, while her opponents claim, in turn, that she laundered money through the city’s real estate.
Based on the fake losses, the ring purportedly applied for a $230 million tax refund, which was immediately approved by Russian officials.
Meanwhile, investigative reporters at the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, an Eastern European nonprofit, obtained leaked bank records that appeared to reveal the destination of some of the missing funds: 20 Pine Street.
The company had many interests in real estate, including an investment in a venture with a Soviet-born diamond and property magnate named Lev Leviev—who also happened to be one of the developers of 20 Pine. Prevezon’s attorneys contend that, despite the elaborate chain of events alleged in the government’s civil complaint, prosecutors have offered little explanation for the company’s supposed connection to the Russian tax fraud.
Real-estate attorneys say such rules would violate their legal privilege, and brokers insist the marketplace already provides an incentive to keep transactions clean.
The branding was the work of Michael Shvo, a marketer and pneumatic figure of the bubble era. In other words: On average, every inch of these buildings must sell for 30 percent more than Manhattan’s most expensive penthouse did a decade ago. Though 432 Park’s development team claims it has moved more than half the building’s units, there are persistent whispers about overly ambitious pricing and underwhelming sales. As of January, there were around 12,000 apartments in Manhattan’s development pipeline, but they will probably not come rapidly enough to change the equation for the foreseeable future. He loved a place at the Aldyn, a new building on the Hudson that has drawn many foreign buyers, which was priced at $5.8 million. FATCA aims to clamp down on American tax evasion by requiring foreign banks and other financial institutions to report their U.S. It was first purchased by an investment banker in early 2008 for $1.3 million, was resold in 2011 for $850,000, and was now back on the market for close to its prerecession price. The Related Companies is using a federal program that promises green cards to foreign investors to raise cheap capital for its Hudson Yards project. And that makes the city an island haven for those who want to stash cash in an increasingly monitored global financial system.
South American buyers are a particular force in Miami, where they are credited with reviving the city’s condo market after the ruinous real-estate crash. During divorce proceedings, his wife filed a lawsuit claiming that the trust was a “sham entity” created to conceal the oligarch’s wealth. Escape From New York LLC’s three-bedroom condo, purchased for $32 million, was immediately placed on the resale market. Perepada said his clients insist on confidentiality and instructed me not to identify our location, a popular one with foreign buyers. In 2012, federal prosecutors seized a Trump Park Avenue apartment from the son of a Philippine general who had been convicted of taking bribes. The only link the complaint alleges is a pair of wire transfers amounting to less than $1 million, which Prevezon claims were made in the course of normal business dealings.
While Leviev’s involvement in New York real estate ended unhappily, with price cuts, lawsuits, and an ongoing investigation by the state attorney general, Shvo has made a comeback as a developer. The developer recently brought in an outside firm, Douglas Elliman, to assist with marketing. Competition will continue to drive the wealthy—foreign and domestic—to Brooklyn and middle-class buyers to despair.
By the time he visited the sales office of the building in construction next door, One Riverside, he was saying his budget started at $4 million. Rosabianca told the Italian it would rent for more than $4,000 a month, enough to assure a healthy cash flow while its value appreciated.
So the Italian spent most of her Sunday in taxis, bouncing from Gramercy to Tribeca to the High Line in search of the right place to store her wealth.
At One57, currently the city’s most expensive new address, the tax break amounts to around 94 percent. Stern is designing a building where prices will start at $27 million and run up to well over $100 million. Wallgren is currently leading sales at 432 Park Avenue, which is being developed by Harry Macklowe and the CIM Group.
He takes them to Jean Georges, gets them hockey or Broadway tickets, rents helicopters or horse carriages, sets them up with plastic surgeons. A $1.6 million condo in the Onyx Chelsea, belonging to a former Taiwanese prime minister, was seized after it was tied to a corruption scandal.
He’s now involved in several high-profile projects, including a high-rise development on Thames Street near the World Trade Center, and he says he is targeting the foreign market. And by the time 432 Park is completed next year, Stern’s building and others should be coming in right behind to compete for the same fickle pool of buyers.
Under the persistent charm of a saleswoman, he ended up perusing the impressive floor plan for an $8 million unit.
A Times analysis estimated that its priciest penthouse, which is reportedly in contract for more than $90 million, would initially be billed less than $1,500 a month. Its most expensive penthouse has an asking price of $95 million—which works out to $11,000 a square foot.
He says that by building a rapport, he is able to sell 80 percent of his properties with a simple phone call.



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