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NYC penthouse sells for $238 million, setting national record

The condominium at 220 Central Park S. was purchased by billionaire Citadel founder Ken Griffin.

The sale of a Manhattan penthouse at 220

The sale of a Manhattan penthouse at 220 Central Park S. to billionaire Ken Griffin set the city and national record. Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photo/Radharc Images / Alamy Stock Photo

Billionaire Ken Griffin's $238 million purchase of a Central Park penthouse shattered the country's home price record, but at least one appraiser did not expect the sale to signify much for the city's sluggish luxury market. 

Griffin, the founder of the hedgefund Citadel, closed on a $238 million deal for a condominium at 220 Central Park S., a spokesman for Griffin said Wednesday, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal. 

By breaking the record for the most expensive home sale in the United States, the transaction by default broke the city record which was set last year when computer company founder Michael Dell spent $100.47 million on a condo.

Jonathan Miller, president of the Miller Samuel appraising firm, said he had been closely monitoring 220 Central Park S. since Griffin signed a contract for the penthouse in 2015. He said the price tag reflected the market a few years ago, when developers were eager to built ultra-high-end units.

"It represents what the market was during the new development super luxury frenzy, between 2014 and 2015," Miller said.

Griffin's digs will sit atop a 79-story tower under construction for an estimated $1.4 billion. Miller noted that Griffin may have customized the construction of the penthouse in ways that increased the final price.

Tal Alexander, part of the Alexander Team at Douglas Elliman that represented Griffin, declined to comment.

Vornado Realty Trust, which is developing 220 Central Park S., expects the tower to generate $1 billion in after-tax cash flow and net income once all of its condos are sold, according to an October regulatory filing. Vornado was represented by Deborah Kern of the Corcoran Group in the transaction, who declined to comment.

Robert A.M. Stern Architects designed the building. About 83 percent of the units are under sales contracts, with closings scheduled through 2020, according to Vornado, which declined to comment on Griffin's purchase.

The purchase was not just a historic moment for the New York real estate market, but also eclipsed the prior record for a U.S. residential purchase, set by another hedge fund billionaire, Barry Rosenstein, in 2014 in East Hampton.

Griffin, who Forbes estimates is worth $9.9 billion, in November paid $58.75 million for a four-level penthouse in Chicago, the most ever for a home in that city, according to media reports.

Public records show Griffin also has spent close to $250 million for land in Palm Beach, Florida, the Journal said.

Despite the extraordinary closing price, Miller said New Yorkers should not expect a dramatic shift in the luxury Manhattan market. The penthouse in question is an outlier, even for the luxury market, Miller said.

"There will be other sales that will be over $100 million, but it won’t happen frequently. That was the expectation five or six years ago when this (high end development) started," Miller said. 

with amNY

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