We finally know who overpaid for the $100-million apartment in NYC

Losing its shine.
Losing its shine.
Image: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan
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The mystery buyer of Manhattan’s most expensive apartment has been revealed: the Wall Street Journal says it’s Dell Technologies founder Michael Dell, who purchased the property for its $100-million asking price.

Dell’s 10,923 square foot duplex in the One57 tower went into contract in 2012 for $100.47 million, a price since rivaled by that of the Woolworth Building’s crown jewel (paywall), an apartment that hit the market last fall for $110-million, and the four-floor sky manse at 220 Central Park South asking $250 million.

The One57 sale, when completed in 2015, broke Manhattan’s previous record, set in 2014 with a $50.9-million penthouse at Chelsea’s Walker Tower. (Last year, a three-penthouse combo that covers 12,000 sq ft at 432 Park Ave sold for $91 million.)

Now it looks like Dell paid double that of any other buyer at One57, the sparkling supertall that has seen its share of discounts in recent years. Could the price really be worth the extra space?

The troubles of One57

One57 made headlines in 2017 for being home to New York’s largest apartment foreclosure—the original owner was Nigerian oil tycoon Kolawole Akanni Aluko, who was implicated in a money-laundering scheme that included the unit for which he had paid $50.9 million. It was eventually unloaded by its mortgage holder at an auction for $36 million.

Then there’s One57’s Unit 83, a 6,240 sq ft spot sold at a $13 million discount in 2016: Bought for $58.5 million in 2015, it ultimately changed hands for $45.8 million.

What was once the Manhattan’s hottest apartment building—back when Dell signed up for his deal in 2012—has since lost its sheen. Facing a slew of discounts and mixed reviews after the opening hype died down, it has been passed over for other apartments on Billionaire’s Row, the swath of Midtown Manhattan that includes the 96-story 432 Park Ave, the Western Hemisphere’s tallest residential building.

Now featuring bargains for billionaires

The spectacular price cuts at One57 reflect drops in the super-luxury market over the past few years in New York and across the US.

Nicknamed the Billionaire’s Building, the 1,000-ft glass tower was erected to tempt foreign buyers. From one of Manhattan’s most coveted addresses five years ago, it has since been accused of “aspirational pricing“(paywall), and was one of the first so-called “skyscraper condo” buildings to be hit by a correction. Recent resales have been trading at 25% less than their peak in 2014, according to real-estate appraisal firm Miller Samuel.

New York’s luxury market has had top-priced global competition, with the $149-million sale of two units in a Hong Kong luxury building last year, and the $221-million global record going to a pad at London’s One Hyde Park. Kirk Henkel’s, director of Stribling Private Brokerage, told the Journal last year that for international buyers, “The spotlight was on [One57] and then it faded,” (paywall) adding that the building’s design was “not architecturally popular.”

Today, while 432 Park has just set a record as New York’s best-selling building of all time, resale values at One 57 have slid. A similar problem was faced by London’s Shard building, the apartment tower built around the same time as One57, which has been trying to sell its ultra-modern, £50-million flats for five years to no avail.