Manhattan’s luxury real estate market has long had some of the best examples of extravagant and amazing homes that are made to both stun and awe. These are, after all, among the tallest buildings in America, and no stone has been left unturned in making sure the apartments inside these magnificent structures are every bit as stunning as their exteriors. But despite how fabulous these homes may be, there are always some discerning customers who want to enhance the grandeur that’s already in the homes they buy for themselves. And that’s when they call in the renovators—architects and designers who channel the owner’s vision for an even more sensational home than he or she already owned in the first place.
The New York Observer has reported on this interesting trend of uber-elite luxury clientele who allow their dazzling properties to be torn down to make way for a newer and often better version of their homes. A good example of this is former Citigroup CEO Sandy Weill’s penthouse at 15 Central Park West that recently sold for an amazing $88 million. Although Weill’s original condo at this premier building had famed architect Robert A. M. Stern’s exquisite touch, Weill wanted something more grander and hired the architect to do a separate, major renovation of his penthouse. The renovation achieved what Weill dreamt of—a “trophy penthouse” that sold for more than double the $43.7 million he paid to buy it in the first place.
With the success of Weill’s penthouse, all eyes are now on the other renovations happening around Manhattan. 15 Central Park West will be seeing two 35th floor apartments combined into a single condominium, which will be having a very hefty $95 million price tag. The same cost is being applied to the newly renovated penthouse at the Ritz Carlton at 50 Central Park South, which boasts of stunning views of the Hudson River, including the Statue of Liberty, from its private terrace. Nicholas S. G. Stern, son of Robert A. M. Stern and owner of Stern Projects LLC., told the Observer that such renovations legitimize these properties in the eyes of prospective customers as homes that are in the “uber-arena.”
Although one may be tempted to leap onto the bandwagon with renovated properties commanding such excellent prices, owners should always proceed with a degree of caution. After all, renovating properties take a lot of time and money, and the stress of doing the same can sometimes get rather annoying as well. And also, one must always remember there is no accounting for taste—designing an apartment to cater too much to one’s perspective alone can hurt the value of the apartment and possibly even cause a dip in the prices it can be listed for. Having said that, if your vision even marginally reflects something of Weill’s stupendous tastes, then go ahead with a renovation by all means. Our eyes are on the lookout for the next best renovation, and yours could certainly be it.