Downtown Luxury Condos Come Back Into Play For The Seriously Rich

If you’ve got a spare $20 million floating around, you can get in on the action.

By Jeff Vasishta December 13, 2016

Like the announcement of another Rolling Stones tour, there’s a certain inevitability about the luxury condo market in Manhattan. It always bounces back. Until November, only 11 other condos closed for more than $20 million below 34th Street in Manhattan in all of 2016, according to city deed filings. Then, last month,  the Wall Street Journal reported that Silverstein Properties Inc., the developer of 30 Park Place near City Hall, signed contracts for five new condos costing between about $20 million and $26 million. Sales for the month totaled $110 million.

Why the turn around? An uptick in the economy and the general stability of New York real estate for foreign investors, compared with more volatile markets elsewhere in the world, may have something to do with it. High-end buildings such 30 Park Place, which are the upper residential units in the new Four Seasons hotel, will always carry a certain caché for overseas investors. Much of it has to do with the the Tribeca/Battery Park neighborhood itself.

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“It’s not even a case of gentrification of a neighborhood. Battery Park, is a brand new neighborhood,” said Sotheby’s International broker Kevin Brown who sells to many overseas buyers. “That whole area is just taking off. New schools, new restaurants. Brookfield Place, it is just so impressive. Now there’ll be a train going from there to Newark airport. The Four Seasons downtown is a great building. I’ve sold 8 apartments there.”

The WSJ reported that in late October, one of the last remaining units at the 60-story condo at 56 Leonard St. in Tribeca went into contract. It was listed for $34.5 million. There have been other deals too—at Greenwich Lane, two condos went under contract in early November for $33.9 million and $25.25 million.

RelatedA West Village Condo Complex Aims To Add Some Sanity To NYC’s Real Estate Bling

Much of the flurry is because projects are now finally completed. Buyers can literally see what they’re getting—without the sales hype. A lot also comes from a knock on effect. As an apartment or two moves, it encourages buyers who may have been sitting on the fence to make a move, and this a groundswell and momentum develops.

Another factor may also be the US elections finally being over. Irrespective of the result, it has cast away the uncertainty of who would win. Now buyers have realized that they need to pull the trigger on a purchase—or possibly lose out. The third, most compelling factor about downtown sales is the neighborhood itself. Downtown New York has always been considered cool. Generally, buildings such as 30 Park Place and the yet to be completed 70 Vestry, with their solid limestone facades, evoke a sense of classiness—while also being close to Wall Street and the Financial District.

“Forty to fifty percent of my business now comes through referrals through the Sotheby’s International Realty network,” says Brown. “I work with a lot of other brokers within our network. It’s not so much a referral as a partnership. The Australians (who purchased at the Four Seasons/30 Park Place) came to me looking for exclusives. One thing led to another and now they’ve bought numerous properties from me.”

Nice work if you can get it.

Jeff Vasishta



Jeff is a writer, husband and father but not necessarily in that order. As a music journalist he counts Prince, Beyonce and Quincy Jones amongst those he’s interviewed. He's also owned and flipped homes in Brooklyn, NJ, CT and PA.

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