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PICS: NYC market takes another leap with $100 000-a-month apartment

Jan 16 2018 18:34
James Tarmy, Bloomberg

New York - Pier Guerci, the former president of the US division of Loro Piana, wasn’t ready to give up his Fifth Avenue penthouse apartment.

He’d bought a warren of nine housekeeper rooms on top of a prewar building in 2000, gutted the original layout, and spent eight years building a duplex overlooking Central Park.

The finished apartment, for which he had to extend the building’s elevator and buy the building’s air rights, has three bedrooms and three and a half baths spread across 3 790 square feet. Just as important, it has an additional 2 760 square feet of landscaped terrace featuring mature trees, bushes, and flowers.

Condominium

The apartment sits on top of a prewar condominium on the corner of 79th Street and Fifth Avenue. (Source: The Corcoran Group)

“It’s kind of an oasis,” Guerci says in a phone interview. “Like being in the country, except you’re in New York. It’s a very unique place.” The apartment, he notes, has three outdoor showers.

suite

The living room and master suite overlook Central Park. (Source: The Corcoran Group)

But when he left his job at Loro Piana and “took a sabbatical for a couple of years from [his] working career” to travel around the world, Guerci didn’t wish to leave his apartment vacant for several years or sell it. In August, he decided to rent it out through broker Leighton Candler at Corcoran Group.

The price? An even $100 000 a month, or $1.2m a year.

Duplex

The duplex is effectively a stand-alone house atop an apartment building. (Source: The Corcoran Group)

“It’s not a replaceable property,” he says. “There’s a lot of different penthouses in the city, but to have something in this location,” he says, “is unique. It’s not like your 60th floor, helicopter-views kind of place. It’s a different kind of feeling completely.”

A willing tenant

For all that, though, the apartment hasn’t found a tenant willing to spend more than a million dollars on annual rent since it was listed. There’s been interest, Guerci says, but prospective renters wanted to do short-term leases and couldn’t agree to the year-long minimum that the building prefers. 

Its vacancy is not, he emphasises, a consequence of its price.

mature plants

The terrace is filled with mature plants. (Source: The Corcoran Group)

“If you look at some of the high-end rentals at the top hotels, they’re substantially higher and not even comparable,” Guerci says. “But also, this house has a daily housekeeper, it has fresh flowers every week and a gardener that takes care of the roof.”

en suite

There are three bedrooms with en-suite baths. (Source: The Corcoran Group)

There’s also the decor. Misa Poggi, an Italian architect who has also designed the interiors of Loro Piana stores around the world, worked with Guerci on the house’s interior.

The home was duly written up in New York magazine, the New York Times Style Magazine, and elsewhere. Writers seem to be particularly taken with the dark blue cashmere panelling that Guerci had installed on his closet doors.

en suite

The apartment overlooks the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Source: The Corcoran Group)

“And then the outdoor space is rather spectacular,” he says. “You can have a dinner for 30 outside on the terrace.”

A crowded field

That might not be enough in what is an increasingly crowded field at the very top of New York’s rental market, says Jonathan Miller, president and chief executive officer of appraiser Miller Samuel.

 “There’s more luxury competition now than there was a few years ago,” he says. “You have a condo market skewed to the high end and a rental market skewed to the high end, so you have more offerings.”

While the number of high-end rentals has ballooned, the number of renters who can afford those rentals has stayed relatively stable, Miller says. “It’s just, how many renters are out there at that level?” he asks. “It’s certainly very thin, but they’re out there.”

Interior

The interior was designed by Italian architect Misa Poggi. (Source: The Corcoran Group)

A cursory look at the city’s available stock shows some bloat at the top: Corcoran - whose most expensive rental is a $500 000-a-month ($6m), six bedroom apartment in the Pierre Hotel, offers three other apartments in the same hotel that range from $75 000 to $125 000 a month.

Elsewhere, Corcoran has a seven-floor, single family townhouse on offer for a mere $70 000 a month.

Gym

The gym on the second floor. (Source: The Corcoran Group)

The realtor Douglas Elliman has apartments in a similar range. At the Plaza Residences, a wealthy renter could lease a three-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bath apartment with Central Park views for $85 000 a month; a four bedroom apartment in the Baccarat Hotel in Midtown for $75 000 a month; or - for the budget-conscious billionaire - an entire townhouse in the West Village for just $60 000 a month, which would total $720 000 a year.

outdoor.

There are three outdoor showers. (Source: The Corcoran Group)

“I’m not commenting if $100 000 is the right number,” Miller says regarding the rental’s price. “But you’re in a market that’s not forgiving about inaccurate pricing.”

Guerci, though, is undaunted. “If it does, it does; if it doesn’t, it’s OK,” he says. “I think, for the right person, it’s a fantastic opportunity to enjoy New York in a really nice way.”

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