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Woolworth Building sets another record

$110 million sought for penthouse suite

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NEW YORK -- Lower Manhattan's landmark Woolworth Building, once the tallest skyscraper in the world, is setting another record.

Developers are seeking $110 million for the penthouse apartment in the pinnacle of the 58-storey tower, a proposed offering plan filed with New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office shows. That's the highest-ever asking price for a condominium in downtown Manhattan, according to Jonathan Miller, president of appraiser Miller Samuel Inc.

"The price is more reflective of the unique historical nature of the property" than its location or the heated luxury market, Miller said. "We've seen rapid absorption downtown, but this project is unlike anything that's come online."

The upper floors of the building with its neo-Gothic spire rising aboveNew York, are being converted into 34 luxury apartments. The tower, designed by Cass Gilbert for five-and-dime-store pioneer Frank Woolworth, was completed in 1913. At 241 metres, it was the world's tallest skyscraper until 1930.

Plans call for "spacious, super high-end homes" with ceiling heights of 11 to 14 feet on average, says a statement by developer Alchemy Properties from 2012 , when it led an investor group that bought the top 30 storeys of the office building. Residents would have a separate lobby and elevators, said the statement.

The developer is incorporating the architectural integrity of the tower, designated a national historic landmark in 1966, into the design for the residences, said Kenneth S. Horn, president of Alchemy Properties.

"There is nothing like the Woolworth Building in the entire world," Horn said in an email. "It is an iconic landmark and it cannot be duplicated."

Prices for the condos start at $3.5 million for a 1,209- square-foot unit on the 44th floor, according to the proposed offering plan, which is under review by the attorney general's office. Three units in addition to the penthouse are listed at more than $20 million, including a 6,084-square-foot full-floor apartment with a terrace on the 31st storey for $24 million.

The $110-million penthouse is about 8,975 square feet with a 584-square-foot terrace. The four-bedroom condo with a private elevator spans nine storeys, with the primary living space on the 50th and 51st floors, according to the offering plan. A great room and wine cellar make up the 53rd floor, and the 55th through 58th levels include a library or media room and an observation deck at the top, the plan shows.

The Woolworth Building penthouse isn't the most expensive new condo listing in Manhattan's history. Two units at Extell Dewvelopment Co.'s One57 were priced at $115 million. Penthouses at One57 and Harry Macklowe and CIM Group's 432 Park Ave. are under contract for more than $90 million, a record for Manhattan.

The price record for downtown was set in January with the $50.9-million purchase of a 5,955-square-foot full-floor penthouse at the Walker Tower.



Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 3, 2014 B6

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