NYC’s famed Plaza is losing its luster on the market – New York Post

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Fittingly, Robert Kraft — the billionaire owner of the New England Patriots — has fled Manhattan’s famed Plaza for a home nearby on Billionaires’ Row.

He recently sold his Plaza condominium for $22.5 million, decamping to the 70-story skyscraper 220 Central Park South located two blocks west. That purchase was $34 million.

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Compared with the glitzy, modern towers that punctuate the Manhattan skyline, the Plaza — dominating the corner of Central Park South and Fifth Avenue with its French-Renaissance grandeur — is losing its luster. In fact — since it was converted into a hybrid condominium and hotel in 2008 — the building never really gained much steam.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft sold his Plaza unit off-market for $22.5 million for a home inside the exclusive 220 Central Park South. Getty Images
The Plaza has long been an iconic sight in Manhattan — thanks to its handsome design, as well as its prime location steps from Fifth Avenue and Central Park. SDF_QWE –

Currently, according to StreetEasy, nearly a quarter of the Plaza’s condo units are listed for sale. Many have seen big price drops or have been sitting on the market, sometimes languishing there for years.

Typically, fewer than 10% of a building’s units are listed for sale at any one time — the sweet spot is 5 to 7%, said Jonathan Miller, president of the appraisal firm Miller Samuel. But these days, “because of the spike in mortgage rates, owners are less likely to list,” he said, resulting in an average of 4.4% for buildings near the Plaza.

At the Plaza, 38 of its 163 condo units are listed — a startling 23.3%. The ratio is well above that of competitive buildings, Miller said, “which suggests there is a potential issue within the building or a resistance in the market that is causing more listings to appear.”

In Kraft’s towering new building, 220 Central Park South, just 3 out of 117 units are listed. That’s a ratio of 2.6%.

Why the glut of Plaza listings?

“The first thing that comes to mind is the amenities,” said Bernice Leventhal of the Corcoran Group, who just listed a large one-bedroom there. “The Plaza has basic amenities compared with these new buildings, which are so highly amenitized.”

Denim baron Tommy Hilfiger spent 11 years trying to sell his home inside the Plaza. Tamara Beckwith
Hilfiger’s home once asked as much as $80 million. Tamara Beckwith
The aerie finally sold for $31.25 million in late 2019. Tamara Beckwith
Tommy Hilfiger and his wife, Dee Ocleppo. AFP via Getty Images

The Plaza’s amenities include a gym, a spa, a bar and concierge services — whereas the new towers also boast extras like swimming pools, private restaurants, golf simulators and padel courts.

And, of course, the skyline-defining skyscrapers bring the excitement and cachet of something special and state-of-the-art. Their windows are full sheets of glass — in contrast to the Plaza’s ordinary and comparatively puny windows.

People who want the Plaza, Leventhal said, “are diehard Plaza people,” who far prefer a historic building over a new development. “You are choosing between older vs. newer, modern vs. classic.”

Her listing, unit 1807, is a huge one-bedroom — nearly 1,400 square feet — with an extra half-bath, asking $5.49 million. Monthly charges and taxes are in the low $5,000 range. It was on the market in 2018 for $1 million more, and has more recently been rented out for $11,500 a month.

The unit faces Central Park on a high floor. It’s the most expensive of the Plaza’s nine one-bedrooms currently on the market.

“There are not that many one-bedrooms that face the park,” Leventhal said. The Plaza’s interior units overlook a courtyard with a fountain. The hotel units are generally in the back, facing 58th Street.

Among the current offerings in the building: two units that can be merged into a duplex — and with stunning design details, to boot. Guillaume Gaudet
The asking price for units 1801 and 1901 together is $28.7 million — down about $3 million from last year. Guillaume Gaudet
Today’s luxury buyers crave the city’s glassy supertalls, which offer floor-to-ceiling exposures — unlike homes at the Plaza, which have comparatively puny windows. Guillaume Gaudet

Currently, Charlie Attias of Compass holds around a dozen Plaza listings. (Some units, which can be combined, are double-listed.) One listing advertises two units that can be merged into a duplex. The price for both is $28.7 million, down from $31.4 million a year ago.

Today’s Plaza listings “are very well priced,” Attias said. “The Plaza has great deals now. Prices are back to where they were 15 years ago, so there are deals to be made there.”

He agrees that many buyers are drawn to the ultra-modern tall towers.

“I think there is an oversupply in the Midtown high-end condo luxury market because of all the new construction, and it takes time to get absorbed,” Attias said, adding that “there is nothing new being built or planned to be built.”

What’s more, “there are fewer international buyers than usual,” he said, “but they are coming now as the weather gets better, so I expect activity to pick up.”

Investment banker Ken Moelis sold his Plaza home for $10.75 million in 2023 — a loss from its 2007 purchase price. REUTERS
A view inside Moelis’s former home, which has a gracious layout. © Travis Mark
Moelis’s onetime home looked out to the treetops of Central Park. © Travis Mark

The Plaza dates from 1907, when it started life as an opulent hotel outfitted with gold-rimmed china and crystal chandeliers. Over the years, it has hosted celebrities, luminaries and dignitaries — even a little girl named Eloise.

The building changed hands several times, and the most recent renovation — the one that turned it into a condo-hotel — took three years and cost more than $400 million.

In some ways, said Miller, the appraiser, “the Plaza is singular because it came on the market at the same time as 15 Central Park West.” That was about 15 years ago, and both luxury buildings, aimed toward the ultra-rich, were priced equally, he said. “But 15 CPW has seen prices double or triple. In the Plaza that’s not happening.”

The kitchen inside the Smuckers’ recently sold Plaza residence. Elegran Forbes Global Properties
Tim and Jenny Smucker sold the unit for $2.5 million at auction; they paid $2.9 million for it. Elegran Forbes Global Properties
The Smuckers sold this Plaza dwelling to upgrade to a bigger one on a higher floor. Elegran Forbes Global Properties

A few months ago, Tim and Jenny Smucker, of Smucker’s jam fame, sold their Plaza pied-à-terre — a one-bedroom with a terrace — for $2.5 million at auction. They had paid $2.9 million three years ago. They took the loss — but they also upgraded to a bigger one-bedroom on a higher floor, paying a discounted $3.7 million on an original price of $4.25 million.

In 2023, investment banker Ken Moelis sold his Plaza condo for $10.75 million — some 16 years after purchasing the three-bedroom spread for a higher $11.23 million.

And five years ago, shortly before COVID, fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger sold his Plaza place for a mere $31.25 million — after it sat on the market for 11 years, once priced at $80 million. The bargain buyer was automotive mogul Terry Taylor.

Currently, the Plaza’s most expensive listing is the trophy “double penthouse” — a duplex merged with a triplex, with two private elevators and 10,000 square feet. It was listed last winter and soon saw its price fall from $70 million to $60 million.

“There are so many glass high rises,” the listing reads, “but there is only one Plaza.”

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