Bagging a trophy home

A penthouse at the coveted Time Warner Center briefly held the title of most expensive listing in the city before getting a price chop

Listings photos reveal a good deal of art in the home, including some rather eerie statues.

Why buy an incredibly expensive home when you can simply rent (a super-pricey) one? The anonymous owner of a penthouse at the Time Warner Center is certainly banking on someone feeling this way. The owner, whose name is shielded behind an LLC, listed unit #75CE for a whopping $125,000 a month in mid-July and dropped the rent 20 percent two weeks later to $100,000. Quite a discount.

The initial price briefly made it the most expensive listing in the whole city; however, it’s not clear where it ranks at the discounted price. Still, a monthly nut of $100,000 likely puts it among the highest. Notably, in March, a 68th-floor apartment listed for $110,000 per month claimed the mantle of most expensive nonhotel rental in the city.

The Time Warner Center is an impressive address. As Upper West Side denizens know, the building consists of two glassy towers with approximately 190 condos that enjoy incredible views of Central Park and the city. Building amenities include all you would expect from a white-glove building and more, thanks to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel onsite. The hotel’s spa is located on the 35th floor. The towers sit above the Shops at Columbus Circle, which star restaurants Masa and Per Se and shops such as Bose, Cole Haan, Diptyque, Stuart Weitzman and Whole Foods.

With such a pricey home,
there’s no stigma associated
with being a renter among luxury buyers here.

The listing, with Elizabeth Sample and Brenda Powers of Sotheby’s International Realty, was first spotted by Curbed. With an enormous spread of 4,350 square feet, it has five bedrooms, six and a half bathrooms, a 40-foot great room, 12-foot ceilings, “jetliner views” of the entire city (and beyond), two kitchens, a wood-paneled library, a Crestron system that controls the motorized window treatments, a stereo system with speakers in every room and a touch-screen audiovisual system for all television and iPad/iPhone docks.

From the listing photos, we also see there’s some art in the home, like statues of tall, skinny men in the living room. We’re pretty sure those would give us nightmares for days.

This unit has been listed on the rental market before, first asking $75,000 in 2010, with the price gradually going up from there. The unnamed owners paid $24.5 million for it in 2008.

Secrecy is a hallmark in Time Warner — this was of course one of the buildings profiled in the New York Times’ February, 2015 five-part special report, “Towers of Secrecy,” which looked at the practice of using shell companies to hide identities of buyers of luxury condos. The report estimated that over 80 percent of the luxury apartments at Time Warner are sold this way, often to foreign billionaires looking for a safe investment, or in the extreme cases profiled by the NYT, allegedly corrupt individuals looking for a place to stash their cash. While the government, prompted by the bombshell report, created new disclosure rules, a 78th-floor Time Warner penthouse sold in July 2015 for $51 million to an unnamed buyer.

The building appears to have discretion baked into its design. As the Times’ writers described it, “There are no door buzzers or mail slots with residents’ names. You are unlikely to bump into neighbors wandering the halls because only about a third of the owners live there at any one time.”

With such privacy, there’s likely no stigma to being a renter among luxury owners here. But there’s likely no one to brag to about bagging one of the city’s priciest rentals, either.