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Palace In The Sky

By Chris Boyle


What do the likes of General Electric Pension Fund, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Starwood Property Trust, Starwood Capital, The Carlyle Group, iStar Financial, Westbrook Partners and Rockpoint Group have in common?  Among others things, all have been partners with Witkoff, founded in 1997 by Steve Witkoff, a fully integrated real estate development firm.


While the fact that over that period Witkoff has acquired some 60 buildings with over 12,000 residential units valued at $7 billion may not mean much to elite travelers, if you are looking for a spectacular place to call home or one of your homes, you will want to pay attention.

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According to a 2013 Financial Times article the penthouse at Witkoff’s 10 Madison Square West sold for $37 million. Elaine Diratz, Managing Director of Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group says the high price tag reflects that while bigger may be better, attention to detail with high finishes, top designers and super services have enabled Witkoff to create demand at the highest levels possible.


The next big thing for Witkoff looks to be 515 East 72nd Street.  Using what was previously a common area on the building’s 41st floor, work is well underway on a penthouse that will have some 5,400 square feet of indoor space complimented by 3,300 square feet of outdoor space divided between east and west facing terraces.


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Skipping past constructions barriers, Head of Sales and Marketing Lauren Witkoff previewed the space, expected to fetch somewhere around $17 million. All windows on the floor have been expanded so they are now floor to ceiling, providing spectacular panoramas of New York City.


Landscape architect Dirtworks (think the Rockefeller Center Channel Gardens) was brought in solely to design the terraces and turn them into literal gardens in the sky. With views from the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge to the north and south to the 59th Street Bridge, the east facing terrace runs the width of the building looking out across the East River to Long Island. It includes a full Viking outdoor kitchen.  And for a change of pace, the inside kitchen includes a floor to ceiling wine storage. There are up to five bedrooms, including two masters, however, the flexible floor plan could easily include a media room or fitness area.


On the west side, the two master bedrooms open up to sectioned off terraces and there is an area for entertaining as well, perfect for spectacular sunsets.  A covered area will enable the future owner to enjoy the views no matter the weather or season. A spectacular master bathroom may just sell the apartment sight unseen. Keyed elevators ensure privacy and security, and the building includes its own private park, a 56-feet racing pool, two hot tubs, a state-of-the-art fitness center, an Elements Spa, a Jodi’s Gym for youngsters, basketball and squash courts plus a full service concierge.  If you keep your private jet at LaGuardia, you can be wheels up in less than 20 minutes from the prime Upper East Side location.  The residence is not on the market yet, so eager elite travelers might want to take an early look to see what’s on offer.


Witkoff says pleasing high end consumers is all about the details:  “Everyone has a gym, we bring in top trainers,” adding, “It used to be you would have standard finishes. Now it’s all about putting in the highest quality finishes so people can move right in and enjoy their home.”


Witkoff says more ultra high-end residences are in the future.  101 Murray Street in partnership with Fisher Brothers will rise from the space where St. John’s University School of Risk Management will be razed.  It’s Hudson River location will leave you about eight minutes from the West 30th Street Heliport, and the marketing boss says owners will be in for a spectacular experience.  “We are always looking for what’s next.  What other services can we provide,” she said.

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