You won’t find NYC’s best units on Streeteasy. In fact, you won’t find them listed anywhere. That’s because the city’s most exclusive buildings are bought and sold on the DL as whisper listings.
Take Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim. For years he tried and failed to find a buyer for his sprawling $80 million home at 1009 Fifth Ave., just across the street from the Met. But after he pulled the 20,000-square-foot, eight-story Beaux Arts mansion off the market in 2016, the iconic property entered the elusive world of whisper listings. Brokers told Alexa that the Slim mansion is very much still available — and likely at a discount — although it’s difficult to say what he would take.
He’s not the only mogul hoping that exclusivity will move a real estate behemoth. The Zeckendorf brothers — the iconic developers behind one of the city’s richest addresses, 15 Central Park West — have two units officially on the market at their new Robert A.M. Stern-designed 520 Park Avenue (asking $20.5 million and $31 million). What the listings won’t tell you is that there’s also a $130 million penthouse available in the building. Reports have surfaced claiming they’ve started to quietly market that 12,398-square-foot triplex as two separate, less expensive condos. But brokers tell Alexa that the brothers aren’t desperate to sell and that the penthouse can still be snagged as a singular trophy — to those whispering the right number.
Another new development also trying the whisper approach is the Woolworth tower. Only insiders know that the five-story penthouse of the famous downtown tower — NYC’s first skyscraper — is still available for $110 million. Although it hit the market briefly in 2017, it was quickly pulled off, never to (officially) return. All of the 58-story building’s other 31 units have been traded with fanfare, but the developer, Alchemy Properties, has elected to shop its nine-figure trophy hush-hush. After all, what New Yorker doesn’t love a secret?
By Christopher Cameron