Just because a whale decided to drop millions on a property, doesn't mean that he or she is getting a deal. In fact, some of the priciest properties are also the worst values, at least on a per-square-foot or per-bedroom basis. A perfect example is the former Monaco penthouse of the late banking titan Edmond Safra, which was sold in 2010 for a whopping $305M. The sellers were the Candy brothers, the British developers who turned out London's blockbuster One Hyde Park (more on that later), and they made a more than handsome profit on the place. The duo paid just $16M for the 17,500-square-foot spread when Safra's widow wanted to sell quickly—her husband had died in a fire at the apartment that was started by one of his nurses—and claimed to have spent more than $40M renovating before flipping the property to an unnamed buyer, thought to be an Arab sheik. Yes, the penthouse is huge, but with that astronomical price tag, the buyer ended up paying an astonishing $17,428 a square foot.
? In case it wasn't obvious from the $249M profit they made on that Monaco penthouse, the Candy brothers have done quite well for themselves by pandering to the real estate whales. In London, they built a wildly expensive, Richard Rogers-designed condo building named One Hyde Park, located on the edge of that famous city park and backing up on one of London's toniest shopping districts. In early 2011, Ukrainian billionaire Rinat Akhmetov paid the ungodly sum of $223M for an unfinished duplex. The sale included some 25,000 square feet of space, but cost $9,500 a square foot in its concrete box form. So how much did Akhmetov set aside for finishing his dream flat? A cool $98M.
? The apartment towers in the hills above Hong Kong are some of the most expensive in the world and that point was proven late last year, when a full-floor unit at the Frank Gehry-designed Opus Hong Kong sold for $61M. At $9,773 per square foot, it was a hideously expensive purchase, but one that includes breathtaking views of the Hong Kong skyline and a healthy does of starchitect street cred.
? The posh Caribbean island of St. Barts is no stranger to outlandishly priced estates, but usually they include more than one bedroom. Not so with the Villa LIZ, the former winter residence of designer Liz Claiborne. Set on a 1.35-acre hillside lot, the house came to market in 2010 with the astronomical asking price of $16.7M, but didn't sell until the price was slashed to $9M. Even that seems like too much to pay for just the one bedroom, but a caretaker's cottage at the top of the drive could double as space for guests.
? Given the resale success experienced by so many early buyers at Manhattan's 15 Central Park West, it is hard to say for certain that this $27.75M apartment won't continue to appreciate in value. For the moment, though, it had better be a great place to live, as it is currently the most expensive apartment, on a per-square-foot basis, offered in New York City. With just 2,761 square feet under the roof, the per-square-foot cost is upwards of $10,000. And it is not as though the sparsely furnished apartment has seen some impressive redesign. Nope, the walls are still a stock white and the floorplan hasn't been altered since Robert A.M. Stern's blueprints. Central Park, viewed from on high from this 32nd-floor aerie, is the main selling point here, along with the building's stirling reputation.
· $305M 'fire sale' on Safra's ex-digs [NY Post]
· Tour One Hyde Park, Home to London's Most Expensive Flat [Curbed National]
· Hong Kong apartment fetches record $61 million [AFP]
· Liz Claiborne's Caribbean Hideaway Pushes Price Envelope [Curbed National]
· 15 Central Park West #32C [Streeteasy]
· All Whale Week 2013 posts [Curbed National]