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The Extravagant Real Estate of Global Crossing's Gary Winnick

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After the fiber-optic telecommunications concern Global Crossing entered bankruptcy in 2002—costing shareholders millions and eviscerating the company's 401k plans—it emerged that founder and CEO Gary Winnick had sold a large portion of his holdings for $734M shortly before the stock became virtually worthless. That earned Winnick descriptors like "callous" and "cold-hearted" and prompted blunt headlines like the New York Observer's "Gary Winnick Should Go to Jail." Little more than a decade later, Winnick, who never spent time behind bars, continues to have the last laugh, as his concrete company enjoys success and his Beverly Hills estate is reportedly being quietly shopped around for an astounding $225M. The Bel Air estate known as Casa Encantada, once the home of legendary hotelier Conrad Hilton, was purchased by Winnick in 2000 for a then-ridiculous $94M in cash and land.

Photos: David Horan/Paul Williams Project

? When Winnick went hunting for an appropriate office to house Global Crossing, he settled on the Beverly Hills business compound that was once the headquarters for the Music Corporation of America. The 124,000-square-foot offices were originally designed by legendary Los Angeles architect Paul Williams, who brought his traditional residential eye to the project, and were then expanded in the 1960s. During renovations costing more than $7.5M, Winnick reportedly built himself a replica of the Oval Office as his personal domain during his tenure at Global Crossing, a sign of inflated ego if there ever was one. The CEO purchased the office compound through Pacific Capital Group, his investment firm, for $41.5M in 1998, and then proceeded to lease the property to Global Crossing for a hefty $400,000 per month. In 2002, with the telecommunications company in shambles, the property was put on the market for an undisclosed price.

Born to modest circumstances in Queens, Winnick developed a taste for high-end New York real estate later in life, choosing Fifth Avenue's Sherry Netherland as his pied-a-terre. The apartment, described as "small" in news reports, received a full makeover from celebrated architect Charles Gwathmey and was later the subject of a spread in Architectural Digest. In 1999, Winnick attempted to trade up from this petite pad, but failed.


? Perhaps unsatisfied with the space in his Sherry Netherland pied-a-terre, Winnick agreed to pay $16M for Nelson Rockefeller's former penthouse apartment at 810 Fifth Avenue in 1999. Unfortunately for the soon-reviled businessman, the notoriously picky co-op board rejected his application, reportedly due to the fact that Winnick was planning a full gut renovation that would have inconvenienced other residents. That 17-room duplex would later be divided into two apartments, with one selling last year for close to $24M.

· Gary Winnick Should Go to Jail [New York Observer]
· Bel Air's Casa Encantada Might be Quietly Asking $225M [Curbed National]
· Global Crossing Beverly Hills Headquarters Up For Sale [CRN]
· $27 Million Won't Do! In 1999, Sellers Realize No Price Is Too High [New York Observer]
· Rockefeller Penthouse Suffers a Pricy Blow; Co-op Nixes Renovations [New York Observer]
· 810 Fifth Avenue [Streeteasy]