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Tommy Hilfiger lists his $80 million penthouse at Plaza

Monday, 21 Oct 2013 | 8:00 PM ET
Tommy Hilfiger selling Plaza Hotel penthouse
Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 | 6:53 AM ET
The preppy designer is placing his luxurious penthouse on the market for $80 million, reports CNBC's Robert Frank.

It's the ultimate Tommy Hilfiger accessory: Tommy's own penthouse atop New York's Plaza Hotel.

Tommy Hilfiger, the 62-year-old fashion tycoon, is listing his duplex at the Plaza Hotel for $80 million, making it one of the most exclusive condo listings in Manhattan. The apartment stretches over 6,000 square feet and includes the iconic dome atop the plaza, along with sweeping terraces overlooking Central Park and Fifth Avenue.

If it sells at the asking price, the property would be second-most expensive condo ever to close in New York, according to Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel. The most expensive condo to close is believed to be a penthouse at 15 Central Park West sold by former Citigroup CEO Sandy Weill in 2012.

In an interview, Hilfiger—the founder and principal designer of Tommy Hilfiger—called the property a "castle in the sky." He purchased the property—two units that he combined into one—in 2008 for $25 million. He and his wife, Dee, spent more than $17 million on a renovation that took more than three years.

He said he wanted to design the apartment in keeping with the Plaza's rich history.


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"I wanted to bring back the original vision of The Plaza," he said, "to what it was during Truman Capote's Black and White Ball ... that old-world charm, with the original detail and glamour."

The apartment has four bedrooms, five baths and a grand staircase bathed in red carpet. One of the apartment's most glamorous features is its iconic dome, which is one of the Plaza's most famous features. Underneath the dome, Hilfiger built his own "Eloise Room," named for the famed children's-book character who famously wreaked havoc at the Plaza. The room is painted with murals by Hilary Knight, who illustrated the original "Eloise" books.

Hilfiger said he is selling because he is spending more time in Greenwich, Conn., where he is completing a three-year renovation of a 22-acre estate. The estate is built on the highest point in Greenwich, he said, and overlooks Long Island Sound and New York City. He said Greenwich has become his "main residence" and that his younger children are now attending school there.

He added, however, that it's a good time to sell in New York.

"I think it may be the strongest market in the world right now," he said. "Everyone in the world, whether they're from Qatar or China, wants a luxury apartment in New York."

Hilfiger's apartment is also filled with iconic art—including several important paintings by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol. But Hilfiger said the art is not for sale. He said much of the furniture and furnishings—including pieces once owned by the Duke and Duchess of Windsor—could be included in the sale under the right terms.

(Read more: For sale: Mansion, Bentley, toilet brushes included)

While other developers are building giant glass condo towers nearby, with higher views and more modern styles, Hilfiger said they will never build another apartment like his.

"They're never going to build a building in front of this view of Central Park," he said. "Or the view of Fifth Avenue. And they will never build another Plaza."

(Read more: How the rich get a big real estate tax break)

He said that when it comes to purchasing real estate, he has always operated under the same principal: "You start with location, location, location. And when you couple that with fabulous properties, you have it all."

Hilfiger is listing his property with I. Dolly Lenz, the New York megabroker who recently founded her own real estate firm, Dolly Lenz Real Estate.

By CNBC's Robert Frank. Follow him on Twitter @robtfrank.

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  • A reporter and editor, Robert Frank is a leading authority on the American wealthy for CNBC.