While Mr. Barnett would not reveal the exact amount the buyer agreed to pay for the penthouse, citing a confidentiality agreement, he said it was less than $100 million. The price nevertheless tops the $88 million that a trust benefiting the daughter of a Russian billionaire, Dmitry Rybolovlev, paid this year for a penthouse at 15 Central Park West owned by the former Citigroup chairman Sanford I. Weill. Besides being a record sale for an apartment in Manhattan, that purchase also drew gasps for the record price paid per square foot: more than $13,000.
The One57 penthouse, which features 23-foot ceilings in a grand salon, traded for about $8,000 per square foot, Mr. Barnett said. He called the purchase by the Rybolovlevs, agreed to late last year, “not a good deal,” saying the market for superluxury properties in New York should be closer to $10,000 per square foot.
Foreign buyers, including Brazilians, Chinese and Russians, have been on a buying spree in New York and Miami in recent months, developers and brokers say. Russian and Ukrainian buyers have shown a particular willingness to pay top dollar for so-called trophy properties.
Mr. Barnett was quick to dispel any notion that the One57 penthouse was sold to a Russian, saying the buyer was not Russian, Ukrainian or from “any other part of the former Soviet Union.”
He described the buyer as a “very nice family” who plans to use the penthouse as a residence, and as “someone that people would recognize.” The sale had been a well-kept secret; the buyer agreed to buy the penthouse more than three months ago, he said, when the apartment was listed at $98.5 million — before Extell raised the asking price to $115 million to adjust for the market tumult caused by the 15 Central Park West sale.
Despite setting a record, the One57 penthouse did not crack the elusive $100 million barrier for a residence, which has not been broken either in New York or in Los Angeles. Mr. Barnett said he nearly broke it with a different apartment at One57.
Earlier this year, he said, a foreign buyer was “very, very seriously looking” at the “Winter Garden” unit, a duplex with a separate solarium totaling 13,500 square feet. The buyer was negotiating to buy that apartment and another full floor — a combination of floors 75 to 77 that would have been 20,000 square feet. The price would have been between $100 and $150 million, Mr. Barnett said.
He would not say why the deal fell through.
“I am hopeful we will break it one day,” he said of the $100 million barrier, “in this building or another one.”