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Confessions of a New York City Real Estate High-Roller

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What is it like to be a high-end property buyer in New York City? We spoke to one 30-year-old Manhattanite who is on the path to becoming a real estate high-roller?when we chatted earlier this month, he and his wife were just about to enter contract on a 3BR at Chelsea's much-hyped Walker Tower after looking at apartments in the $5 million range. They'll be moving downtown from the large 1BR they own on Central Park South, which they purchased two-and-a-half years ago from a seller who'd been hit badly by the financial crisis. "But for New Yorkers," our anonymous Walker Tower buyer explained, Central Park South "isn't a great place to live."

We asked him to tell us about his and his wife's search for a new home:

We lived in Tudor City, then in Murray Hill, then Dumbo?then we moved to Tribeca, we lived at [redacted]. We bought a house in New Jersey. That's basically our last 10 years in a nutshell. We've been working with [redacted] for a while, so we knew about [Walker Tower]?I was skeptical on the price?it's Chelsea, it's not Central Park West. Until I really saw what you got, it was hard to justify the price per square footage in the building. The reason we went on Central Park is we wanted pre-war [quality]?I've looked at 15 Central Park West and some high-end Park Avenue and Fifth Avenue co-ops?we shopped around. My wife drives out to New Jersey every Wednesday to take her 91-year-old grandma out to lunch. It wasn't until we knew they were getting a valet that we were more interested in [Walker Tower]. We got outbid for a smaller unit that we originally wanted, so we got an even better price on this one. You're still paying above $3,000/square foot. In any other place?for the amount of money we're spending, you could get whatever you want. [In New York], you're always compromising. We gave up outdoor space?We've had it in every apartment we've been in?.I've never had such good doorman as I had in the building I'm in now. There's a lot of pride with the doormen on the park. Downtown you lose those amenities?you won't get that in Walker Tower, you won't get elevator operators, you won't get that level of service. It's not as showy as it is on Park Avenue?.

if I make a financial mistake now it'll cost me for the rest of my life. I think most people that are working and buying in the $5 to $20 milllion price range still have [financial concerns]?they're still going to be focused on appreciation. A lot of people feel they can harbor wealth in these places. They see it as an investment. It's a place to store wealth, it's not just a home.

UPDATE: The buyer has asked Curbed to clarify that although he was looking in the $5 million range, he is paying far more than that for the Walker Tower apartment after deciding it was a special find. According to StreetEasy, available three-bedrooms at Walker Tower begin at $7.65 million.
· Walker Tower coverage [Curbed]

Walker Tower

212 West 18th Street, Manhattan, NY 10011 Visit Website