If 220 Central Park South is heaven, it’s Vornado chief Steven Roth who’s sitting at its limestone-clad gates. Buying in the city’s most exclusive buildings isn’t an easy thing to do—one must, at least, possess millions of dollars, and achieving that in its own right is a mystery—but Steven Roth takes it one step further with 220 Central Park South, where, per The Real Deal, he is watching over just who shall pass into its hallowed halls.
"He’s basically hand-picking the buyers in his building," broker Jacky Teplitzky told TRD after Ross sauntered into a sales appointment Teplitzky was holding with two prospective buyers, and proceeded to grill them about their backgrounds and personalities (What kind of champagne do you prefer to bathe in?) "It’s just bizarre because you don’t have many people asking personal questions like that," Teplitzky said. The occasion wasn’t a one-off. Teplitzky said Roth has showed up at all of the other sales appointments she’s had for the building.
Leonard Steinberg, President of Compass, compared the approach to co-op board interviews. If the country of France isn’t good enough to buy a co-op at River House, who passes muster at 220 Central Park South? The pool of applicants for bajillion-penny apartments is not that deep, but the wading area is crowded. Teplitzky says Roth’s turned away prospective buyers based on their answers to a preliminary questionnaire issued even before they’re invited into the gallery. Roth also requires that all prospective buyers come into the sales gallery, even if they live abroad.
Vornado has declined to comment on the rigamarole, but sources of TRD suspect that Roth’s looking to skirt the same kind of damning New York Times expose that marred Related's Time Warner Center and spurred a federal action to bar anonymity and ID all-cash buyers.
The interviews don’t only serve as quality control, but some also think it’s a brain scam. "That which is not available to everyone is the thing people want most," Steinberg said, to which all rejected buyers scoffed and shuffled down the street to One57 or 432 Park Avenue.
- At 220 CPS, Steve Roth is the bouncer [TRD]
- Scandal-Plagued Foreigners Park Millions in Midtown Condos [Curbed]
- Feds Will Now ID Anonymous Buyers of Manhattan Real Estate [Curbed]
- All 220 Central Park South coverage [Curbed]