Les Alexander Tries the New York Penthouse Flip

Houston Rockets owner and real-estate power forward Les Alexander appears to be doing his single-handed best to boost the upper end of the New York City real estate market. Who’s gonna help him out? Last week, he finally closed on a 6,321-sq.-ft. empty penthouse atop a new Robert A.M. Stern waterfront condo building in the West Village — for $25 million in cash. After pausing to take a deep breath, Alexander then put the unit back on the market — for $39.5 million.

New York real estate blog Curbed says Alexander’s move “has to be the most audacious and downright crazy real estate move of 2009 (though there’s still time!):”

In a matter of hours, the penthouse has gone from selling for $3,955/sf to asking $6,249/sf. Talk about appreciation!

Didn’t the buzzer on that game already sound?

The bare-bones pad features 4 corner terraces, but just a single bathroom and small Kitchen — enough to meet city requirements. The condo building is named Superior Ink, in honor of the factory that was torn down to construct it.

Photo: Related Companies

10 Comment

  • Thanks to this little item, I now have a new definition for “chutzpah”

  • I suspect he is out of touch with the reality of real estate in Manhattan but then he’s from Houston where everyone is out of touch with the reality of real estate everywhere.

    Years ago realtors buried statues of St. Joseph when houses weren’t selling. I suspect at this point they are burying statutes of PT Barnum.

  • The man is far from stupid but this move does make one wonder. Maybe his crystal ball is better than everyone elses?

  • Sounds more like his crystal ball is cracked.

  • If you check the real estate listing, this penthouse is described as ‘unfinished’ and ‘awaiting an owner’s vision.’ My guess is that Les Alexander already knows who he’s going to sell it to.

  • My guess is that Les Alexander already knows who he’s going to sell it to.

    My guess then is that the buyer is looking to launder some money which is the only explanation for anyone willing to pay $39 million for this truly unspectacular penthouse in a truly unspectacular location. That or it’s a Russian oligarch who’s never been to New York before and doesn’t know any better. Of course most of them are laundering money so there you go. It’s a Russian oligarch looking to launder some money.

    These “nouveau” buildings with the big price per square foot price tags are for the “nouveau riche” who have the money for the pre-war co-ops but not the “breeding” required by the boards.

    Money can’t buy happiness. It also can’t get you in the better buildings in Manhattan. Why do you think Trump built Trump Tower?

  • I like the monthly taxes !

  • Ummm… Did anyone look at the floorplan? Talk about underwhelming. I’m not sure if ‘awaiting an owner’s vision’ is correct, I would be ‘awaiting an architect’s vision’.

  • I would never trust a man named Les.