Foreign billionaires are parking their money in the U.S. at an accelerated rate, snapping up landmark properties from commercial towers like New York’s General Motors Building to trophy residences in New York, California and Florida. For the FORBES Billionaires issue, we highlighted some of the most noteworthy recent purchases:
New York City
$26 million (Nov. ’13)
The cofounder and CEO of one of China’s largest property developers picked up a town house on East 74th Street; together with Brazilian billionaire Moise Safra, she also purchased a 40% stake in New York’s General Motors Building for $700 million. The townhome boasts a gleaming, hand-carved Italian facade, five bedrooms, seven-and-one-half baths, a private garden (a rarity in New York) as well as a private roofdeck.
$30 million (June ’13)
Property records show that a “Michael Ashley” purchased the gold-leaf-accented Castello del Sol in Miami; our sources say the buyer is a billionaire from the U.K. The reclusive British founder of retailer Sports Direct and owner of soccer team Newcastle United matches both the name and description. The estate features 17,000 square feet of living space, including eight bedrooms, nine-and-one-half baths, a double kitchen, a library, a theater, a safe room, and a rooftop lounge overlooking the bay and downtown Miami. It also boasts 349 feet of Biscayne Bay frontage, enough for parking a yacht or two. When it sold last year it clocked in at Miami’s third-highest home sale price.
$16.5 million (Dec. ’12)
The French luxury-goods tycoon acquired the Singleton House in Bel Air, home of the late Vidal Sassoon. The modernist four-bedroom home, designed by Richard Neutra and featured in Architectural Digest, sits on 5 acres with a pool. The original owner, Henry E. Singleton, was an engineer who cofounded electronics-and-aeronautics giant Teledyne. Not to be confused with the Singleton Estate (also in Los Angeles and commissioned by the same Henry Singleton) which was designed by Wallace Neff and is currently in escrow and was listed at $75 million.
$3.3 million (Aug. ’12)
He didn’t spend a vast sum, but the purchase was a dramatic change for the “homeless billionaire,” known for living out of hotels for the past decade. Sierra Towers, the building where Berggruen purchased, has reportedly been home to a number of celebs, including Elton John, Cher, Joan Collins, David Geffen, Sidney Poitier, Lindsay Lohan, and Courteney Cox. Berggruen also bought a pad in New York City and says he’s happy to be shedding the nickname. Both properties are currently under renovation, so for now Berggruen continues to stay in hotels.
$117.5 million (Nov. ’12)
Japan’s Softbank chief purchased this hilltop estate in a horsey neighborhood from Tully Friedman, a San Francisco private equity chief, and is widely thought to have overpaid. The 9,000-square-foot home has 360-degree views of the 9-acre property.
New York City
$75 million (pending)
The Russian oligarch was reported to be in contract at the end of last year to close on this Fifth Avenue town house on Central Park, but the deal fell through. Sources now say it’s back on and slated to be completed in the near future. Complicating factors: the building, originally built as a single-family home, has been separated into five units, of which the seller only owns three. Sources say one of owners does not want to sell. That could make a potential buy-out price for Abramovich exorbitant. Not, of course, that it matters at all to a man who is worth $9.1 billion.
Fun Factlet: 95 — The number of $10 million-plus homes sold in New York City in the 12 months ended June 2013, 72 ahead of second-ranked Los Angeles.
Source: Forbes Auto