Retro Park West Defines Luxe Living

1920s-style condo building has sold $2 billion in units
By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 5, 2008 1:00 PM CDT
Most luxury condos built today rely largely on glass, something 15 Central Park West, not pictured, avoids.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – In a condo market full of colorful towers, 15 Central Park West appears 80 years out of date—and is the best-selling apartment building in history. Its 19-story limestone exterior, graced with terraced setbacks and a 20s-style tower, may seem "severe," Paul Goldberger admits in Vanity Fair—but Sting, Denzel Washington, and a cadre of high-flying execs have spent a total of $2 billion to live there.

Developers Arthur and William Lie Zeckendorf snapped it up 4 years ago for about $400 million, a price many deemed outrageous. And their pick of architect Robert A.M. Stern to design a retro look went against the grain. Now owners are flipping the condos for multimillion-dollar profits and driving a "speculative frenzy" that hardly seems retro—"unless, that is, it's really 1929."