In a condo market full of colorful towers, 15 Central Park West appears 80 years out of date—and is the best-selling apartment building in history.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."