When a person spends $170 million on a painting, you would assume they wouldn’t go bargain hunting for a home. However, most people aren’t taxi driver-turned-investor Liu Yiqian. While some Chinese billionaires were paying more than $45 million for high-level units at Manhattan’s swanky One57 development, Li waited out the market and scored one for $23.5 million, some 25 percent below its original sale price of $31.7 million.
The Shanghai-born businessman purchased the three-bedroom unit on the 62nd floor, which features panoramic views of Central Park as well as a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Jeremy Hu of luxury property agency Compass told the newspaper Liu intends to use the property himself when visiting New York. Perhaps he will stay there when he attends auctions at Christie’s where he purchased Amedeo Modigliani’s 1917 Reclining Nude painting for $170.4 million late last year using his American Express card.
And while that piece won’t adorn his new Manhattan digs — it resides in the Shanghai art museum founded by Liu and his wife — it’s anyone’s guess as to what he plans on using for fine China. In 2014, the everyman billionaire was photographed drinking out of a 500-year old ceramic cup that was once owned by Emperor Qianlong after buying it for $36 million.
Even as China cracks down on capital outflow from the country, it is unlikely to trouble the chairman of Sunline Group who continues to flaunt his wealth with showpiece purchases.
“I’m not nervous at all, because all my wealth is out in the open and there is nothing to worry about,” Liu was quoted by Bloomberg as saying. “Every country has experienced an anti-corruption campaign at some time.”
Another New Chinese Owner At One57
When Liu decides to stop by his new unit he might bump into another mainland billionaire who purchased not one, but two units at the 1004-foot tower in midtown Manhattan.
In February of 2015, Chen Guoqing, co-founder of Hainan Airlines, purchased the 86th floor unit at One57 for $47.4 million. It’s safe to say he liked it because two months later the Vice Chairman and CEO of Pacific American Corporation, a US subsidiary of Hainan Airlines (now known as the HNA Group), decided to purchase another unit on the 88th floor of the building for $47.3 million.
Chen also got a bit of a discount on his second unit being said to have purchased the 579 square meter (6,231 square foot), condo for about 10 percent less than the $52.5 million the project’s builder, Extell Developments was, originally asking.
Lack of Mainland Buyers Hurting Billionaire’s Row
Projects along Billionaire’s Row, which consists of 57th Street from Park Avenue to Columbus Circle in Manhattan, have recorded disappointing sales this year with the high-end market in Manhattan softening as a whole.
The lack of recent sales has been attributed in some part to a disappearance of Chinese buyers. Dolly Lenz from Dolly Lenz Real Estate firm attributed fast-rising prices along Billionaire’s Row running into the face of downward pressures from the Chinese market as one issue currently troubling the marketing.
Liu may be happy with his discounted price, but developers at One57 are wishing for the days of 2014 and 2015 when Chen bought more than $94 million in units and the penthouse at the high-rise fetched $100.5 million. Extell recently cut the project’s sellout value by $162 million with a number of units still on the market.