Back in May of 2012 the Trump Tower Penthouse – 14,260 sq ft of raw space – hit the market listed at $32 MM: Trump Tower Penthouse: Highest Residence In Western Hemisphere For $32,000,000. At the time I noted that that worked out to $2244/ sq ft, which I saw as a huge amount of money, despite the fact that this property was like no other. As a rough point of comparison, other units in this building sometimes sell as high as $1000/ sq ft finished.
But at the end of the day a property is worth exactly what someone is willing to pay and it was just revealed yesterday that Sanjay Shah, the founder and CEO of Vistex, bought the penthouse for $17 MM. Oh…and he paid cash and he is going to have to put another $15 MM into it to finish it out. That means that when he is done he will have paid the original asking price, but for finished space. I suspect this was the deal Trump was offering all along.
So Sanjay is paying full list price? It’s interesting to note that it appears that this was a dual agency deal – the listing agent also “represented” the buyer in addition to the seller. Most likely Sanjay contacted the listing agent directly with regard to this specific property, though it’s also possible he contacted the agent for a general search. And just the buy side commission on this deal is $425,000, which the listing agent now gets in addition to the listing commission. I wonder if Sanjay got a rebate on that?
The penthouse unit has been listed with a “suggested floor plan” that includes 5 bedrooms, 7 full baths, and 2 half baths. However, obviously the buyer is free to do whatever he wants. Apparently, an architect and contractor have not yet even been selected to do the work. 5 parking spaces were also available for the unit but we don’t know how many Sanjay actually got.
Even at $17 MM this appears to be the most money every paid to purchase a residence in Chicago – although I’m sure people have built houses this expensive. The next highest purchase was the 7900 square foot 66th floor penthouse in the Park Tower, which was bought by Ken Griffin, founder and CEO of Citadel, for $15 MM in November 2012. Also offering a 360 degree view of the city and 16 foot ceilings, that penthouse worked out to $1900/ sq ft finished, which is in the same ballpark as this unit.
America, The Land Of Opportunity
Apparently America is still the land of opportunity. Sanjay Shah immigrated to the US from India at the age of 20 in 1988 to get his MBA from Lehigh University. He started his career at Price Waterhouse as an audit analyst and eventually worked for SAP for 6 years as a Platinum Consultant and Logistics Developer. He started Vistex, which is a software company, in 1999 and their revenues are now approaching $200 MM per year. 15 years later he is plunking down $17 MM cash for a condo in the sky.
According to the press release this is going to be an in-town residence for the family, which lives in South Barrington, and they will use it for entertaining business clients, employees, and also hosting charitable events.
We have lived in Chicago’s western suburbs for more than 20 years and intend to keep our family’s home rooted there,” said Shah. “As our two daughters are now high school and college age, my wife and I sought to find a special place for our family to enjoy, and also to use for my company and charitable efforts. Through my global work, I have spent a considerable amount of time in many other world–class cities, but none compare to our hometown of Chicago.
The Donald himself was involved in the negotiation and issued the following prepared statement: “This iconic award-winning property continues to set the standard of luxury and quality in Chicago and beyond. I am pleased to see a successful American entrepreneur occupy the penthouse.”
Yep, so am I.
If you want to keep up to date on the Chicago real estate market, get an insider’s view of the seamy underbelly of the real estate industry, or you just think I’m the next Kurt Vonnegut you can Subscribe to Getting Real by Email. Please be sure to verify your email address when you receive the verification notice.