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Arthur And William Lie Zeckendorf Break Ground At New 520 Park Avenue $1 Billion Luxury Condo Project

Arthur And William Lie Zeckendorf / Getty

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Last week Arthur Zeckendorf, the wealthy developer of the iconic luxury condominium residence 15 Central Park West, announced his engagement to New York socialite Anne Detwiler.

Zeckendorf, together with his brother William Lie, represents the next generation of the Zeckendorf real estate dynasty. They are owners of their own major property development company Zeckendorf Realty, and of the real estate brokerage company Terra Holdings, which owns and operates Brown Harris Stevens and Halstead.

Arthur recently got down on one knee to propose to Detwiler, who is the granddaughter of 96 year old Dwayne Andreas, Chairman of agricultural products giant Archer Daniels Midland.

This week he and his brother William announced another in their series of super luxury condominium projects. These have all been increasingly well-timed and successful since the project at 15 Central Park West really put them on the map, together with financing partner Eyal Ofer’s Global Holdings who has been behind several of their recent projects. For 520 Park Avenue they are joined again by Eyal Ofer and developers by Rafael and Ezra Nasser, who owned part of the site assembly, to develop a 230, 000 square foot luxury tower for the uber-rich.

Like 15 Central Park West, architect Robert Stern is designing the new project, which will be a 51 storey condominium. These will include 31 full floor apartments each of 4, 600 square feet, seven duplexes and one enormous 12, 400 square foot penthouse triplex. Prices of above US$5, 000 per square foot for the single floor apartments have been floated as being possible, with a price tag of up to US$100 million being placed on the penthouse if double that rate per square foot. Altogether revenues from the project could certainly exceed US$1 billion if the current market stays hot long enough.

Rendering of the Robert Stern-designed 520 Park

Clearly 520 Park Avenue is vying with a number of other properties in New York to be the first to crack the US$100 million number for the penthouse, a key metric, perhaps for those with too much money to think about more normal priorities of life – but key to successful marketing in the real estate business at this scale. Even if the penthouse doesn’t make anywhere near such an exalted number, an associated “halo” effect can provide great marketing buzz to help sell all the other apartments.

520 Park Avenue is at the corner of East 60th Street; the project is being built as of right with additional air rights having been purchased from nearby Christ Church for US$30 million. Foundations are already being prepared for commencement of construction and the building will be ready for occupancy in 2017.

Arthur Zeckendorf says proudly of their latest project, “520 Park Avenue will be an elegant addition to this Upper East Side neighborhood. Robert A.M. Stern again has contributed a building design that echoes the best of New York City architecture in a 21st century development. When we built 15 Central Park West it also designed by Robert A.M. Stern, we then wanted to create a similar iconic limestone residence for the Upper East Side.”

Residents and guests will enter 520 Park Avenue through a double arched entrance with a suspended bronze canopy, leading into a lobby with 25 ft. coffered ceilings and a limestone fireplace. Beyond the lobby is a vaulted salon with a fireplace at each end. The floors and walls in the lobby are limestone with French walnut wood in the wall treatment, and satin bronze detailing. A Venetian plaster ceiling carries through with the wood accents as well. Cool stuff indeed.

The pool /

About the Zeckendorfs

William Zeckendorf Senior, who died in 1976 established the family firmly in the real estate stratosphere and was the original owner of the site that became the United Nations Building in New York. He also developed Century City in Los Angeles and Place Ville Marie in Montreal Canada. Almost inadvertently Place Ville Marie became the prototype for the modern mixed use high density development arrangement with high rise offices sitting on top of, in this case, basement level retail stores.

William Zeckendorf went spectacularly broke in 1965, as did his son William Zeckendorf Junior in 2000 for similar reasons where liquidity dried up in tight asset markets, though eventually Zeckendorf Junior he was able to pay off the creditor who came after him.

William Junior also made major impacts on the New York skyline, including such developments as the Columbia, luxury apartments on the upper West side and One Worldwide Plaza in midtown west.

William Junior was married to Guri Lie, daughter of Trygve Lie, who was actually the first Secretary General of the United Nations, ended in divorce. In his late years he lived in Santa Fe and died just a month ago in February 2014.

His two sons Arthur and William Lie didn’t get to inherit much, therefore except from their grandmother who tucked a few pennies away but they have built a very successful business completely on their own.

Buying a real estate services company, Brown Harris Stevens and Halstead, gave them some steady income and by focusing early on the very high end of the luxury market they got ahead of the curve and cashed in.

Clearly the financing partnership with Eyal Ofer’s Global Holdings has been a critical tool as well for Arthur and William Lie, as relying on banks to finance the volatile condominium business can become problematic precisely at the wrong moments.

William’s second name comes directly from that of his mother; yet another link to the UN – and the brothers are also now completing another luxury tower right across the street at 50 UN Plaza.

15 Central Park West /



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