You, Too, Can Have a Penthouse at the Plaza ... For Only $56 Million

You may wonder what a $56 million view looks like.

At the Plaza Residences in New York City — which is under construction and reopening in the fall with both luxury condominium residences and posh hotel condominium suites inside — it is the penthouse terrace view of Central Park's lush green treetops, rolling lawns and duck pond, with the Manhattan skyline rising up in the background.

A 9,200-square-foot penthouse at the Plaza has sold for a whopping $56 million, making it the most expensive apartment sale in Manhattan to date, and the terms were just revealed this week.

Photo Essay: Plaza Living

So what do you get for $56 million?

"Basically, you get to live in the Plaza," said the building's publicist Richard Edmonds. "You get an extremely large assemblage of space."

The condo, which is currently being built, is a combination duplex and triplex — the size of at least five or six one-bedroom apartments combined — with a sweeping balcony vista of Central Park framed by a city skyline. The terrace alone is more than 500 square feet.

Edmonds and Susan Song from Stribling & Associates, the building's sales agent, declined to say who purchased the penthouse at Fifth Avenue and Central Park South. The New York Times reported that the buyer was a "London-based businessman in the oil business," but Song — who was on the team that sold the penthouse for $56 million — and Edmonds said they weren't even sure that was true.

The contract was signed in December and will close later this year.

In a 12th-floor, 2,650-square-foot, two-bedroom condo furnished by Versace — which has already been purchased for $12.5 million, according to Song — the view from the living room is also of Central Park, just above the trees.

But atop the Plaza, where the pricey penthouse will be when it's completed and which visitors can only reach now by wearing hard hats and taking a construction hoist all the way up, what the owners will see is even more breathtaking.

"These are panoramic views on steroids," Edmonds said, looking out over the balcony railing.

Inside, as in the model condo, chandeliers will hang from the ceilings in the bathrooms and kitchen, and there will be solid brass fixtures made by Lefroy Brooks. The kitchen counters will be of black marble and the bathroom floors of tiny mosaic tiles that are the same as those used in the Plaza lobby when it first opened in 1907, according to Edmonds.

Even the doorknobs will be true to the originals, with the Plaza insignia — a reverse P and a P next to each other — imprinted on them.

There will be rounded bay windows in one corner overlooking what will become the Plaza's courtyard with reflecting pool and plantings, and the ceilings will be about 12 feet high.

New, wood-burning fireplaces are being installed inside the three-floor penthouse, one of several atop the grand, old hotel that was in a state of ruin and decline before Elad Properties bought it for $675 million and decided to spend another $400 million on massive renovations, turning what was once only a hotel into a combination hotel-residence.

Convincing labor unions that the Plaza should be redesigned partly as a residential property wasn't easy, Edmonds said.

"We helped [the owners] tell people that the Plaza had to be saved," he said. "It was literally falling apart."

But now, he said, "everybody's happy."

There will be about 180 condominiums with about 75 floor plans to choose from and about 150 hotel condominium suites. Many of the original restaurants, including the Palm Court in the center of the lobby area, will reopen when the Plaza does this fall, as will a number of retail shops.