New York’s most stunning new penthouse isn’t some chrome and glass cube on top of a nondescript monolithic skyscraper. This one sits above a stately, red-brick former Catholic boys’ school built 112 years ago.
The just-released $22.5 million Terrace Penthouse is the crown jewel of the 555 West End Avenue development on the Upper West Side, just a block off Broadway and a short stroll to Central Park.
Developer Cary Tamarkin reportedly paid $50 million in 2014 for the former St. Agnes Boys High School on West 87th Street and West End Avenue.
Instead of leveling the building, Tamarkin, an accomplished architect, devised a plan to transform the Beaux Arts pile into 13 luxury condos, no more than two to a floor, with prices starting at $7.9 million. While 12 have been released—and eight already sold—Tamarkin has been saving the best for last.
The Terrace Penthouse takes up the top two floors of the eight-story, landmark red-brick-and-limestone building and features more than 2,200 square feet of interior space and a sprawling 2,800 square feet of private outdoor terraces.
Tamarkin got approval from New York’s hard-to-please Landmarks Preservation Commission to create the additional floor, invisible from street level, which he’s used to accommodate the penthouse’s living rooms and great rooms, together with massive outdoor space for entertaining.
A private elevator opens to the expansive great room which is divided by a double-sided, marble-wrapped gas fireplace. Steel-framed French doors open out onto a wrap-around terrace that features the building’s twin hexagon-shaped, crenellated turrets.
If these terraces aren’t big enough for large-party entertaining, a wide stone staircase leads up to the vast, full-floor roof deck offering transcendent views of the Manhattan skyline and east to the park.
When it comes to entertaining, the home’s chef’s kitchen is more than up for the task. Along with solid fumed white oak cabinetry handcrafted by Christopher Peacock—he did the Clinton’s Chappaqua, NY residence—there are polished Arabescato marble slab countertops, plus top-of-the-line Wolf, Sub-Zero and Miele appliances.
It opens to the airy, open-plan dining and reception rooms, all with French doors leading out to those exceptional terraces.
One floor down sit the four ensuite bedrooms, including a master suite, den and laundry room. The master bedroom features the building’s signature, tall-arched windows and a master bath with custom Christopher Peacock white oak vanities, Lefroy Brooks plumbing fixtures, radiant-heated floors and fancy Toto smart loos.
The amenities all 555 West End Avenue residents can enjoy include a 24-hour doorman, state-of-the-art fitness center, a bike room and a recreation room with wet bar, pool table and large-screen TV. Sadly, no indoor pool.
Developer Tamarkin, together with Chinese partner CL Investment Group, preserved the history and elegance of this striking 1908 building,
yet finding a buyer could prove a challenge. The address’s two other banner properties—a five-bedroom, 3,463-square-foot condo dubbed the Library set at $10.5 million and the spectacular three-bed 3,420-square-foot Solarium for $18 million—remain unsold.
One bonus, however: The penthouse is move-in ready and, for someone looking for the true ultimate in New York rooftop living, the Solarium unit is right next door and could easily be adjoined to make one residence.
Think of it, a vast seven-bedroom, 8,500-plus square-foot home for $40.5 million. Cathy Taub of Sotheby’s International Realty and Alexa Lambert of Compass Development share the listing.