Ackman’s auction-rate apartment

By Felix Salmon
November 23, 2009
huge apartment at the Majestic, which means he also needs to sell the baby 1BR one floor down that he bought in 2007 for $450,000. (How baby? It's 322 square feet; that's smaller than the 406-square-foot living room in the apartment he just sold.)

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Bill Ackman has sold his huge apartment at the Majestic, which means he also needs to sell the baby 1BR one floor down that he bought in 2007 for $450,000. (How baby? It’s 322 square feet; that’s smaller than the 406-square-foot living room in the apartment he just sold.)

Given the degree to which real estate values have plunged in the past two years, you might be surprised to learn that Ackman is asking $950,000 for the apartment — $2,950 per square foot, and well over double what he paid for the place. And the apartment faces west: it doesn’t even have a view of the park! (Ackman does claim to have spent more than $250,000 on renovations, but even accounting for that, he’s still set to make a substantial profit if he gets anything like the asking price.)

If, as seems likely, no one offers $950,000 before December 8, the apartment will be auctioned off by Ackman himself, who promises to “provide some excellent wines for participants”. Residents of the building should probably turn up for the win alone — and for the spectator sport of watching the bidding, of course. No word on whether Ackman’s setting a reserve, but I’m sure he’s familiar enough with the story of auction-rate securities to have a Plan C in hand if there aren’t any bids at all.

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I’m impressed that he spent over $750 per sq. ft. just on renovations!