The United Methodist Christ Church on Park Avenue and 60th Street is about to hit a $40 million pay day. According to the Times, the church is about to sell its air rights to developers William L. and Arthur W. Zeckendorf in a $600 per foot deal that leaps way ahead of the previous $500 per foot record holder. Rich people need to have their apartments in the clouds, y'know?
Now, churches selling their air rights for big towers is nothing new (hello, Citigroup Center!) but what makes this deal so remarkable is the gasp-inducing price tag. According to the Times's source in the current deal "the church will get about $30 million in cash and an assortment of other payments and several apartments in the new building that it can sell, bringing the total value to more than $40 million." That will fund a lot of community programs!
As for the impetus for the big sale? Seems the Zeckendorfs are itching to get into the latest game of 'who can build the tallest, bestest high-end apartment building' that is currently being played across Manhattan (see: the towering One57 building). The Zeckendorfs, who arguably "won" the last big high-end real estate boom with their Robert A. M. Stern tower at 15 Central Park West apparently want to do it again and have tapped Stern to design their new tower, which is expected to climb 51 stories. Apartments are expected to fetch more than $8,000 a square foot.
The previous record for air rights was set last fall when a developer in Chelsea paid $500 a square foot for the rights to build a tower at 21st Street and 11th Avenue.