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New York billionaire seeks permission for ‘temple for a titan’ | New York

The billionaire hedge fund supervisor Invoice Ackman will on Tuesday try and persuade New York’s highly effective Landmarks Preservation Fee to permit him to construct a “flying saucer” penthouse on prime of a historic condominium constructing within the Higher West Facet overlooking Central Park.

Ackman, a Harvard-educated activist investor who famously made $2.6bn (£2.2bn) revenue in a single day betting on the monetary impression of coronavirus through the early days of the pandemic, has been engaged in a years-long public relations battle along with his merely millionaire neighbours to garner assist for his deliberate Norman Foster-designed two-storey penthouse that has been described as a “temple to a titan”.

He efficiently received the backing of Manhattan Group Board 7 (CB7) for the plan atop the 120-year-old constructing final week, and can seek the approval of the Landmarks Preservation Commission on Tuesday.

The penthouse at 6-16 West 77th Avenue, which is designed by Foster + Companions, would exchange a pink stucco Seventeenth-floor penthouse that Ackman and his companion the scientist Neri Oxman purchased for $22.5m in 2017.

Bill Ackman watches the tennis at the US Open in New York in September.
Invoice Ackman watches the tennis on the US Open in New York in September. {Photograph}: Elsa/Getty Photos

The condominium was beforehand owned by feminist and gender politics creator Nancy Friday. The creator, who died in 2017, had through the years bought 4 neighbouring items within the constructing and cobbled them collectively to create the unusual 13 room apartment.

“We love the positioning. We love the Higher West Facet,” Ackman mentioned in his attraction to the CB7 members in a video assembly. “My spouse and I wished to lift our new household right here, now we have a two-and-a-half-year-old youngster. Our strategy right here was to construct one thing that may be additive to the neighbourhood.”

Ackman, 55, mentioned the glass penthouse close to the American Museum of Pure Historical past could be “a lot much less seen” and “much less evident” than the prevailing pink blocks penthouse, and would supply a “materials enhancement” to the historic constructing.

“All the pieces is as minimal because it might probably be,” mentioned Ackman, who has constructed up an estimated $3.3bn from his hedge fund Pershing Sq. Capital Administration. “The underside line is nobody will take as a lot care as we to design one thing that will probably be stunning [and] have a minimal impression. We need to reside peacefully with our neighbours, we don’t need them to be upset with us.”

Nevertheless, one native resident instructed the neighborhood board that the deliberate penthouse would spoil well-known views. “The immodesty of the penthouse condominium is disturbing, it makes use of the 6-16 constructing as a strap for a platform temple to a titan,” he mentioned. “It stares at humanity and wildlife beneath.

“New Yorkers, People, individuals everywhere in the planet visiting the Museum of Pure Historical past … would discover of their sight view the Ackman eyrie and marvel who let this occur, what on earth possessed them.”

One other native resident mentioned the proposal seemed like “a flying saucer landed on the roof”.

Nevertheless, the board voted to approve Ackman’s design, with 25 votes in favour, seven towards and two abstentions. With approval granted by the committee Ackman’s plans will now be debated by the Landmarks Preservation Fee.

Ackman presently lives on the luxurious Beresford condominium constructing on the opposite aspect of the museum, from the place he and his spouse first noticed the Friday’s pink penthouse.

It’s removed from Ackman’s costliest property. In 2015 he purchased the penthouse of the 1,005ft skyscraper One57 for $91.5m as a “enjoyable funding”. He makes use of the condominium on the seventy fifth and 76th flooring for extravagant events to entertain his enterprise and celeb associates. Ackman has mentioned he deliberate to carry on to the six-bedroom, eight-bathroom penthouse with views of Central Park for a few years earlier than “flipping it” – promoting it at a enormous revenue in a few years. He additionally owns a three-house advanced on the seashore in Bridgehampton, the Hamptons.

At first of the pandemic in March 2020, Ackman, a common TV information monetary pundit, instructed hundreds of thousands of CNBC views that “hell is coming”. In a 28-minute near-hysterical TV, he mentioned the US was underestimating the severity of the coronavirus disaster, and predicted it could kill hundreds of thousands of individuals and devastate the worldwide economic system. The interview despatched monetary markets into a tailspin.

On the similar time Ackman had quietly positioned a guess that inventory markets would tank. These bets made his hedge fund $2.6bn (£2.2bn) – a near-10,000% return on his $27m stake.

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