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Penthouse luxury hits new height - New Heights of Penthouse Luxury

Perched 20 stories above the ground on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, the 13,800-square-foot penthouse at 535 West End Ave. is a lavish palace in the sky. Its three-floor layout boasts nine bedrooms, 11 full baths, two half baths and separate staff quarters. A 2,000-square-foot outdoor space equipped with grill, wet bar and fireplace is accessible by a private elevator. Building amenities include a fitness center, an indoor swimming pool and a recreation room, all attended to by white-gloved staff.
This opulent “mansion in the sky” totes a hefty price tag of $37.5 million. It’s up for grabs alongside other posh New York penthouses like a $37.5 million condo unit at The Plaza, a $51 million duplex on the Upper East Side, and a $44.95 million, 76th floor apartment in the Time Warner Center.

With the help of Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate, Sotheby’s International Realty, Coldwell Banker Previews International, and (among others), we’ve pulled together a list of available sky-high spreads scattered across America. Priced between $2 million and $45 million, most offer multilevel layouts, soaring views (in many cases via floor-to-ceiling windows), high ceilings, private rooftop terraces and additional over-the-top features such as private pools.
Listing, buying and selling of luxury residential real estate, which includes these units, has picked up in nearly every major metropolitan market across the U.S. “Relative to everybody else, the higher-end market is where we’re seeing record purchases and where we’re seeing traction,” says Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel, a New York-based real estate appraisal firm. Miller says that because of the weaker dollar, foreign buyers have flocked to the luxe condo market, particularly on the East and West coasts.
Cold, hard cash has a lot to do with that pickup as well. While sales of less expensive homes struggle to manifest under ever-tightening mortgage lending practices, the luxury end is comprised of home buyers with money to throw down. All-cash deals on single-family homes in general have constituted roughly 30% of completed sales this summer, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Those with more money to burn might consider the $12 million Wilshire Corridor penthouse, a 6,480-square-foot glass-walled marvel featuring a separate maid’s quarters and a fiber optic chandelier. “Good times, bad times there are penthouse buyers out there, looking for the right opportunity,” says Ron Barnes, director of sales and marketing for the Residences at WHollywood, noting these sales can take anywhere from three months to three years to manifest no matter what the larger market conditions are.
Despite increased market activity, penthouses speak to a tiny, niche pool of buyers. As with other luxury properties (like single-family estates, townhouses and even vineyards), penthouse units can take months, sometimes years, to market and sell. In some cases, pricey penthouses have failed to find buyers willing to pay their lofty asking prices. Take the 20,000-square-foot home on top of San Francisco’s St. Regis hotel, for example, which at one time was listed for $70 million before the property’s developer sold the deed to Second Step Asset Management, a subsidiary of Bank of America, in lieu of a foreclosure. The apartment touts a two-story indoor waterfall, home theater and master suite with gym, sauna and steam room. The bank re-listed the unit in July, at $35 million price tag, half the original price.
Are these five palatial penthouses for sale worthy of elevated prices?
Brightly-hued hallways, two-story walls of glass gazing out on Los Angeles and the ocean, and spiral staircase adorned with a fiber optic chandelier add pizazz to the Wilshire Corridor condo.

A “traditional Thai home in the sky,” this unit comes with interiors adorned in custom wood paneling, a garden terrace with pool, and resort amenities like 24-hour room service.

The Azure duplex condo includes three en suite bedrooms with balconies and a roof-top entertainment terrace with pool, spa, theater screen, enclosed bar and private elevator to the inside living area.

This triplex penthouse boasts four bedrooms gazing out on Central Park, a library with wood-burning fireplace, a cantilevered spiral staircase, a private elevator and access to the Plaza's hotel services

Concierge service, including room service, is available to residents of this upscale Hollywood residence. If you need to travel, the building will whisk you to a nearby airport to board a private jet. Alas, your Starwood points may not be sufficient to buy a penthouse.

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