Like a Mother Teresa for scandal-loving real estate junkies, 20 Pine - The Collection just keeps on giving. The over-the-top Financial District condo conversion—which followed up unprecedented hype with a delays, lawsuits and assorted miscellaneous controversies—has now entered a quiet period, with the ownership dispute settled and a fresh injection of cash made to finish the building's amenities (the other half of the Rendering/Reality: Reflecting Pool Edition is after the jump).
The lull in action provides the Observer's Max Abelson with the perfect opportunity to detail 20 Pine's complicated history, and though litigation is still pending and some buyers are still crying (literally, we might add), Abelson writes that in the end 20 Pine is "Just a building. And it's actually kind of nice." Just a building?! We think not, especially since marketing mastermind/ruler of the universe Michael Shvo decided to break his relative media silence and open up at length about 20 Pine's troubled past.
On the building delays: "Unfortunately, the problems we faced here were not problems under Shvo's control."
On enlisting Armani Casa to design the interiors: "I said, 'I want a fashion brand to design this building.' Of course, everyone thought I was crazy, but I'd heard that before. I—and this is on the record—fully take credit for real estate and fashion: We were the first ones to do it and it's a worldwide trend. I'm standing right now in Dubai. … I'm literally standing and looking at the Armani Hotel."
On making the sales office a 24-hour operation: "Nobody said anything; they didn't know if I was kidding or if I was serious. And, sure enough, I was serious. If I needed to create what would be the landmark residential building in the Financial District, I needed to create something 100 percent sexy."
On 20 Pine's potential buyers: "We know where they shop, where they eat, what cars they drive. We know everything from the Social Security number to the color of their underwear."
On being named in some 20 Pine lawsuits: "You're talking about a country where if they sue somebody, they sue everybody. They sue their broker, they sue their grandmother."
On the 80-units-in-1 offer that made the rounds: "I can say right now, we're the only ones who represent properties in the building. We've sent several cease-and-desist letters."
On whether 20 Pine's luxury shtick is dated: "The fact that the market changed, we are all aware, but that does not say that people are still not interested in lifestyle. Maybe they're willing to pay less money for it, maybe they're looking more for value than they were, maybe they're not as quick to open their wallets, but in every economy, they want lifestyle. We're the only company out there that still believes that luxury is still out there."
On FiDi's future: "I truly believed in the Financial District. And, in my mind, this is still one of the largest concentrations of wealth in the world."