Anonymous buyer grabs Time Warner Center penthouse from “Tower of Secrets” seller for $51M

Russian billionaire listed 78th-floor unit for $75M in 2013

July 24, 2015 12:05PM
By Rey Mashayekhi

Time Warner Center at 25 Columbus Circle (inset: Andrey Vavilov)

The city’s bid to crackdown on shell companies used to purchase luxury properties hasn’t lifted the “veil of secrecy” yet – a 78th-floor Time Warner Center penthouse sold for $51 million late last month to an unnamed buyer, according to property records filed with the city Friday.

Columbus Family LLC is listed as the purchaser the five-bedroom, 8,300-square-foot apartment at 25 Columbus Circle. Elizabeth Sample and Brenda Powers of Sotheby’s International Realty listed the penthouse for $75 million in 2013, with Brown Harris Stevens dropping the price to $68 million a year later.

The seller, Southerndown Inc., had until recently also been shrouded in mystery. The New York Times, in its far-reaching “Towers of Secrets” series in February, reported that Russian billionaire Andrey Vavilov set up the shell company to purchase the penthouse from Austrian-born investor Gerhard Andlinger for $37.5 million in 2009. Andlinger also sold the penthouse well below its original asking price of $65 million in 2008.

Legal representatives for both the buyer and seller could not be reached for comment.

New disclosure requirements by the city could make the anonymous purchase of luxury properties more difficult, by requiring the names of shell company members to be released to the city.