A couple days ago, the Wall Street Journal revealed that the secretive buyer who paid exactly $50 million this April (2018) for Sting’s New York City duplex penthouse in the fabled 15 Central Park West tower is none other than our very own Karen Lo, one of LA’s biggest real estate whales.
Yolanda has previously written multiple stories about Ms. Lo’s inordinately lavish spending, but we thought this splurge was deserving of yet another discussion. Both because we do not chat about NYC nearly as often as we should, and also because Ms. Lo has now spent more than $200 million on luxury residences from coast to coast. In less than two years, y’all. That is a very big deal!
If anyone would like to read more about Ms. Lo’s background, we suggest you visit one of our previous stories on the subject. For now, suffice to say she hails from Hong Kong and is a billionaire heiress to Vitasoy, one of Asia’s largest beverage empires. The company was founded by her paternal grandfather, and has made her family one of the richest in the territory.
In addition to whatever share of the Vitasoy fortune she controls, Ms. Lo is also indirectly related to the Stanley Ho clan, the wealthiest billionaire Hong Kong family of them all. Her sister Sharen has long been married to Lawrence, Mr. Ho’s son and heir apparent.
Anyway, it seems that Ms. Lo has scarcely ever met a luxury residential property that she has not wanted to buy and perhaps marry deep in international waters. Seriously, we can barely wrap our minds around the amount of money this lady has spent on real estate. For the moment, take a glance at her new $50 million Manhattan apartment.
The Robert A.M. Stern-designed 15 Central Park West building began construction in 2005 and was completed in 2008. It appears to Yolanda that Sting — one of the world’s best-selling musicians, if y’all did not already know — and his longtime wife Trudie Styler nearly doubled their money on this apartment before renovation fees. Records show they purchased the duplex directly from the building’s developers in 2008 for just a hair under $27 million. The couple then hired the SheltonMindel architecture firm to combine the two separate units into one mansion on the sky.
The result of SheltonMindel’s efforts is a “futuristic-meets-classic” apartment with 3 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms, an enormous (for NYC) kitchen with marble countertops and top-of-the-line appliances that include four ovens, three dishwashers, and two refrigerators.
Mr. & Mrs. Sting also gave the apartment a whole bunch of custom finishes like French doors, an open gas fireplace inspired by the Fibonacci spiral, a custom curved “main” staircase, and an oddball spiral “service” staircase in the damn kitchen. There is a comfy-looking library/study, and a 400-foot terrace overlooks the sea of green that is Central Park.
The master bedroom includes birds-eye Central Park views, and the master suite also sports his-and-hers dressing rooms, dual spa-style baths, and an enormous walk-in sauna.
Since its completion, 15 Central Park West has remained one of NYC’s most desirable apartment buildings. As such, Ms. Lo’s new neighbors include a whole bunch of high-profile folks: actor Denzel Washington, Russian heiress Ekaterina Rybolovleva, hedgie billionaire Daniel Loeb, Garmin billionaire Min Kao, clothing guru Elie Tahari, and tech entrepreneur Omid Kordestani.
Residents at the posh Upper West Side tower enjoy a wide array of white-glove service and amenities that include 24/7 concierge, a private 14,000-square-foot fitness center with a 75-foot indoor pool, a private parking garage, screening room, private restaurant, wine rooms, a library, children’s playroom, and much more.
As for Sting, he and the missus are reportedly in the process of acquiring an even larger unit in NYC’s hedonistic new 220 Central Park South building (also designed by Robert A.M. Stern). In the meantime, the couple are renting an austere apartment at a Zaha Hadid-designed edifice in the pricey Chelsea district of Manhattan.
Speaking of Chelsea, the $50 million 15CPW spread she just bought from Sting is not Ms. Lo’s only Manhattan residence. In late 2016, she coughed up $29,300,000 for two adjacent units in Chelsea’s hot new 551W21 building. According to The Real Deal, Ms. Lo then spent another $150,000 or so to combine the two units before attempting to flip them earlier this year for $36,500,000.
The 8,350-square-foot condo is absolutely massive for NYC and includes an epic 82-foot “grand room” with views of the Hudson River and downtown Manhattan. There are 7 beds and 8 baths (including at least one bathroom with radiant-heated floors), a library, a main kitchen and a “midnight kitchen”, whatever that is.
Although the mansion-sized condo has been on the market for a couple months, it does not yet appear to be under contract.
When she is in LA, our Ms. Lo resides in one of the area’s most epic estates: a $70 million Malibu compound. Records show she acquired the property last March (2017) in a totally off-market deal. At the time of her purchase, it was the second-biggest sale ever recorded in the city. Now, however, it has slipped from second to fifth in the rankings. Funny what a difference a year can make, eh?
Ms. Lo also presides over a $36 million, two-house compound on super-swanky South Mapleton Drive in LA’s prized Holmby Hills neighborhood. She acquired the first house last April (2017) for $18,800,000 and the next-door property in September (2017) for $17,250,000. The latter property was long owned by the late Hugh Hefner, who used it as his “Playboy bunny hutch“. (It was basically like a guest house for all those voluptuous Playboy playmates).
Anyway, Yolanda expects that both the Holmby Hills homes have upcoming appointments with the residential Grim Reaper (a bulldozer).
Wait, there’s more. In November 2017, Ms. Lo coughed up another $17,650,000 for 1.37 acres of vacant land in prime East Gate Bel Air. This estate was once the site of Bob Newhart’s mansion, which he sold in 2016 for $14.5 million to developer Robert Quigg.
The naughty Mr. Quigg quickly razed the mansion — allegedly without the proper permits — and then skipped town with his mistress, leaving behind a trail of debts and angry creditors. The estate was then sold by a bankruptcy court to Ms. Lo in an all-cash deal.
Naturally, Yolanda does not know what our gurl’s intentions are for the property, but we can tell y’all that this dirt is so close to Beyoncé & Jay-Z’s $88 million mega-compound that Ms. Lo could practically reach out and touch their mansion from her land.
All told, Ms. Lo has spent a mind-boggling $202,900,000 on luxury US real estate coast-to-coast over the past 1.5 years. Whether her spending spree culminated with Sting’s penthouse purchase or whether she is planning more acquisitions is yet to be foretold. But in any case, we are quite certain that we have not heard the last from her — not by a long shot.