02 Nov Why âBillionaireâ Real Estate Mogul Harry Macklowe Is Not Really A Billionaire
In 2007, Harry Macklowe owned prime Manhattan real estate, including the General Motors Building on the edge of Central Park and the iconic, Steve Jobs-designed glass cube Apple store out front. He had just acquired seven more New York City skyscrapers in a $7 billion mega-deal. He also had a mountain of debt tall enough to make Donald Trump blush.
The financial crisis soon brought Mackloweâs empire down, forcing him to sell off many of his real estate holdings to cover his loans. His net worth nose-dived, and Mackloweâwho Forbes had estimated to be worth $2 billion in 2007âfell off The Forbes 400 list in 2008. He never made it back.
Now, with Macklowe back in the news thanks to a bitter divorce, people are throwing the b-word around again. He sure looks like a billionaireâwith a $23.5 million yacht, a $72 million apartment in Manhattanâs famed Plaza hotel and, of course, a âbillion-dollar art collection.â
But not quite. Court filings lay the Macklowesâ assets bare, and theyâre richâreally richâbut not billionaires.
The New York Supreme Court found that the 82-year-old developer and his now ex-wife, Linda, had personal real estate worth $100 million, cash and investment accounts worth $90 million, interests in commercial property worth $83 million and other assets totaling $17 million. The court pegged Harryâs right to receive a cut of sales at a handful of Manhattan properties he helped develop, including the 432 Park Avenue skyscraper, at $15 million. Subtract nearly $70 million in bank debt and youâre left with some $235 million.
Then thereâs the art collection. The court valued 101 of the pieces at a total of $90 million, including $50 million for Andy Warholâs âNine Marilyns.â It could not determine the value of 62 other works, including pieces by Picasso, Koons and Giacometti. The two sidesâ appraisers pegged the value of those works between about $575 million and $740 million.
Add it all up and the couple was likely worth between $900 million and $1.1 billionâbefore the divorce. The court split everything roughly in half, leaving Harry with between $450 million and $550 million. Lindaâwho was a receptionist in 1959 when she married Harry, then an ad salesman decades from amassing great wealthâgot about the same.
Harry got the yacht, cars and his portfolio of commercial real estate. Linda got $4 million in jewelry, silver and books, plus the massive Plaza apartment and $40 million worth of art. The couple was ordered to sell the rest of their collection and split the proceeds. The court did not assess the value of Harryâs interest in the Park Lane Hotel, which overlooks Central Park, but the couple is splitting that down the middle too.
So, in all, Harryâs âbillion-dollarâ art collection was more like $830 million, at best. But his ex-wife is getting half of that, plus half of the ex-coupleâs remaining $235 million of holdings, leaving Harry worth about half a billion. Not bad, but not enough to make Forbesâ billionaires list.
Not that heâs sweating it. Earlier this year, he reportedly celebrated his new marriage by plastering 42-foot-tall portraits of him and his new wife on the facade of 432 Park Avenue, where the court allowed him to keep his financial interest.