When 603 Park Avenue finally found a buyer this summer after decades of flirting with the market, real-estate obsessives couldn't help but cheer. But will it go down in history as one of the city's biggest moneymaking residential transactions? Bought in 1989 for $12 million, its final listing price was $33 million. It's still in contract and we don't yet know what it finally went for, so we'll have to wait and see. In the meantime, feast yourselves on this collection of impressive flips — by "flip" we don't just mean quick fixes and markups like what Bravo's Jeff Lewis does. We mean large-scale wealth building. Check it out:
15 Central Park West
How can a list like this not include this megaflip haven (pictured above)? To wit: This spring, a venture capitalist paid $13.8 million for a unit the seller bought just two months previous for $6.9 million, according to trade publication the Real Deal; a 29th-floor apartment — picked up for $7.3 million — went for nearly $14 million; and a cable mogul who bought his 36th-floor spread for $7.34 million is now on contract for somewhere near its $12.5 million price tag.
134 Charles Street
The house just fetched $17 million for its former owner, who bought it in 1989. City records don't reveal what she paid in total, but the $100,000 mortgage filed with the city eight days after signing the deed gives an idea of just how much this deal paid off.
740 Park Avenue
A choice duplex facing Park Avenue started 2008 off with a bang by nabbing $32 million. The apartment had apparently been with the seller's family since the sixties; though records don't show how much they paid then, we assume the math is staggering. According to the New York Times, a neighbor in an adjacent line, who's now selling his duplex for $38 million, shelled out $145,000 for a place he bought in the seventies.
777 Washington Street
Photographer Albert Watson needed a live-work space in 1985, so he purchased this refrigeration plant for $850,000 and transformed it into a showplace. It proved a good investment; he sold it this spring for $34 million.
19 Gramercy Park
Designer Richard Tyler and his wife, Lisa Trafficante, scored this mansion (equipped with its own key to the park) in 1985 for $3.5 million. Fifteen years later, they parlayed the fascinating property into a then- and still-impressive $16.5 million. Amazingly, they repeated the feat once more with the Washington Street townhouse they bought post–Gramercy Park for $6.1 million, which they recently sold for $14.4 million.
18 East 68th Street
Developers bought this massive limestone, dubbed the Henry T. Sloane Mansion, for $7.6 million in 2003, and managed to flip it for $20 million in 2007. But the story may not end there: It's now on the market asking $64 million, which would send flip-watching hearts racing if it gets anywhere near that number.