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How To Turn Your Rent-Stabilized Apartment Into $17 Million

Just ask Herbert Sukenik, 73, via the New York Post

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This is 15 Central Park West, New York's most exclusive building.

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It features a completely private driveway hidden from paparazzi, a cinema and 14,000 square foot gym that has a 75 foot pool.

A one bedroom apartment averages $7 million. Two bedrooms $12 million. Three bedrooms $15-$30 million. Four bedrooms (only one available) $60 million. Five bedrooms, (only two available) $65 million and up.

Current tenants include Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, Sting, Jeff Gordon, Alex Rodriguez and Denzel Washington.

This is Herb Sukenik.

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He was born in the Bronx, New York in 1930. He attended Cornell University where he earned an undergraduate degree in physics. He then stayed at Cornell to earn both a masters in physics and a Ph.D.

By all accounts, Herb was brilliant. He was also a bit of a social outcast. He worked for General Electric for a while then at Martin Company in their Space Systems division.

In 1974, Herbert, who had become somewhat of a recluse, rented a tiny 350 square foot apartment in the Mayflower Hotel building. He never married and seemingly had no friends or family. He basically lived like a hermit for the next three decades...

At first, Herb offered to vacate his unit if the Zeckendorfs bought him a 2200 square foot, two bedroom apartment in a building nearby, then rent it back to him for $1 a month, for the rest of his life.

After living in a construction zone for over a year, Herbert's stubbornness finally paid off in 2005. Admitting defeat, the Zeckendorfs caved and made an offer Herbert could not (and did not) refuse.

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In order to finally get Herbert to leave his decrepit 350 square foot apartment, they offered him a one time cash buyout of… get ready for it…

$17 million!!!!

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That is by far the most money ever paid to get a single tenant to leave a New York City apartment. It's probably the most money ever paid to get anyone to leave any apartment. But it gets better...

Not only did the Zeckendorfs agree to give Herb Sukenik $17 million cash, they also agreed to let him live in a $2 million apartment on Central Park South where he will pay $1 a month in rent for the rest of his life.

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