Midtown Manhattan’s Irish elite
During the height of the property boom and at the height of his financial powers, he managed to amass a property portfolio that included the Argentinian embassy in Ballsbridge and buildings on Leeson Street, Adelaide Road and Duke Street in Dublin city centre with barely a mention of his name being made in the press.
In fact, in 2007 Liam Smyth appeared to be on top of the world when he took ownership of the entire penthouse floor of one of New York’s finest residential buildings, snapping up all six apartments at the Centria on West 48th Street in Manhattan.
Just over four years later, the low-profile investor has, like so many others who put their money into bricks and mortar at the wrong time, been brought crashing back down to earth. And now these Irish property moguls are center stage.
Irish buyers purchased 75 percent of the units in the 34-story Centria building. It was the height of the “Celtic Tiger” boom, which made Ireland, for the first time, a rich nation. For reasons that had as much to do with heritage as with rational calculation, much of that wealth was concentrated in property, and the Centria was a prestige address.
Last week, Mr. Smyth’s four penthouses at the Centria, which is located directly opposite the famous Rockefeller Centre, were back on the market with an optimistic asking price of €5.58m ($7.4m), or some €290,000 ($400,000) more than the €5.29m ($7m) they were valued at collectively in 2007.
Spread across 3,791 square feet on the building’s 35th floor, Mr Smyth’s Manhattan pads consist of 14 rooms in total and enjoy what estate agents Stribling describe as “the most breathtaking views imaginable in every direction, including St Patrick’s Cathedral, the Hudson and East Rivers, Times Square, the Empire State Building and Rockefeller Plaza”.
Mr. Smyth had personally guaranteed the bank loan obligations to his company, Sanguinis, back in 2007 and 2009 and has come under legal pressure to repay the obligations.