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CNBC: Joe Tsai pays $157.5 million for Manhattan apartment

Central Park in New York City Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

Robert Frank and David Faber of CNBC reported Monday that Joe Tsai is the mystery buyer of a $157.5 million apartment in New York’s most prestigious condo tower, 220 Central Park South on the city’s so-called “Billionaires’ Row.”

The reported purchase is believed to be the third most expensive residential deal in U.S. history, Frank and Faber wrote.

Tsai and his wife, Clara Wu Tsai maintain residences in Hong Kong and LaJolla, a neighborhood of San Diego. They will now apparently become New York residents for the first time since they left the city two decades ago to help found Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant.

A spokesman for BSE Global, the parent company of the Nets, Liberty and Barclays Center, declined comment on Frank’s report. According to CNBC’s reporters ...

Tsai, who also owns the Brooklyn Nets NBA team, purchased two full-floor condo apartments at 220 Central Park South in two transactions totaling $157.5 million, say people close to the transaction. The purchase marks what’s believed to be the third most expensive home ever sold in the U.S. The priciest home ever sold in America is in the same building — Ken Griffin’s purchase of three floors (51 through 53) for $238 million in 2019.

Tsai’s purchase spans two floors (the 60th and one above) and has sweeping views of Central Park and mid-town Manhattan. The deal also includes a studio apartment on the 18th floor, likely for staff.

Each floor is nearly 6,000 square feet.

The identity of the purchaser has been a mystery — and subject of a guessing game in New York real estate circles — for more than a month since the Wall Street Journal first reported the transaction.

Tsai, whose net worth exceeds $10 billion, often attends Nets games and told the Post in 2019 that he planned to become more visible in the city. “New York is an incredible city. I have an affinity for New York,” he told Brian Lewis. “My first job after law school was in New York. I met my wife here. So New York to me is my second home.”

Tsai, who grew up in Taiwan, attended Lawrenceville Prep outside Princeton starting in eighth grade, then went on to attend Yale and Yale Law School in New Haven. After graduation, Tsai worked in New York as a lawyer and investment banker.

The price will no doubt have Nets fans debating whether there should be any limit to Tsai’s spending on the Nets in free agency next month.

Tsai becomes the second NBA owner to move to New York in recent months. James Dolan, owner of the Knicks, said he moved into the city as well.