Ali al-Fayed sells Pierre pad for nearly half its original ask

Ali al-Fayed, owner of shirtmaker Turnbull & Asser, which counts members of the British royal family among its clientele, has sold his apartment at the Pierre, a co-op and luxury hotel that overlooks Central Park on the Upper East Side, for $9.8 million.

The buyer was an anonymous limited liability company. 

Brother to deceased billionaire Mohamed al-Fayed, whose son, Dodi, died alongside Princess Diana, the 79-year-old Ali had originally asked $18 million for the three-bed, three-bath co-op unit in 2017.

Noel Berk marketed the apartment for Engel & Völkers, before which Brown Harris Stevens and Sotheby’s International Realty tried unsuccessfully to unload the unit. Berk did not return a request for comment. 

The co-op portion of the building has more than 75 units, created by Jean Paul Getty in an effort to rescue the Pierre Hotel following the Great Depression, which threw the building into bankruptcy two years after opening. Some 180 hotel rooms remain, and the hotel’s event business was booking $40 million per year before the pandemic, the New Yorker reported, with some banquet servers making $200,000 or more.

Ali bought a pair of units at the Pierre, at 795 Fifth Avenue, in 2007 for $10.2 million, records show. He later combined and renovated the apartments into a single unit. 

The Fayed family story received renewed attention in Netflix’s “The Crown,” which dramatizes the British royal family. Ali’s nephew and brother make appearances in the current (and final) sixth season, which portrays the death of Diana in a 1997 car crash in Paris. 

Mohamed al-Fayed once owned Harrods department store in London and the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Paris. The billionaire Egyptian businessman had cultivated a relationship with the royal family.

The Pierre has long been a window into the lives of the elite, which has recently included media mogul Sumner Redstone, financier Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal of Jordan, fashionista Giancarlo Giammetti and Greek shipping magnate Michael Kulukundis. 

Ali’s discounted price is not the largest seen at the Pierre, which is notoriously discerning about who gets to buy in the building and does not allow mortgage financing. In 2017, a triplex apartment sold for $44 million after listing for $125 million. 

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