Glenview fund executives are neighbors in new Manhattan luxury tower

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Three employees of hedge fund firm Glenview Capital Management, including billionaire founder Larry Robbins, can expect to cross paths at home as well as work after spending more than $50 million on apartments in the same Manhattan luxury building.

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Robbins bought the top four floors of the building on New York City’s Upper East Side for $37.9 million, according to people familiar with the situation. He made the purchase through a limited liability company, CRE Acquisition LLC, which is a common way for the wealthy to shield their real estate acquisitions from the public eye.

The lavish purchases by Robbins and two lieutenants were closed on earlier this year before Glenview was stung by some bad bets in the healthcare sector, helping depress its main hedge fund, which is down about 12.5 percent this year as of Nov. 6, according to one of the people.

Jeff Patterson, Glenview’s head trader and partner, is a short elevator ride down from Robbins, who will occupy the 29 through 32 floors, which includes the penthouse plus additional units he purchased.

Patterson bought the entire 15th floor of the building known as “The Charles” in April for $7.4 million, according to city records. The unit is 3,448 square feet, according to listings from realtor Town Residential, including four bedrooms and four bathrooms.

Glenview research director J.P. Gutfreund is a floor down. Gutfreund and his wife Lauren bought the 14th floor, paying $7.3 million in April, according to city records. Gutfreund is the son of John Gutfreund, the former CEO of Salomon Brothers. It has the same configurations as the 15th floor, according to a listing.

Robbins’ units were configured to have 12.5 bathrooms and 12 bedrooms over 11,747 square feet, according to a listing. Robbins is getting the apartments as a “white box,” meaning the space is being customized and will likely vary in terms of rooms and layout. The average size for all recorded condominium sales in New York City since 2003 is about 1,200 square feet, according to CityRealty.

The $37.9 million purchase price was the 40th most expensive in New York City history, according to data tracked by CityRealty since 2003. It is also the most ever paid for an apartment east of Third Avenue, a boundary that many of the city’s wealthiest residents preferred not to cross.

A Robbins relative recently used another limited liability company to buy the 27th and 28th floors at The Charles for $20.7 million, according to the sources. That apartment - listed at 7,198 square feet with 8 bedrooms and 8 bathrooms - is being used as an investment property, according to another person familiar with the situation. It is immediately below Robbins’ apartment.

Glenview, which manages $8.8 billion, has headquarters in the General Motors Building on Fifth Avenue, located slightly less than 1 mile from The Charles, built in 2014.

Robbins wrote in an apologetic October 26 letter to clients that the past three months - when the losses were incurred - were “exceedingly disappointing and frustrating” and that he would “earn nothing” in compensation this year.

But since inception in 2000, Glenview’s main stock-focused fund has averaged annual returns of about 13 percent, according to an HSBC report. The Standard & Poor’s 500’s average annual returns, with dividends, were about 4.6 percent over that period.

Robbins is married and has four children from a previous marriage. He already has homes in Alpine, New Jersey - complete with an indoor ice hockey rink on the property - and in Southampton on New York’s Long Island.

News of Robbins’ purchase was first reported by The New York Times on Friday.

Reporting by Lawrence Delevingne; Editing by Christian Plumb