Bill Ackman

New York billionaire William "Bill" Ackman has stirred up some neighborhood controversy as he embarks on his newest development project. Ackman, who Forbes estimates to be worth $2.8 billion, is the founder and CEO of the hedge fund management company Pershing Square Capital Management. He garnered his fame in the financial world for shorting the Municipal Bond Insurance Association (MBIA). Ackman made recent news as Perishing sold their investment in Netflix, Deadline reporting that Perishing now finds the streaming service to be unpredictable.

As Ackman has created ripples in the financial world, he has done the same in his Upper West Side neighborhood. Ackman and his wife Neri Oxman have been granted permission by the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) to build a modern, glass penthouse atop a historic New York co-op, notes New York Post. Ackman and Oxman, as well as the LPC, have not been without pushback and outrage from other residents, though.

The controversial penthouse project

Tall New York apartment building

In late 2018, New York Post reported that Ackman and Oxman had purchased the penthouse in question for $22.5 million. The purchase was actually made up of four uncombined apartments, which used to be owned by author Nancy Friday. The penthouse is located on top of 6 West 77th Street, which is located just across the street from the Museum of Natural History. The penthouse includes a whopping 13 bedrooms.

Ackman’s original plans for the penthouse included a two-story glass project, one resident describing it as a Malibu beach home, and was received with a lot of pushback and outrage from both residents and shareholders (via New York Post). The LPC rejected Ackman’s original plans, asking him and Oxman to lower the project to make it less visible from the street in an effort to appease resident concerns.

The LPC has recently given Ackman and Oxman approval for their new design. Ackman told New York Post that he and Oxman took the LPC’s advice into careful consideration, and he describes the plan as having more support from the building’s residents and the local community. The penthouse will take roughly 18 months to build.