Comcast Corp. has bought three multimillion-dollar condo homes from its CEO Brian Roberts, who sold the sky-high units at a loss.
A company controlled by Roberts and his wife, Aileen, sold the condos to Comcast for $13.5 million, a loss of $820,000 from their 2016 purchase price, according to financial disclosures from Comcast. The Philadelphia cable giant said it plans to turn the condos into additional suites for its Four Seasons Hotel, located at the top of the Comcast Technology Center.
The sale price is among the highest in Philadelphia history. There have been just nine condo sales in the city of $10 million or more since 2000, according to records compiled by Kevin Gillen, a senior research fellow at Drexel University’s Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation.
A Comcast spokesperson declined comment.
The three units occupied the entire 45th floor of Comcast’s second Center City skyscraper, at 18th and Arch Streets. The Roberts-controlled company started developing the units, encompassing 14,663 square feet, into a single Four Seasons residence after it bought them for $14.3 million in 2017. The couple bought the condos from a partnership owned by Comcast and Liberty Property Trust, which developed the building, according to Comcast’s filing.
Comcast’s filing said it negotiated on “arm’s-length terms” with Roberts, who is also the company’s chairman and controls roughly one-third of shareholder votes.
The company got two independent appraisals; one valued the combined units at $13.5 million, while the other said they were worth $16 million. In April, Comcast purchased them at the lower appraisal.
A Four Seasons spokesperson said she had no details on the hotel’s plans for the units.
The Robertses, known to be longtime residents of Chestnut Hill, did not live in the Center City condo. Still, the expensive units were used as a political punching bag in August when protesters rallied outside the company’s skyscrapers.
Activists cited the condo price tag as proof Comcast could afford to do more to help Philadelphia’s schoolchildren access the internet.
Roberts was already looking to sell the condo units by then. He started exploring a potential sale in July, a month before the protest, according to the SEC filing.