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When One New York Townhouse Isn’t Enough: Let’s Build Mega Mansions

The super-rich are buying up adjoining properties to create mega mansions.

By Jeff Vasishta January 18, 2017
Editorial Credit: badahos / Shutterstock, Inc.

For most people owning a townhouse in New York City would be the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. They are, after all, one of the ultimate status symbols — the supermodels of real estate. Like their catwalk counterparts, they’re tall, thin and glamorous. However, also like some flesh and blood sirens, it could be argued that their practical abilities are limited. Their narrow scope is akin to living in four bowling alley’s stacked on top of one another. It’s difficult to have several bedrooms on the same floor and gardens tend to me postage stamp sized. All of this accounts for the latest trend amongst the super-rich in real estate. Buying townhouses next to one another and turning them into a mega mansion. Must be nice.

Related: Townhouses In New York Continue To Yield Record Investment Returns

One area seems to have more of these conversions than others — Greenwich Village. Once a neighborhood of struggling artists and bohemians, the only thing struggling about the place these days are chauffeurs finding parking places to pick and drop their wealthy clientele from. Mansion Global recently reported that Sotheby’s International Realty held an open house in a townhouse at 230 West 10th St which was listed for $12 million. Two adjacent townhouses were also on the market, creating the perfect scenario for a person of extreme wealth to create a mega mansion.

“Some brokers previewing the property said their clients have shown interest in scooping up all three townhouses,” one of the agents, Vanessa Kaufman said. “The three townhouses are in different conditions, but they have the same facades.” Sensing a mega deal on the cards several brokers have bandied together to “draw up a floor plan.”

With townhouses in Manhattan being limited and side by side deals rarely on the market at the same time, multi-millionaire buyers have to exercise patience that doesn’t come naturally to them. Combining properties is nothing new but recently, with New York real estate at meteoric highs, only the super wealthy have been able to pull it off.  Former NYC Mayor and billionaire, Michael Bloomberg has been quietly building his Goliathan Gotham enclave for years on the Upper West Side. He has bought five of the six apartment units in the building next to his 7500-square-foot townhouse over the last two decades. The floors were connected in 2009 and his dwelling now weighs in at a mighty 12,500 square feet and growing.

Related: Downtown Luxury Condos Come Back Into Play For The Seriously Rich

Russian Oligarch Roman Abramovich is a man who’s used to getting what he wants. Whether it’s buying selling businesses or soccer players for the Premier League team he owns, Chelsea F.C. It now extends to NY real estate. Abramovich recently received approval to connect three townhouses on the Upper East Side, according to 6sqft. The buildings were purchased in 2015 for a reported $78 million and it’s safe to assume he paid cash.

Downtown, though, has been where most of the recent action has been. Thespian celebs, Sarah Jessica Parker and Mathew Broderick have apparently bought two townhouses on West 11th Street for $34.5 million creating a very un-Carrie Bradshaw like a massive 13,900-square-foot mega-mansion The Real Deal reported that the townhouses were previously The Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which was acquired from the nonprofit United Methodist Women.

Also in the village is another Parker, Sean Parker, Facebook co-founder and Napster creator. He paid $58.5 million for his three brownstones. The first building was purchased in 2010 for $20 million, the second for $16.5 million in May 2016 and the third a reported $22 million last August (2016). The renovation to connect all three was recently completed.

Due to the scarcity of such properties on the market and the availability of people to buy them, it’s impossible to say that these isolated conversions is becoming a trend. Also impossible to predict is how difficult it may prove to sell if/when they are placed back on the market. The good news for New York is that the big shots are putting their money where their mouths are and investing heavily in the Big Apple. If only more could do the same.

Jeff Vasishta

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jeff Vasishta

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jeff Vasishta

Jeff is a writer, husband and father but not necessarily in that order. As a music journalist he counts Prince, Beyonce and Quincy Jones amongst those he’s interviewed. He's also owned and flipped homes in Brooklyn, NJ, CT and PA.

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