LATEST NEWS

Billionaires Brawl Over NYC’s Most Expensive Townhouse

Billionaires usually get what they want. But when that something is a coveted piece of NYC real estate royalty, things get ugly.

By Jeff Vasishta December 2, 2016
Photo sourtesy of Brian Zak/NY Post

Ever wondered how some celebrities constantly seem to be dating other celebrities? Kardashians (take your pick), Swift, Lohan, Mayer? Keeping track of the celeb dating game can be tiring work. Well, it turns out that some houses can be just as flirtatious when it come to the rich and famous.

Take 19 East 64th Street. It’s set to be the most expensive townhouse ever sold in NYC with a truly bowel-loosening agreed price of $81 million. It’s been a toying temptress of a townhouse, coquettishly leading on men of wealth and taste and then discarding them in such a way that two-week Taylor could herself take notes.

RelatedMulti-Family Townhouses Are Being Returned To Their Single Family Glory At A Record Clip

It’s currently owned by David Wildenstein, heir to his family’s art-dealing dynasty, as reported in the NY Post. It’s had a long time admirer in Ukranian-born billionaire, Len Blavatnik, owner of Warner Music and investor in Broadway hit “Hamilton”, who has been known to collect high priced real estate like Leonardo Di Flirtatious collects supermodels’ toothbrushes.

Two years ago he paid a record $80 million for a townhouse on Fifth Avenue. Blavatnik, it turns out, wasn’t the only mogul being seduced by the townhouse’s obvious charms. When another mystery buyer, a Chinese conglomerate, surfaced and upped the ante on the buying price, its head was turned—or rather owner Wildenstein’s pocket book was. Spurned suitor Blavatnik sued Wildenstein for reneging on a $79 million handshake deal.

“David Wildenstein acted in bad faith and knowingly misrepresented his capacity to consummate this transaction in order to selfishly serve his own interests,” a spokesman for one of Blavatnik’s companies, Access Industries, told The Post. “Mr. Wildenstein unambiguously promised that [Blavatnik] would be able to purchase the property” Oct. 6, after extensive negotiations, according to the suit filed by Access.”

Things started get shaky when Wildenstein, 36, pushed the closing date on the sale back to March 2017, claiming the delay was for tax reasons. Then, on October 13th Wildenstein claimed for the first time that he was not “authorized to sell the property, but had to obtain ‘board approval,’ ” the suit says.

Related: Justin Bieber Is Renting A $30 Million Mansion on London’s Billionaire’s Row

Blavatnik believes he was being used to bump up the sales price. With a net worth of $18.6 billion, according to Forbes, clearly, Blavatnik is not a man who like to be played games with. He sued to force a sale—or to be paid $10 million. The townhouse was listed after Blavatnik’s interest for $100 million.

The stunning home was designed by Gilded Age architect Horace Trumbauer and boasts 20-foot ceilings, a paneled elevator and third-floor salon imported from the 18th-century home of a Parisian prince. Sources told The Post it was built as an art gallery, not as a single family home and so only has one bathroom per floor. Blavanik was said to be keen on using the property as offices. No word what the new buyer has planned but no doubt the stylish limestone will be maintained in a manner to which it has been accustomed.

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.

  • AGORAFY
    Stefano Boeri, the architect mastermind behind the famous plant-covered skyscrapers, is now designing Forest Cities in Liuzhou, China. #ForestCity #China https://goo.gl/PsTUwv
  • AGORAFY
    Auction is the second scheduled in a month for a One57 unit and it could set a NYC foreclosure record. #BillionairesRow #Foreclosures https://goo.gl/NZ3zqD
  • AGORAFY
    Once a couch-surfing website, Airbnb moves on to luxury properties, further disrupting hospitality industry. #Airbnb #Luxury https://goo.gl/7TpLk6
Four Countries To Retire In With $200K In Savings—And How Much Real Estate Costs There
Ever dreamed of retiring abroad? You know, affordable healthcare, better climate, more positive news—becoming an expat seems like an enticing option, especially one you no…
While Other Real Estate Platforms Start Charging Agents $3-Per-Day Exposure Fee, Agorafy Remains Accessible To All
Real Estate searching platform are always finding news ways to diversify their revenues models. Case in point—on Tuesday July 18, Streeteasy, one of New York…
Is Real Estate Crowdfunding The Fix That Urban Housing In America Really Needs?
Saving money for a down payment? One can only hope. Most millennial in their twenties or thirties are mortified that they might never be able…
Brooklyn And Queens’ Real Estate Sub-Markets Continue Their Ascent To The New Heights
So, the sales prices in Brooklyn and Queens hit record highs. Again. Just like they did in December 2016 and at the end of this…
The Economy Of Car Services And Delivery Apps Might Be Making NYC Less Eco-Friendly
Living in an eco-friendly neighborhood is a good thing. And, as it always the case with the good things, it also costs more. High rents…
Building Communities: What The U.S. Developers Should Learn From Soho China
As our world emerges into the new period of globalization and technology, some of the most important by-products of this process are buildings that have…
Five Reasons Why All Entrepreneurs Must Keep Their Eyes On China
It is hard to overestimate the importance of Chinese influence on the modern global economy. Carving out a place in Chinese market and winning over…
Airbnb Up Their Game With A New Luxury Tier Featuring Mansions And Villas
Airbnb is about to seriously up their game. First, the company started testing a new service called Select in an attempt to push accommodation listings…