Friday, February 25, 2011

A Big Deal Goes Down at NYC's Lordly 834 Fifth Avenue

In the late 80s, Columbus, OH-based billionaire businessman Leslie Wexner bought a palatial 21,000 square foot townhouse on the Upper East Side of New York City. In 1996 or '07 he sold the East 71st Street townhouse, complete with a secret lead-lined bathroom with closed-circuit television, to the lavish living prostie lovin' financier and philanthropist Jeffrey Epstein whose prurient affinity for very young woman landed him in the clink in 2008.

About the time he was selling his titanic townhouse to Jeffrey Epstein, Mister Wexner reportedly paid a wealthy Italian lady somewhere in the neighborhood of nine million clams for a 16-room fixer-upper duplex at the high-nosed 834 Fifth Avenue. The apartment, with only two rooms that face Central Park, was previously owned by billionaire Rupert Murdoch who hauled his heiny up a few flights when he famously paid a heart-stopping $44,000,000 for the triplex penthouse at 834. Your Mama has been told a number of times by a number of Upper East Side types who tend to know about these things that Mister Wexner and his wife Abigail had their five bedroom crib at 834 worked over by autocratic French architect Thierry Despont.

Shortly after news broke in late December 2009 that the Wexner's had snatched up a 3,480 square foot condo at 15 Central Park West for $13,100,000, the folks at the New York Observer snitched that Mister and Missus Wexner had quietly floated their duplex at 834 Fifth Avenue on the market with a mind-numbing $60,000,000 asking price. In early December of 2010 it was revealed, also in the New York Observer, that the asking price had dropped dramatically to $34,000,000 and sold to an unknown buyer.

A couple weeks late the buyer was identified in the NY Post as commercial real estate magnate Lazarus "Larry" Heyman who, it may surprise the children to know, is not yet forty years old.

This week The Real Deal announced that the Wexner actually sold his duplex digs at 834 for $36,000,000, a number that would indicate that there may have been a second interested party that drove the final sale price up to two million above the reported asking price.

Mister Heyman and his wife Kim, formerly of Sutton Place, now have uppity neighbors who include Bing Crosby's son Harry, philanthropist, haute couture queen and high society doyenne Carroll McDaniel Portago Carey-Hughes Pistell Petrie who once lived on the 5th floor and now lives in Pauline Pitt designed digs on the 10th floor and famously fat living former "King of Wall Street" John Gutfreund and his very social wife Susan whose live primarily in a plush Parisian apartment they put up for sale in 2010 but still maintain an opulent Henri Samuel designed 16-room apartment at 834 Fifth Avenue that measures in at a hefty hefty hefty 12,000 square feet.

photos: The Office of Thierry Despont

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Poor Jeffrey. I weep for him. No bran muffins with "secret ingredients" or "crab and 'special' steak" meals. A prison suit instead of a jump suit. And oh, the awful humiliation that doubtless will exaggerate his germ phobia. Would it be too much to hope that he ends up another Howie Hughes? I'd like to live long enough to see that.
The apartment pictures are examples of super boring pseudo-French decor. Thanks for not posting more of them.

Anonymous said...

One thing I like about Warren Buffett is that when he had to step in and clean up the mess Gutfreund had made at Salomon Bros. he stiffed Guttie out of a big payout he had expected which made Guttie very sour and angry indeed. I presume Guttie and his wifey can still get by however on their vast prior accumulation.

Anonymous said...

Dumb question.....what does Bing's son Harry do that he can afford such a pricey abode? Royalties from Bing still rolling in????

Anonymous said...

Harry would appear to be a survivor. I may not have checked out all of Bing's progeny but I found that two sons, Philip and Gary, are dead;two more sons, Lindsay and Dennis, both committed suicide. Harry may be the only one left. He also has worked on Wall Street (for Credit Suisse) that may explain his apparent affluence.

Anonymous said...

Crosby is in investment banking.

Anonymous said...

Harry Crosby only paid a little over 4 million back in the 90's for his place.

Anonymous said...

11:02 - I completely agree about the decor. It's all a bit staid & stuffy for my taste.

Can you imagine trying to get your freak on in that bedroom?

lil' gay boy said...

"Can you imagine trying to get your freak on in that bedroom?"

Not with the courtiers watching...

Oh Mama, I could cry with pride; New York Real Estate Law has quoted you (verbatim, and properly credited) on this juicy little item...

What's the deal with the "hidden" lead lined bathroom ––– the rich version of a tin foil hat?

The Devoted Classicist said...

While I find the interiors attractive, I think I could work out a better arrangement of furniture that placed the bed in front of the window.

Anonymous said...

New York Social Diary did a profile of Susan Gutfreund a while back with many pictures of her apartment at 834. It's safe to say that most people will have a violent and negative reaction to the decor. I only know Henri Samuel by reputation, but if this is representative. . . well let's just say when I get my bonus check this year I won't be hiring him. Actually I think he might be dead at this point.
Susan claims that she is now a decorator, although i can not recall ever seeing any of her work published anywhere, except for what she claims to have done on her own real estate. Haven't checked yet to see whether or not she has a website (would doubt it).

Anonymous said...

I am amending my above comment re. Susan Gutfreund's apartment.
Just went back and revisited the pictures of it from NYSD, and I actually think the foyer/stair hall and the dining room are quite beautiful. So apologies to Henri Samuel. I will in fact give your firm consideration when my bonus check materializes.

MarkyMark said...

That bedroom photo reminds me of the strange scene at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and not in a good way.