Wednesday, August 22, 2012

In Case You Haven't Heard...

...Sheik Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al-Thani—a.k.a. the trophy property collecting Prime Minister of Qatar—did not, as first reported by the New York Post some weeks ago, drop more than $90,000,000 on a duplex penthouse at the not-yet-completed,  Christian de Portzamparc-designed One57 tower in Midtown Manhattan.

The intrepid celebrity chatterboxes at Page Six quoted an unnamed source today who snitched The Sheik chose not to move forward with the purchase of the gigantic duplex digs at One57 "'because he has a huge entourage and the building only had two elevators.'"



In the real estate end, again according to the peeps at Page Six of The Post, The Sheik dropped $47,000,000 for a super-sized, neo-Italian Renaissance townhouse of monumental urban proportions. The deal went down in early July (2012) so, believe it or not, it taken six long weeks for someone to put this particular, high-end real estate two-and-two together.

Your Mama can't confirm or elaborate on the details of the deal—because we don't know a damn thing about the details—but the 22,000-ish square foot, limestone-faced townhouse‚ built in 1922 by C.P.H. Gilbert for German merchant Julius Forstmann, is said to have been sold by real estate mogul Aby Rosen in a private deal without any real estate brokers involved. No brokers means, of course, no real estate commission(s) paid.

Mister Rosen first listed the baronial, 45-foot wide pile in 2008 with a spine-straightening $75,000,000 price tag and (reportedly) rejected two previous offers of $60,000,000 before he slashed the asking price in June 2010 to $59,000,000. He again went chop-chop in November 2010 when he plummeted the price to $50,000,000.

The recorded $47 million sale price may be a substantial fraction of the original list price—and far less than the two, $60 million offers Mister Rosen (reportedly) rejected—but it's still many times the $15,650,000 property records show Mister Rosen paid for the townhouse through a generically-named corporate concern in October 2004.

The regal (and deliciously haughty) seven-floor residence—five above-ground, a full basement and additional sub-basement below—was used as a decorator's show house at some point but, honestly chickens, Your Mama can't recall exactly when or for what philanthropic purpose. Maybe one of y'all do and would be kind enough to give Your Mama a ringy-dingy? Anyhoo, that's why, one presumes, listing photos show some of the vast interiors as done, done, and even more done.

As decoratively worked (and over-worked) as some of the rooms appear in listing photographs, the woefully spare floor plan included with marketing materials may (or may not) suggest significant time and resources will be required to design, customize and construct the interior spaces of the monumental mansion where, according to listing information, "The dramatic entrance foyer leads to a magnificent reception hall and grand-scaled rooms which feature many superb original details, including a spectacular sweeping marble staircase, an enormous skylight, marble fireplace surrounds, hand-carved moldings, and soaring high ceilings."

The purchase of Mister Rosen's townhouse marks the end of an arduous and no-doubt complicated house hunt operation for The Sheik during which he reportedly made a dead-serious (and over-asking) offer to purchase two of reclusive heiress Huguette Clark's three apartments at 907 Fifth Avenue. He was, so the New York property gossips reported, rejected due to the all-powerful board's (understandable) concerns about the significant size of The Sheik's entourage that includes (but may not be limited to) two wives, 15 children, a full-complement of domestics and personal valets, and—natch—an extensive, armed security detail.

So the scuttlebutt goes, The Sheik also considered the purchase of songwriter/philanthropist/international social butterfly Denise Rich's sprawling and decidedly opulent (but depressingly dated) duplex apartment on Fifth Avenue but was (allegedly) rebuffed by the board once again due to concerns about the size of his entourage. Miz Rich—who gave up her U.S. citizenship last year and decamped for Switzerland–later sold the massive penthouse as a pied-a-terre to L.A.-based billionaire David Geffen for $54,000,000.

(Note: The following is lifted almost but entirely verbatim from a previous discussion about The Sheik's real estate activities.)

Naturally, the 50-something year old Sheik owns several other pricey properties around the world including, no doubt, a college campus-sized compound in his home country of Qatar. Like many Middle Eastern sheikhs and potentates, Mister al-Thani maintains a base in London where he owns a sprawling penthouse pad at the stupefyingly expensive One Hyde Park complex in London's natty and nabob-y Knightsbridge nabe.

More than one of Your Mama's better connected informants have told us The Sheik owns an estate in the same gated Los Angeles enclave where action star turned governator Arnold Schwarzenegger, German supermodel turned reality tee-vee mogul Heidi Klum, and professional pig skin tosser Tom Brady and his (possibly) preggers again Brazilian supermodel wife Giselle Bundchen all maintain baronial mansions.

In late 2010 The Sheik paid L.A.-based billionaire Tom Gores $34,500,000 for 8-plus prime (and vacant) acres on a very prominent promontory above the Bel-Air Country Club where—Your Mama imagines—he plans to erect a massive, opulent and high-maintenance residential monument to his wealth that he'll probably only use a few weeks a year. Such are the real estate ways of the world's super rich.

In addition to his myriad of stationary residences around the world, the globe-trotting Sheik also keeps a 437 foot long, navy blue-hulled boat called Al Mirqab said to have a soaring, four-story main staircase with hand-cut crystal panels and a glass sculpture by American artist Dale Chihuly.

Just imagine, children, the amount The Sheik's monthly living expenses total. Sort of makes y'all need a nerve pill chased by a gin & tonic, don't it?

listing photos and floor plan: Sotheby's International Realty via StreetEasy

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Surprised Aby was finally able to unload this white elephant, and for a 30 million dollar profit too. Not bad at all...

Phillip Themholes said...

I'm not surprised the Sheik played the "that place isn't good enough for me" card. Especially, since the owners association would have no part of the Sheik or his entourage buying the penthouse. Dictators make horrible neighbors and the buyers at One57 are well aware of that fact.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't he have Prime Minister-y things to which he should attend? How can he jet-set and keep his day job?

Anonymous said...

Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse 2009 - the blue room was by Bunny Williams and was all over the internets.

Cheers!

Rainy Rhonda

Rugby E. Root said...

The chandelier in the sitting room is very close to one by Eileen Gray which sold at the YSL sale in Paris for $3.8 million. I'm thinking it's probably a modern copy, as you don't hang a $4 million chandelier in a show house.

http://www.christies.com/LotFinder/lot_details.aspx?intObjectID=5171346

Anonymous said...

aka Rhonda Rainyday

Anonymous said...

That house is gorgeous. OMG.

Candy Spelling said...

I hope there's garage space on the permises, or at least a driveway? Where are they going to park all their orange Lamborghinis and blue Rolls-Royces? I can't help thinking the Manor would have been much more suitable for his needs.

Rugby E. Root said...

One more thought: if the PM is so concerned about having enough room for his entorouge, he's going to need some place(s) to park them in addition to that house. Huge as it is (and boy is it huge) it's only got ten rooms above ground.

West Bourne said...

Richard and Pat Nixon also ended up buying a townhouse in NYC after having difficulties with co-op boards when they left San Clemency.

Anonymous said...

3:26 If your money comes from being a tyrant sitting on a pool of oil, you really don't have much to do other than put a pump down and pipes up to bring it to the dock to load on tankers. That and making sure the police are loyal.
If the government won't put a stiff excess house tax on all those with houses worth over 5 million perhaps it could be persuaded to sock it to foreigners with super big houses. A 15% annual levy would please me. They can afford it.

Anonymous said...

Mama, I believe the Sheik just sold his Brentwood Country Estates house last month for $18 million... a 5+ million dollar LOSS! Wow

Anonymous said...

6:07, I believe you're talking about the house up the street. I had always thought that the Sheik's house was the Gothic-style manse at 12910 Chalon. Mama?

Anonymous said...

I would loathe living in the same building or vicinity as this POS. They should be banned from buying anything in this country.

Petersieui said...

That house is gorgeous. OMG.