Saturday, August 11, 2007

Matthew Bronfman's Booze Bought Behemoths

Yesterday Your Mama discussed the sprawling spread on Fifth Avenue that Seagram booze empire scion Edgar Bronfman Jr. is reported to be purchasing. Today we will chat about the real estate transactions of another Bronfman brother, this time Matthew.

First up the Upper East Side townhouse, and second up the legendary Fifth Avenue apartment the booze heir is reported to be purchasing.

SELLER: Matthew Bronfman
LOCATION: 7 East 67th Street, New York, NY
PRICE: $33,000,000 (sale price)
SIZE: 9,733 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: A 25 room mansion, with a superb limestone facade, set up on 6 levels plus a full basement, serviced by an elevator, and a sweeping staircase. Airy elegance throughout. The house consists of a baronial Living Room, FDR, 6 Brs, 8 Baths, a dramatic double height panelled library, 2 family rooms, a huge family kitchen, generous staff quarters. It features a glass enclosed 4 story atrium, a magical roof garden overgrown with ivy and climbing roses, a private terrace with outside fireplace, sophisticated and truly distinguished heating and A/C systems, soaring ceilings throughout, gracious moldings...

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: A couple of days ago Mister Max Abelson at the New York Observer, one of the high priests of celebrity real estate gossips, reported that Matthew Bronfman, younger brother to the more well known Edgar Jr., finally sold his East 67th Street townhouse for a hair raising $33,000,000. Starting in 2002, in the scandalous wake of his social butterfly wife Lisa Belzberg reportedly having an affair with Bill Clinton, the investment banker/real estate developer has had the townhouse on and off the market at several different prices. Bronfman reconciled with and then deevorced Belzberg before marrying another woman in 2005. We've heard Mister Bronfman is dee-vorced from this woman too. Phew!

Finally, after RAISING the asking price to $36,000,000, along comes another stinking rich banker who is reportedly snapping the place up for a record breaking $33,000,000. What makes the price record breaking you might ask? In the splitting hairs world of New York real estate, $33M is the highest price ever paid for a townhouse LESS than 26 feet wide. Whoopee!

Mister Abelson reports that the lucky and loaded Mister Bronfman paid just $3,000,000 for the property in 1994 having purchased the house from The Foundation for Depression & Manic Depression, Inc., which is an organization only someone like our Dr. Cooter could love.

Anyhoo, Mister Bronfman and his allegedly cuckolding wife spent many, MANY millions on renovations by a top notch New York firm who turned the six story townhouse into a huge and well organized machine for entertaining and impressing other socialites and Wall Street tycoons, not to mention raising and housing a startling number of children (7).

The floor plan shows a fairly typical program for the layout and flow of a big ass New York townhouse, with public spaces occupying much of the ground and first floors, private quarters for the family above, and naturally, dark and nearly windowless staff room rooms in the basement. Your Mama couldn't be more pleased to see an elevator servicing all six floors of the mansion. There is nothing more we'd like to do than slowly and gracefully glide DOWN that gorgeous elliptical staircase, but we'd have a coronary climbing back UP that spectacular feat of engineering.

On the ground floor, a grand entry reinforces to guests and the Chinese food delivery people that you have mounds of money. So much money in fact that you can comfortably have the audacity to place a horrid artwork above the fireplace that puts the bubbly backsides of a number of muscle queens right at eye level. If you're a visiting David Geffen you might appreciate it, if you're Barbara Walters come for dinner, not so much.

Up on the fifth floor a double height, very dignified, and fully panelled library has been fitted with a massive Palladian window and a pair of leather club chairs. Libraries are customary in the mansions and apartments of well to do New Yorkers all up and down the Upper East Side, but even Your Mama has to confess this library is swoon worthy. We don't care for 85% of the furniture, but the room itself is is truly magnificent.

Another feature we'd like to point out is the expansive roof terrace. The listing says it's a overgrown with ivy and climbing roses, which probably does look very pretty in an English sort of way. But if you ask Your Mama, and no one did, a garden spilling over with roses is not a good thing. Who needs their skin to be all poked and scratched while trying to sunbathe in the nood up on the roof?

Because it's what people with extreme amounts of money do, we expect the new owner, a Charles Murphy, will hire his own team of uber educated and hugely paid architects and decorators to do this place over from basement to roof terrace. Your Mama just hopes he has the good sense to leave the stair case, the elevator, and the marvelous library alone.

Sources: On the Inside, New York Observer

BUYER: Matthew Bronfman
SELLER: Estate of Anne Slater
LOCATION: 998 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY
PRICE: $17,700,000 (list price), $2,571 (monthly maintenance)
SIZE: 5 bedrooms, 7.5 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Live within the walls of this magnificent designed simplex with all the Standford White details intact. This 3-6 bedroom residence is light flooded and fabulous for large scale entertaining or intimate gatherings. The apartment offers remarkable views of the architecture of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This is a one of a kind offering of New York's most gracious rooms in one of the city's most significant residential buildings.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: After a very long time sitting on the market, and despite heavy press coverage, someone has finally agreed to purchase New York fashion diva and society icon Anne Slater's legendary Fifth Avenue time capsule. According to a recent article in New York Magazine by S. Joanna Robledo that buyer is Matthew Bronfman, who is reported to be purchasing the sprawling apartment in the Italianate palazzo style building that is known as being one of the best buildings in New York City. Miz Robledo states in her article that Mister Bronfman is believed to be paying close to the $17,700,000 asking price.

Well known among the hoity-toity set for her cobalt blue tinted glasses and raucous after hours parties where guests played Ping-Pong, the old and still fabulous Miz Slater hosted all the East Coast blue bloods as well as a healthy and impressive contingent of Hollywood types like Ingrid Bergman, Grace Kelly, Fred Astaire, as well as the enormously and famously endowed Porfirio Rubirosa. The stately building was built in 1910 and originally housed exorbitantly rich rental tenants with names like Astor and Guggenheim. Old Miz Slater, also originally a rental tenant, moved in to the building in 1953, but shortly after moving in the building went co-op and she purchased her apartment where she's been ever since.

One enters the u-shaped simplex apartment through a long and glitzy gallery with a gorgeous honey combed ceiling, steel grey panelled walls, and a built in bar. We hope that Mr. Bronfman will at least consider keeping the entrance gallery bar because it's truly an inspired and fantastic idea. Because, let's face it, sometimes these Fifth Avenue bitches just need to come home and first thing grab a nice stiff cocktail to take the edge off of the stress and frustration from all the snotty sales gurls and bitchy shoe queens at Bergdorfs and Barney's.

We're not going to spend much time discussing the decor of Old Miz Slater's apartment. No babies, this monochromatic beige decor would not cut it in today's world, not with all the Diamond/Barattas and Miles Redds plying their colorful trade. However, when Sister Parish, or some other 1950s decorator du jour, conceived and executed this beige on beige fest it must have been terribly chic in that old fashioned upper crust upper east side sort of way.

From the photos, it appears the acres of buff colored carpeting, the buff colored walls, and the buff colored furniture have not been touched since Old Miz Slater had it done a thousand years ago. And in fact, an article in New York Magazine states that the apartment, while grand in scale, is as old fashioned as they come with the original fixturing in the bathrooms and kitchen, including a stove that dates from the teens. Guess Miz Slater didn't ask her staff to cook much the last fifty years or so.

What Your Mama really wants to know though, is where is Mister Matthew Bronfman going to put all his damn children? After living in 14,000 square feet of townhouse opulence, this place is going to seem downright closet like, particularly to a family of nine that surely includes full time staff. With just three principle bedrooms and four staff rooms, it's hard to imagine how Mr. Bronfman's team of architects and decorators are going to slice, dice and reconfigure Old Miz Slater's party palace into an apartment that will comfortably fit their Brady Bunch. A quick glance over the floor plan reveals that most of the Bronfman babies, at least those still living at home, will need to be housed back in the staff quarters behind the kitchen. Or at distant boarding schools. Or, are the Bronfmans hoping to buy the adjacent apartment and combine the two into one gargantuan Fifth Avenue aerie?

One note: the monthly maintenance on the huge apartment seems extremely low at just $2,571 per month. Could this be a misprint, or are the financials of this building so stellar that the maintenance is just a quarter of what one might expect in one of the finest full service buildings lining Fifth Avenue?

Just as Miz Slater lived among the richest people of her time, Mister Bronfman and family will also live among the world's richest people including billionaire Len Blavatnik and corporate raider Mark Rachesky.

Sources: New York Magazine, Streeteasy


Anonymous said...

Oh Mama, this is a swankienda I have to admire. The staircase is breathtaking in it's artful architecture and scale without being overblown and taking up half the 1st floor like so many gawdy 'statement' staircases do. Impressive for both it's beauty and restraint. The library is beyond gorgeous too. We had a neighbor when we lived in Houston that had something similiar, and it was all the more stunning when I first layed eyes on it because from the outside of the home, you'd never have guessed it was inside. Absolutely beautiful, but I bet that room alone requires at least 2 full day's attention per week by a housekeeper to keep dust free and shining. Here's hoping the new owner likes things pretty much as they are too.

Anonymous said...

Ok, the size of this post doubled in the time it took for me to write my comments. They were for the townhouse at 7 East 67th Street. The apartment at 998 Fifth Avenue is nice too. I like it alot better than yesterday's.

luke220 said...

Gee, Mama, no comment on all the bars in the new place? I guess the liquor still flows at the Bronfman's.

I prefer 998 to Edgar's 1040. I think that Matthew got a better deal also.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mama, you're such a gifted writer. I just love reading your stories. I dig that library and staircase on the Mansion. I studied both floor plans. I love the little kitchen off the bedroom on the Slater Residence. And did you see how small that Butler Room was? There was alot of wasted space so with a total Demo, one could re-configure the room count and layout. Keep writing Mama.

so_chic_darling said...

A few years ago during a city wide building workers strike I was greeted in the non automatic elevator of 998 Fith by none other that Ms Slater herself opening and closing the cage doors of the elevator.What floor please?She was working her shift!A real Dame!

Anonymous said...

When I was reading the post I was wondering why the maintenance was so low then you questioned it ... It surely is a misprint - I pay twice that downtown & roughly the same in tax ... If it's correct then I'm amazed ...

Anonymous said...

I love the living room/oval salon/dining room arrangement in the Slater apartment. I'm wondering if Bronfman bought it to flip instead of live in. A family of 9 + staff is really stretching things.

Anonymous said...

Reconfiguring things, the most normal size bedrooms I can imagine the 998 Fifth Avenue apartment having is 5, and even that would require eliminating all staff quarters. Surely Bronfman is planning to buy an adjacent apartment to combine with it as Mama suggested.

Anonymous said...

A nice article about Slater and her appartment:

Anonymous said...

i can't even imagine being comfortable in one of those ny apts.
having live-in staff would be weird. the cleaning lady once a week is all i can stand, barely.

Anonymous said...

When did Ann Slater die?

Anonymous said...

First place is nice, very nice.

Second place needs redecorating STAT. That is just horrible, surely rivaling La Saperstein.

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness. I could live in just the library alone for the rest of my life and die a happy woman. That's a gorgeous apartment.

Anonymous said...

The 7 East 67th Street home is perfection. Elegant without stuffiness. It's what I would imagine an address of this type would be. LOVELY.

Anonymous said...

Anne Slater isn't dead. Instead of going to Heaven, she opted for the Carlyle, which is where her stuff is. The place was on the market for a long time and she has moved out.

I agree that Matthew Bronfman got a nice deal. Last year, a similar apartment two floors higher went for about $27 million. The buyer was a Russian oligarch with various other residences who had previously been turned down at several co-ops.

Perhaps Mr. Bronfman doesn't need many bedrooms because he is parking his many children with his two ex-wives. Also, I thought that they had a large estate in northern Westchester.