Home News London-Based Businessman Pays $50 Million Cash for Gilded Age Mansion in New York

London-Based Businessman Pays $50 Million Cash for Gilded Age Mansion in New York

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One of New York City’s Gilded Age mansions has sold for the first $50 million all-cash deal in 76 years, said listing agent Tristan Harper.

Douglas Elliman.

Once owned by a member of the Vanderbilt family and most recently by the Serbian Permanent Mission to the United Nations, the Beaux Arts mansion has been on the market for years with a $50 million listing. Records show the sellers as a group of five European nations who inherited property after the collapse of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

The 5th Avenue building has a copper mansard roof.


Scott Wintrow/Douglas Elliman Realty

Harper said the buyer, a London-based businessman, plans to use it as a pieta tale. “The buyer never set foot in the building. Everything was done through his agent,” he said.

The buyer’s agent was Nikki Field of Sotheby’s International Realty, who declined to identify her client.

Harper said the sale was an international diplomatic exercise and required the cooperation of several sometimes politically opposed European countries.

According to the listing, the mansion is located on Fifth Avenue and spans about 20,000 square feet. Designed around 1905 by Warren & Wetmore, the architectural firm behind Grand Central Terminal, the house was later the granddaughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt, according to documents filed with New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission. Purchased by Emily Vanderbilt White. Her estate sold it to the Yugoslav government in 1946.

After the dissolution of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, the mansion was taken over by five successor states: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia and Serbia, according to United Nations documents. The group also sold the 730 Park Avenue co-op in 2018 for more than his $12 million, records show. Harper said of former Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito, “Although a communist, Tito had a great taste in real estate.”

Harper said the Fifth Avenue mansion, with its copper mansard roof, is the “crown jewel” of the former Yugoslavian portfolio.

The entrance hall has a 34-foot-high ceiling with a bronze-framed skylight and grand staircase. The living room, which faces Central Park, is approximately 28′ x 28′ with soaring coffered ceilings. The rooms on the ground floor are covered with hand-painted gold leaf.

Josip Broz Tito.


PHOTO12/Zuma Press

The mansion first went public in 2017 at $50 million, and Harper said he soon received two full-price offers. I got two calls on my cell phone,” he said. “Then we got bogged down in bureaucracy.”

Under the UN agreement, all countries had to agree to the sale. They also insisted on being in the same room to sign the document, Harper said, negotiating for nine weeks as lawmakers held government meetings to consider options. Meanwhile, the offer has disappeared.

The mansion was on and off the market for the next few years. It was removed from the market after an electrical fire on its third floor in 2018, and the owner had to repair the damage. It is said that there was not.

He has made four personal trips to Europe over the years to meet with government officials. At one point he said he presented them with an offer in the mid-$40 million range, but they rejected it. I just said, ‘I’m looking forward to it,'” Harper recalls.

New York’s Gilded Age mansion

The home is richly decorated down to the smallest detail, including bronze-framed skylights. Scott Wintrow/Douglas Elliman Realty (3)

In June 2021, the seller received an all-cash offer to buy the mansion for $50 million, Harper said. This time, he said, countries have reached consensus. “It’s been over 20 years since the end of the war. ‘They wanted this to happen.’ Slovenia, for example, holds a 14% stake in her, with the net price set at her $7 million in the deal, the country’s foreign ministry said in a statement in his March.

Barely untouched for decades, the building has no central air and was cut off from gas after an electrical fire in 2018. The living room, which faces Central Park, has bulletproof windows that have become opaque over time, he said.1980s Faraday He has a cage, or a metal container that blocks electromagnetic signals. This was used by diplomats during the Cold War to make personal phone calls. “Renovating the building will take three to five years and at least $20 million,” Harper said.

Field said her client, who has a portfolio of properties around the world, will work with restorers and period architects to restore Fifth Avenue to its former glory.

Despite the recent softness in the luxury market, Field said ultra-luxury buyers are unperturbed. “There is nothing stopping people from collecting the best real estate on the planet,” she said. “They will pay what they have to pay to secure it.”

write destination EB Solomonto [email protected]

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