The Real Deal New York

Even at $11M off, Schinasi House could set Upper West Side townhouse record

February 04, 2011 04:51PM
By Sarabeth Sanders

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The Schinasi House at 351 Riverside Drive

The longtime owners of the Upper West Side’s Schinasi House, the 12,000-square-foot mansion at 351 Riverside Drive, have slashed their asking price to $20 million in an attempt to take advantage of a recent rebound in Manhattan townhouse sales, the listing broker said today. That’s still a potentially record-breaking price for a single-family home on the Upper West Side.

The house, whose listing boasts that it is the last free-standing, single-family mansion in the borough, was originally asking $31 million when it hit the market in 2006. It has been on and off the market since then, most recently asking $24.9 million.

“There’s more activity at the high end of the townhouse market than we’ve seen in a long time, and prices on the West Side have gone up on the high end,” said Brown Harris Stevens’ Diane Abrams, who shares the listing with the firm’s Felise Gross. “We thought this would be a good time to move forward with the mansion at an attractive price.”

According to a report released this week by Prudential Douglas Elliman, 197 townhouses were sold in Manhattan in 2010, up 32.2 percent from the number of sales during the prior year. The average townhouse price also edged up by 9.2 percent.

The owners of the 41-foot-wide Schinasi House, which sits on a 59-by-100-foot lot on the corner of West 107th Street, are Columbia Law School professor Hans Smit and his wife, Beverly, who have lived there since the late 1970s, property records show.

The four-story home, built in 1909 by Carnegie Hall architect William Tuthill, has views of Riverside Park and the Hudson River, multiple balconies and fireplaces and loads of original detail, though Abrams said it could use some modern upgrades.

“It really needs somebody with the know-how to put this mansion in its best form,” she said. “I wouldn’t rule out an institution or a consulate or a school… but I would expect that [the buyer] would probably be a family.”

The landmarked mansion next door, at 352 Riverside Drive, sold to Helen LaKelly Hunt, daughter of oil tycoon H.L. Hunt, for $15.75 million in December 2007 — a record at the time for an Upper West Side townhouse. Last March, billionaire Henry Silverman set the latest townhouse record for the area when he bought 26 West 76th Street for $19.3 million.

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