The Real Deal New York

Last freestanding UWS mansion relisted with new broker, sizable price cut

November 01, 2011 02:36PM
By Katherine Clarke

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Corcoran agent Tod Mercy and 351 Riverside Drive

Manhattan’s last existing freestanding single-family mansion, the Schinasi House at 351 Riverside Drive on the Upper West Side, has been relisted today after several years of moving on and off the market, according to data from Streeteasy.com, but with two differences. Owner and Columbia University professor Hans Smit has switched up brokers, swapping Felise Gross and Diane Abrams of Brown Harris Stevens, who have had the listing since 2006, for Tod Mercy, an agent at the Corcoran Group, and slashing the price significantly. 

The property, which was initially listed for $31 million in 2006, then $30 million in 2007 and $25 million last year, is now asking only $14.95 million, a veritable bargain for a 41-foot-wide house with 12,000 square feet of interior space and 3,400 square feet of exterior space.

“I think it’s priced very fairly now,” said Mercy, a friend of Smit and his wife who had been hoping to take a stab at selling the property for some time. “My goal would be to sell it in the next six to nine months.”

The price played a large part in the property languishing on the market for the last seven years, Mercy said.

[The property] “is exquisite,” he said. “It’s this renaissance palazzo, but it’s going to take someone with vision who is ready to dedicate themselves to it. Anyone who moves in is going to want to update rooms and bathrooms.”

As for the switch in representation, Mercy said the owner wanted some fresh blood on the project: “I can’t speculate exactly… but there was really nothing scandalous,” he said.

A lot of work has already gone into the four-story house at 107th Street, which was designed in 1909 by Carnegie Hall designer William Tuthill. Smit has been slowly restoring it, Mercy said, ever since purchasing it from Columbia University for $325,000 in 1979, according to public records. The home is currently occupied by Smit’s son and his family and has been featured in various films including Woody Allen’s 1994 film “Bullets Over Broadway.”

Mercy said he already has some interest in the property, but declined to provide further information.

“I’d rather keep it all pretty vague at this stage,” he said.

As The Real Deal previously reported, it was at one point thought that the mansion could set a record price. Last March, billionaire Henry Silverman set the townhouse record for the Upper West Side when he bought 26 West 76th Street for $19.3 million.

Smit, Gross and Abrams were not immediately available for comment.

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