The Real Deal New York

Former Knoedler Gallery townhouse listed for $38M

Property sold last year for $31M, making it the priciest townhouse sale of 2011

July 02, 2012 12:00PM
By Katherine Clarke

Adam Modlin and 19 East 70th Street

An Upper East Side townhouse that sold last year for $31 million — making it the priciest townhouse sale of 2011 — is back on the market, this time for $38 million, according to Streeteasy.com.

The limestone mansion, at 19 East 70th Street, was previously owned by the Knoedler Gallery; it is now owned by an LLC named East Renaissance. The owners had reportedly planned to convert the property into a single-family home, but no plans for conversion have been filed with the Department of Buildings.

The 14,675-square-foot property has now been listed with Adam Modlin and Marisa Sargent of the boutique brokerage the Modlin Group.

Modlin also represented the owner in the purchase of the townhouse last year. It’s “something we’re very proud of,” Adam Modlin said when asked about the purchase for a May story in The Real Deal. He declined to reveal anything further about the transaction and could not be immediately reached for comment on the listing.

The seven-story, eight-bedroom Italian Renaissance-style home was home to the Knoedler Gallery for four decades. The 1909 house has retained many of its original details including numerous fireplaces, coffered ceilings, and a grand original staircase, according to the listing. It will be delivered vacant.

As well as being the priciest townhouse sale of 2011, the Knoedler mansion almost scooped the gong for the priciest listing to sell since 2008 when its sale closed last year. It was beat out by the Duke Semans mansion at 1009 Fifth Avenue, which Carlos Slim bought for $44 million in 2010.

The East 70th Street home had been on the market since Christmas Eve 2009, when it came online for $59.5 million. By April 2010, listing broker Eva Mohr of Sotheby’s International Realty had dropped the asking price to only $49 million. The building eventually sold for $31 million.

A person who answered the phone at the Knoedler Gallery said the organization is now based out of a warehouse in the West 50s, but is not open to the public.

Knoedler was one of the oldest galleries in the country when it announced it was winding down its operations last November. The sale of its townhouse followed the 2009 resignation of Ann Freedman, the gallery’s president and an employee of 31 years. Late last year, the gallery also faced a forgery scandal, when forensic tests conducted on a Jackson Pollock painting it sold in 2007 to hedge-funder Pierre Lagrange revealed that it contained paint not available until 1970. Lagrange demanded a refund and the gallery announced that it would close its doors shortly thereafter.

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