How will Obstfeld’s Essex House suicide affect his real estate holdings?

By Candace Taylor | June 21, 2010 12:00PM

Solomon Obstfeld and the Essex House

In the wake of the recent suicide of investor Solomon Obstfeld at the Jumeirah Essex House, real estate insiders are beginning to wonder how the tragedy will impact
Obstfeld’s substantial real estate holdings.

Obstfeld, 55, plunged to his death June 9 from the terrace of apartment 1916 at the Essex House, the Daily News reported Friday. His death — which has been ruled a suicide but family members told the Daily News it seemed suspicious — is the second in a year for the Central Park South hotel and condominium.

In September 2009, Lebanese-born businesswoman Andree Bejjani was found murdered in her 10th-floor condo in the building. Apartment 1916 has been on the market since 2009, according to, and was listed at $4.275 million after several price cuts at the time of his death. Two other apartments he owned at Essex House, located at 160 Central Park South, were also for sale, along with 11,000 square feet of office space at the Hampshire House next door.

Fifty-five-year- old Obstfeld, a millionaire father of five who ran the investment firm LH Financial, was also an investor in the Hello Living condo project in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, a project that eventually became mired in legal struggles.

Apartment 1916 — a two-bedroom, 2.5-bath unit — has an “enormous set-back roof deck,” according to the listing, on the market with Prudential Douglas Elliman’s Pat Slochower, Howard Margolis and Chaya Schwartz, and all rooms have “dazzling panoraviews.”

Obstfeld also owns the two other units in the Essex House: 1830 and 1833. Buyers previously had the option of purchasing the three units for a total of $6.55 million and combining them for a total of around 3,330 square feet.

But Margolis, reached by email, told The Real Deal that contracts are now out on 1830 and 1833, and 1916 will be sold on its own. He said he could not comment on pricing or how Obstfeld’s death will impact buyer interest in the property.

“It’s very sad to lose someone who was so generous,” Margolis said. “He sponsored some wonderful charity events such as summer camp for sick children. He had a very big heart.”

At the time of his death, Obstfeld had also listed 11,000 square feet of office space at the Hampshire House at 150 Central Park South, with Elliman’s Ilan Bracha for $23 million. The unit, which has a private entrance, can also be used as residential or medical space.