Dr. Ruth’s former UES haunt sells for $24.5M

By Sarabeth Sanders | September 15, 2010 06:45PM

Lloyd Goldman unloads property primed for mega-mansion conversion 

1024 Lexington Avenue

The Upper East Side’s one-time “hotel for doctors,” which for many years housed the offices of famed sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer, was snapped up by a New York investor for $24.5 million in an overnight deal last week, according to a deed filed today with the city.

Seller Lloyd Goldman was originally asking $35 million for the five-story, mixed-use property at 1024 Lexington Avenue, with broker Ivan Hakimian positioning it as an opportunity for a single-family residential conversion that a “Madonna-type person” could take over and turn into “one of the nicest and most unique mansions Manhattan has ever seen,” as he told The Real Deal in May.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the buyer on the deed isn’t Madonna, or even a “Material Girl” wannabe, but rather Avi Dishi, president of Elysee Investment, which has a mid-sized portfolio of residential and commercial properties in New York and Florida.

He signed a contract Sept. 7, and the deal closed the next day for what works out to roughly $1,012 per square foot. Dishi was traveling and was not immediately available for comment, but his secretary confirmed the purchase.

Goldman, who owns BLDG Management and is the nephew of the late New York real estate tycoon Sol Goldman, paid $32 million for the 24,207-square-foot structure in 2007, public records show.

At the time, the building, which has an alternate address of 133-137 East 73rd Street, still housed a number of medical office tenants, all of whom were subsequently cleared out as Goldman prepared conversion plans and gutted the interior. He also obtained approval to convert the property into what would technically be the largest single-family home in Manhattan, even before the planned, 2,700-square-foot duplex addition.

In May, Hakimian, of Itzhaki Properties, told The Real Deal that the listing had garnered interest from private schools, museums and investors, but that the property “should be residential because it’s in an area that’s all residential.”

While it remains to be seen whether Dishi will carry out Goldman’s mega-mansion conversion plans, he’ll have to pony up a significant sum to complete the now-mostly-vacant interior, whatever its use may be. The building also currently houses several mom-and-pop retail stores on the ground floor, which have separate entrances.

Goldman and Hakimian were both unavailable for comment, but sources said that despite appearances, the deal was structured in such a way so that Goldman was not taking a loss on the property.