740 Park unit slashes price, again

Apartment is last one out of four still available that hit the market in 2008
By Amy Tennery | January 12, 2011 02:20PM

From left: the interior of Speight’s apartment, the exterior of 740 Park Avenue, broker Serena Boardman, broker Meredyth Smith and author Michael Gross

Investment banker Randolph Speight was once the meticulous gatekeeper at one of Manhattan’s most sought after addresses: 740 Park Avenue. But, today, the apartment belonging to the late co-op board director at the tony building is struggling to meet the approval of buyers.

After listing Speight’s duplex spread for $35 million in August 2008, the Speight family has progressively chopped the price there — down 26 percent to $26 million in January 2009 and down another 12 percent to $23 million just yesterday, according to Streeteasy.com.

Listing agents Meredyth Smith and Serena Boardman, both of Sotheby’s International Realty, did not respond to requests for comment on the famed building, which sits on the corner of 71st Street and boasts John Rockefeller, Jr., designer Vera Wang, Kent Swig and Liz Macklowe, and former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis among its past and present residents.

The listing, unit 4/5C, is the last man standing out of four apartments in the co-op that hit the market in 2008, according to Michael Gross, author of “740 Park: the Story of the World’s Richest Apartment Building,” who just completed his second book on luxury real estate, “Unreal Estate.”

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“There were a bunch of apartments that were perfectly well-priced on the market, but then there was just a glut,” Gross explained. The other three units left the market in early 2009, but the market downturn trampled the listing’s chances of netting a $35 million buyer.

The 6,700-square-foot duplex unit, Gross explained, is also a less desirable unit among those in the building, designed by noted architect Rosario Candela.

“The C-line apartments are their smaller [units],” Gross said, adding that it faces 71st Street, a less attractive view than other apartments in the building. “It’s the kind of wasp-chic, ‘we have millions but we wear khakis with tears’ kind of apartment.”

Even so, one broker, who has worked with the building before, told The Real Deal that pricing has turned buyers off to many units there, not just those on the C-line.

Of course, Gross believes that would do little to comfort Speight, who helmed the board at 740 Park for more than two decades.

“He’d probably go to [the] 21 [Club] and have a drink and grumble about how real estate brokers aren’t doing their job,” Gross said.