Park Avenue triplex sells for half off its $36.5M asking price

TRD New York /
Mar.March 01, 2011 09:38 AM
The penthouse at 812 Park Avenue

A 15-room penthouse triplex at 812 Park Avenue is in contract for less than half of its original asking price.

Financier Gordon Pattee and his wife first listed their home in the white-glove co-op for $36.5 million in 2007, at the height of the real estate boom. After several rounds of price cuts, the price was finally chopped to $15.9 million, and the listing is now in contract, according to Streeteasy.com.

Brokers familiar with the building, located between 74th and 75th streets, said the sale price is likely between $13 and $14 million.

The Pattees’ five-bedroom, seven-bathroom apartment spans the 13th, 14th, and 15th floors of the building, according to the listing, a co-exclusive between Brown Harris Stevens’ Caroline Guthrie and Bunny Goodwin of Sotheby’s International Realty.
Calls to the Pattees and Guthrie were not returned by press time. When reached on her mobile phone, Goodwin said: “I really can’t comment on it right now.”

Pattee is the chief executive of Manhattan-based money-manager Map Capital and the treasurer of the board of directors of the New York City Ballet. His wife, Dailey Jones Pattee, is a psychotherapist at a day treatment program operated by Columbia University. According to the website PropertyShark.com, they have lived in the building since 1986.

The triplex is “glamorous” and “one-of-a-kind,” said a broker familiar with the building. Still, it was overpriced when it first came on the market, even by 2007’s standards.

“Everybody was enthusiastic in 2007,” the broker said. The Pattees “were even more enthusiastic.”

Designed by famed architect J.E.R. Carpenter in 1927, the 14-story building is one of the most exclusive in the city. Richard Wilpon, Sterling Equities’ senior executive vice president and Madoff victim, and his wife Debra live there.

Would-be buyers at 812 Park Avenue are required to purchase their apartments with cash, and to pass the co-op board, they must have at least five times the purchase price in liquid assets, brokers said.

Those stringent qualifications limit the buyer pool to a select group. But another reason the Pattees’ triplex took so long to sell is because building rules prohibit renovations except during the summer months. That means it could be two years before the apartment is ready for its new owners to move in, brokers noted.

A similar price cut befell Brooke Astor’s apartment, which is also located in a building with strict renovation rules. Astor’s infamous 14-room duplex at 778 Park Avenue reportedly sold for $19 million in December, down from its original 2008 asking price of $46 million.

And 812 Park Avenue has its own history of price-chopping. The estate of Helen Cahill in 2007 listed unit #56C for $12 million; buyers Jeremy and Jessica Shell purchased it two years later for $5 million. (Jessica Shell is the daughter of Rockrose co-founder Thomas Elghanayan, who is now the head of TF Cornerstone).

One reason for such inflated original asking prices — besides the dizzy heights of the real estate boom — is that the building’s well-heeled residents often feel no urgency to sell, brokers said, so they sometimes slap a pie-in-the-sky “dream price” on the apartment.

“No one at 812 Park is really in desperate straits,” one broker said. “It’s a very wealthy all-cash building. So with a glamorous apartment like that, it does become a dream-price situation.”

The Pattees’ sprawling apartment retains the original architectural details, according to the listing. French doors on the third floor open on to a terrace facing Park Avenue.

The “entertaining floor” features a dramatic curved staircase that is reminiscent of the fictional Upper East Side home of Blair Waldorf on the CW’s drama “Gossip Girl.” Off the foyer, there is a “morning room,” a living room with a wood burning fireplace, a library, a formal dining room and a kitchen with a breakfast area.

Another Waldorf-esque touch is a “staff room” on the second floor with access to the kitchen by a back staircase.


Have a tip? Contact Candace Taylor at [email protected]


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