The Real Deal New York

$90M UES townhouse belonging to Lucille Roberts’ estate poised to crush city records

By Sarabeth Sanders | March 11, 2011 07:26PM

Listing agent Paula Del Nunzio of Brown Harris Stevens and images of 4 East 80th Street (interior listing photo obtained via the Times)


An Upper East Side townhouse originally commissioned by Frank Woolworth is about to shatter New York City records when it hits the market for $90 million, likely the highest-ever official asking price for a single-family home in Manhattan.

According to the New York Times, Brown Harris Stevens townhouse guru Paula Del Nunzio is readying that listing for 4 East 80th Street, the 17,676-square-foot mansion currently owned by the estate of fitness mogul Lucille Roberts, who died in 2003.

Industry sources said its $90 million asking price will by far eclipse any other for a townhouse in New York City history; Aby Rosen’s 22 East 71st Street and a mansion near Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s, at 1016 Madison Avenue, were each, in 2008, asking $75 million. Neither property sold, and both have since slashed their asking prices.

Rosen, who famously turned down several $60 million-plus offers before the market crashed, is now seeking $50 million for the property. Meanwhile, 1016 Madison Avenue dropped its price to $65 million before coming off the market for a year. It returned last spring with a $72 million price tag and has been the most expensive Manhattan townhouse on the market since then.

The record for New York City’s priciest townhouse sale is still held by the Harkness Mansion at 4 East 75th Street, for which J. Christopher Flowers paid $53 million in 2006. Since the downturn, the Duke Semans Mansion at 1009 Fifth Avenue, which went to Carlos Slim for $44 million late last year, has been the priciest single residential sale in the city.

(Del Nunzio also had that listing).

Brokers have been saying since the start of the year that the high-end Manhattan market is heating up, but is it record-breaking, $90 million hot?

“They’d be better off pricing it in Euros. It sounds like a lot less,” said Leonard Steinberg, a high-end broker at Prudential Douglas Elliman. “It’s pretty crazy, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t someone crazy who will pay a crazy price.”

But as for whether Steinberg’s lengthy Rolodex contains any buyers like that?

“No,” he laughed. “Not one. I wish.”

The 35-foot-wide limestone mansion, which has seven stories, 10 bedrooms, 11-and-a-half bathrooms and three kitchens, will also be available for rent at a whopping $210,000 per month, the Times reported.

Brokers believe that rental price may also be a record for the city. According to, the most expensive current rental listing in New York is the $140,000-a-month “Cole Porter” apartment at the Waldorf Towers.

“The only person who’s going to pay that is a king or a maharaja,” said Anne Snee, a senior vice president at the Corcoran Group who toured the home when the owners were in the early stages of preparing to put it on the market. But, “A maharaja would be much happier at the Waldorf.”

Del Nunzio did not respond to requests for comment.

Snee described the property, which last changed hands for $6 million in 1995, as “gorgeous” and “wonderful,” but seemed skeptical about the price. “I think it’s ambitious,” she said. “I wish them all the luck in the world.”

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