The Real Deal New York

Paging all Roman Abramovich types: A new $120M mega mansion could be coming to the UES

Properties are owned by National Academy Museum & School and can be combined into 54K sf spread
By Katherine Clarke | April 11, 2016 12:50PM

A collection of three gilded Upper East Side properties once comprising the enormous private mansion of art patron Archer Milton Huntington are hitting the market for a combined $120 million. If they sold at full asking price and were converted into a single-family home, the deal could become Manhattan’s priciest-ever residential sale and give rise to one of the biggest homes in the city.

The properties, two townhouses at 1083 Fifth Avenue and 3 East 89th Street plus another school building at 5-7 East 89th Street, are currently home to the National Academy Museum & School and together span 52,200 square feet.  A buyer could potentially expand the properties too, since they come with an additional 42,000 square feet of air rights, according to the listing from Cushman & Wakefield, which is marketing the properties. 

An interior shot of the gallery

An interior shot of the gallery

The properties were combined and renovated more than a century ago by architect Ogden Codman, Jr. for use as Huntington’s private residence. The collector later donated the property to the museum and school in the 1940s.

The townhouses both feature original architectural details from that period, including a domed rotunda, wood-paneled rooms, moldings and balconies. The Fifth Avenue property also has a view of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir in Central Park. Both townhouses currently serve as gallery space and offices for the museum, while the school building operates as a classroom.

Listing brokers Bob Knakal, who’s representing the property with Thomas Gammino and Marc Rosenberg, said the school was simply trying to monetize its assets.

A winding staircase in one of the townhomes

A winding staircase in one of the townhomes

“Like many nonprofit organizations, they have a significant amount of wealth tied up in real estate,” Knakal said.

Walter Chatham, co-chair of the school’s board, said a sale would yield “an unrestricted endowment ensuring the perpetuity of the institution.”

The school has hired Denham Wolf Real Estate Services to help it find a new home.

The properties are the priciest potential single-family conversion on the market, tied with a $120 million listing of three townhomes on East 62nd Street with links to the Safra banking family.

Piecing together an Upper East Side mega mansion isn’t easy. Just ask Roman Abramovich, the Russian Oligarch and owner of soccer club Chelsea F.C. Abramovich’s plan to turn three buildings at 11-15 East 75th Street into a massive five-story private mansion is being met with severe resistance from the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Former billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg has also been gradually assembling his own mansion on East 79th Street.