The Real Deal New York

Megamansion mania? Trio of UES townhouses to ask $53.4M

50-54 East 81st Street can be built to 25k sf
By E.B. Solomont | July 27, 2017 10:30AM

From left: 50 East 81st Street, 54 East 81st Street and 52 East 81st Street

A trio of Upper East Side townhouses — billed as a megamansion in the making — are poised to hit the market asking a combined $53.4 million.

Located on a prime stretch of East 81st Street between Madison and Park avenues, the adjacent parcels total 20,824 square feet, with zoning for another 4,000 square feet that could be added on to create one of the largest mansions in the city.

Looking to capitalize on the growing market for townhouse combos, the neighbors decided to offer the package deal at the behest of their respective listing brokers, Brown Harris Stevens’ David Kornmeier, Leonel Piraino, Maren Faiella, Rafael Salas along with Lydia Rosengarten of Leslie J. Garfield. Combined, the properties are asking $2,516 per square foot.

If combined, the three townhouses won’t even be the only megamansion on the block. Madonna owns a 12,000-square-foot complex at 152 East 81st that she created out of three townhouses that she purchased for $32 million in 2009.

A few blocks away, Michael Bloomberg has been steadily amassing units at the co-op townhouse adjacent to his home at 17 East 79th Street. And then there’s Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich, who has filed plans to combine 11-15 East 75th Street into an 18,000-square-foot home.  In the Village, Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick recently tapped architect Morris Adjmi to design a combination at 273-275 West 11th Street, which they purchased for $34.5 million.

Property records show that at least two of the houses hitting the market haven’t traded in decades. Attorney Edward W. Hayes has owned No. 52 since at least the 1980s, while his neighbor at No. 50, Brownie Hedges, acquired that property at least 20 years prior. No. 54 last sold in 2011, when Platinum 81st Street LLC paid $8.15 million for the building and gut renovated the single-family home.

In addition to being marketed together, the houses are also being sold separately. No. 50 — currently configured as eight rental apartments and a medical office — is asking $10.5 million. No. 52, a five-story property with three units currently, is asking $14.995 million. And No. 54, the newly-built, six-story mansion, is asking $27.95 million for 8,375 square feet with a 2,040-square-foot garden.

Though the townhouse market’s had a rough few years,  the sale of art heir David Wildenstein’s mansion for a record $79.5 million mansion has offered sellers a glimmer of hope.  In addition to the Wildenstein sale, real estate investor Andrew Farkas sold his Upper East Side manse for $41 million in February, and Japanese billionaire Bungo Shimada unloaded his house for $41.5 million.

At around $2,500 per foot, 50-54 East 81st would be a relative bargain compared to other properties on the market, such as developer Keith Rubenstein’s home at 8 East 62nd Street, which is asking $84.5 million or $5,633 per square foot, or former Bear Stearns executive Warren Spector’s mansion at 11-13 West 10th Street, which is asking $59.5 million or $3,952 per square foot.