The Real Deal New York

Vincent Viola’s record-breaking townhouse deal falls apart

12 East 69th is now a rental asking $175K monthly
By E.B. Solomont | June 13, 2018 01:35PM

12 East 69th Street and Virtu Financial CEO Vincent Viola (Credit: Brown Harris Stevens)

Vincent Viola’s deal to sell his Upper East Side mansion for $80 million has fallen through — crushing expectations that the sale could set a new residential townhouse record for the city.

In December, a Chinese buyer reportedly went into contract to buy 12 East 69th Street, a 20,000-square-foot mansion with its own movie theater and panic room. Viola, CEO of Virtu Financial and President Trump’s first nominee for Secretary of the U.S. Army, purchased the house with his wife Teresa in 2005 for $20 million.

The Violas originally listed the property for $114 million in 2013. It reportedly went into contract last year, but sources said the deal fell through in recent months.

The 40-foot mansion, between Fifth and Madison avenues, has six levels and 2,650 square feet on the roof terrace. The property is currently available for rent, asking $175,000 a month. Brown Harris Stevens’ Paula Del Nunzio has the rental listing.

Although it’s unclear why the deal collapsed, China’s regulatory clampdown has prompted Chinese investors to slow their spending and divest assets. The purported buyer also shelled out $50.5 million to buy a penthouse at 15 Central Park West from former Barclay’s CEO Bob Diamond in May 2017.

According to Leslie J. Garfield‘s quarterly market report, the number of Manhattan townhouse sales dropped in the first quarter 12.5 percent to 105. But the average price rose to $7.8 million from $6.9 million.

The average price of a townhouse on the Upper East Side jumped 45 percent to $21.6 million during the quarter, largely due to several pricey transactions.

In February, an affiliate of HNA Holdings Group sold 19 East 64th Street for $90 million amid financial difficulties. (The property is a commercial townhouse, meaning the deal didn’t overtake the current record, set in 2006 when financier J. Christopher Flowers paid $53 million for the Harkness mansion.) Billionaire Len Blavatnik bought the townhouse from the Chinese conglomerate, which paid $79.5 million a year earlier and planned to use it as an office.