UPDATED Sep. 10, 2020, 4:53 pm: Real estate developers are acutely aware of the dismal state of the luxury real estate market in Manhattan.
So it’s perhaps unsurprising that developer Keith Rubenstein of Somerset Partners has slashed the price of his palatial New York home at 8 East 62nd Street.
Rubenstein originally listed the townhouse in 2016 for $84.5 million with Adam Modlin of Modlin Group. This week — after years on and off the market and a stint with Douglas Elliman — the townhouse was relisted for $65 million, almost $20 million below the 2016 asking.
“The initial pricing was based upon unsolicited conversations we had with potential buyers before the house was even listed,” said Modlin, who is now back on the listing. “At this point, the price adjustment is reacting to the marketplace.”
Luxury homeowners angling for high sales prices have been chastened by the pandemic, which hit the ultra-luxury sector particularly hard, and accelerated a decline already years in the making.
Last week, Claude Wasserstein relisted her Upper East Side penthouse for $10 million less than her 2017 asking price; and a penthouse at the Walker Tower recently sold for 64 percent below its 2014 sale price. In August, billionaire Michael Price sold his Upper East Side townhouse for $18.8 million — less than half its listing price in 2016.
Rubenstein’s six-story, nearly 15,000-square-foot limestone mansion has six bedrooms, eight bathrooms and a rooftop terrace, according to the listing on Modlin Group’s website. The discounted asking price pencils out at about $4,384 per square foot.
Richard Steinberg of Douglas Elliman, who marketed the property between 2017 and 2018, and reduced the price to $79.5 million, said buyers at the time were interested in paying in the $60 million range, including “one interested party who was presenting a very good offer.” But, he said, Rubenstein’s price was “not negotiable.”
Steinberg expressed confidence that Modlin could sell the property, but said he still had reservations about the price.
“I’m just now sure that they’ll achieve that number in this market,” he said. “But I think it’s a good sign that they reacted to the market and reduced it significantly.”
Rubenstein did not respond to a request for comment.
In the surrounding area, a townhouse at 12 East 69th Street has been on and off the market for years without a buyer. First listed for $114 million in 2013, it was later reduced to $98 million, then $88 million. The asking price was reduced again this August to $79 million, according to StreetEasy.
On East 71st Street, the former townhouse of sex offender Jeffrey Epstein hit the market in July, asking $88 million. Modlin, who is handling sales and marketing for the controversial property, declined to comment on activity so far.
Rubenstein and his wife, Inga, bought the East 62nd Street home in 2007 for $35 million. They later engaged architect and designer William T. Georgis to work on extensive renovations.
Steinberg said the property is “absolutely beautiful” and “in pristine condition,” noting its non-traditional layout and “little orchestra balcony overlooking the living room.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story misrepresented the number of bedrooms in the townhouse. It has six, not four.