A cavernous Upper West Side mansion offering river views, condo-like amenities and ornate limestone features designed by renowned architect C. P. H. Gilbert is back on the market for $16 million — $9 million less than it was asking a year ago.
The hefty price cut is likely because the landmarked townhouse at 3 Riverside Drive comes with a catch: A buyer will need to finish a nearly three-decade string of renovations that proved too much for its two previous owners, one of whom hoped to fetch $40 million for it in 2012.
But should a new owner finish the quest, the result will be an 18,000-square-foot home with eight bedrooms, five outdoor terraces, an Olympic-size marble pool, a movie theater with stadium seating, a basketball court, a spa, a gym and a game room — all spread across nine above- and below-ground floors.
Since buying it for $15.8 million in 2017, its latest owner has undergone a four-year, “extremely costly” excavation into the bedrock beneath the home to make room for the amenities, extending the six-story, 12,000-square-foot above-ground structure with an additional 6,000 square feet below.
The Gilded Age fixer-upper comes with plans for an eight-bedroom home, fully approved by the Landmarks Commission and Department of Buildings, according to the listing.
The project isn’t for the faint of heart. The 37-foot-wide home, built from 1896 to 1898 and known as the Kleeberg Residence, has been mired in renovations since 1995, when broker and developer Regina Kislin and her husband, Anatoly Siyagine, bought it for less than $10 million, according to the New York Times. Split into separate apartments on each floor, the mansion had fallen into disrepair, and Kislin set to work transforming it back into a single-family home.
Kislin said she misjudged the extent of the required renovations, and listed it for $40 million in 2012, still unfinished after nearly 17 years of work. Again, Kislin was optimistic, but the home languished on the market until 2017, when it sold at auction for $15.8 million to a buyer whose identity was hidden behind an LLC, records show. By then it was asking $18.5 million, according to the Olshan Report.
It found itself on the market again in 2019, this time asking $25 million, according to the New York Post. It’s unclear whether the owner undertook new renovations or continued those that Kislin started, but by then plans were underway for many of the amenities mentioned in the current listing.
It returned to the market last April with the same $25 million ask, which was reduced to $22 million in December and $16 million this week.
The home had a fraught history long before the renovation saga. It was initially built for Maria and Philip Kleeberg, an oil and lace merchant. Maria committed suicide in the house while hosting a party there in 1903 — an incident which a Times headline succinctly described as “Rich Woman Ends Life” — and her son sold it soon after.
The home was later owned by William Guggenheim, who first ran it as a boarding house, then rented it to William Knipe, a doctor who reportedly helped popularize a then-innovative method of pain management during childbirth known as twilight sleep. Knipe, who paid $5,000 a year in rent, treated patients from the mansion, which became his “twilight sleep sanitarium” — a development that displeased his neighbors, according to the preservation group Landmark West.