“A steal”: Billionaire John Paulson sells gallery space at steep discount

Scrap metal magnate Adam Weistman snatches French Classical property for $5M

John Paulson and Adam Weitsman with 11 East 70th Street #1A (Getty, Wikipedia Adam Weitsman, CC BY-SA 2.0, StreetEasy)
John Paulson and Adam Weitsman with 11 East 70th Street #1A (Getty, Wikipedia Adam Weitsman, CC BY-SA 2.0, StreetEasy)

Scrap metal magnate Adam Weistman is buying a one-of-a-kind property next to the Frick Museum.

Part home, part art gallery, the 6,500-square-foot French Classical property at 11 East 70th Street was sold for $5 million by billionaire John Paulson, according to Compass agent Rachel Glazer, who represented the buyer.

The two-story property, originally designed as a residence by artist and photographer Charles I. Berg, had been on and off the market for much of the past decade and initially asked $28 million, Glazer said.

“It’s very, very cool, and at this price it was a steal,” she said.

An art enthusiast, Weistman is fulfilling a dream by acquiring the property, having marveled at it as a 20-something of modest means when he worked in a nearby gallery before getting into the scrap metal business.

What makes it unique, besides the striking wrought-iron and glass entrance under a balustraded balcony, is that it’s both an art gallery and a private residence. The two gallery rooms are accompanied by a library with a fireplace. The residence, roughly 2,000 square feet, has high ceilings, marble floors and a marble spiral staircase.

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Glazer said Weistman won’t live there, but will use the gallery space after renovating it for a year or two.

Paulson acquired the property in 2011. It had been collateral for debt he assumed from beleaguered art gallery Berry-Hill, according to ARTnews. Berry-Hill filed for bankruptcy in 2005 and emerged from it in 2008.

Paulson has been facing issues of his own: He and wife Jenny Paulson filed for divorce last year and will be sparring over $100 million of property they acquired.

Paulson once said buying a home was “the best single investment you can make,” but perhaps that was before he made $20 billion by shorting the housing market before the 2008 crash.

Weistman owns Owego-based Upstate Shredding – Weitsman Recycling, the result of a 2005 merger between his own scrap metal business, which he started in 1996, and his family’s, which his grandfather founded in 1938 in upstate New York, according to the company’s website. It has annual sales of about $750 million.