Renaissance-inspired townhouse faces foreclosure

Kenneth Laub’s Upper East Side home has drifted on and off market for 15 years

Leslie J. Garfield’s Thomas Wexler with 163 East 64th Street
Leslie J. Garfield’s Thomas Wexler with 163 East 64th Street (163 East 64th Street, Getty, Leslie Garfield)

After nearly 20 years on and off the market, the Renaissance-inspired townhouse at 163 East 64th Street has passed through almost every major brokerage in town.

It’s endured price cut after price cut, to no avail.

Now the four-story property is back on the market — and facing foreclosure.

Just before the New Year, 163 East 64th Street LLC filed to foreclose on the $5 million second mortgage secured by the property’s owner, commercial real estate broker Kenneth Laub, according to state court filing.

Despite the legal challenge, or perhaps because of it, the 8,000-square-foot townhouse was relisted last week at $18 million, according to a Streeteasy listing. That’s half of what Laub initially sought, but half a million more than what he was asking two years ago. (Worth magazine called it a “steal” at $17.5 million.)

Laub, an octogenarian who purchased the home in 1986, has tried to sell it numerous times since 2008. He first set the price at $35 million, then lowered it to just under $30 million in 2011. He asked between $28 million and $23 million at various points before eventually dropping it under $20 million in 2018.

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The townhouse’s listing history reads like a Rolodex of top city brokerages. At least 12 different firms have had the listing. Since 2019 alone, it’s bounced from Sotheby’s International to Weichart Properties to Brown Harris Stevens then back to Sotheby’s before eventually landing with Nest Seekers International, and not for the first time.

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If nothing else, the shifting representation proved the issue wasn’t the brokerages.

One of the property’s current listing agents, Leslie J. Garfield’s Thomas Wexler, cited the property’s earlier pricing as the primary impediment to its sale.

“It’s actually come to a point now that it’s a good deal,” Wexler said. “It has all the best features that any townhouse could have.”

Designed by John Prague in 1872, the Neo-Georgian-style townhouse is more reminiscent of Versailles than of the Upper East Side. Its ornate interiors include five bedrooms, five bathrooms and eight fireplaces.

The townhouse’s living room was styled after Louis XIV and walled with canvases inspired by the Fragonard room of the Frick collection and an 1872 English pine library. It also features a rooftop garden, a private first-floor garden, a temperature-controlled wine room and a private gym.

“To understand this house,” Laub told Worth, “you need to understand a little bit about my life, because this house is truly a piece of me.”

Laub’s real estate career dates back to 1960. He worked at Tishman for most of that decade before founding his own firm, which grew to include two offices in Manhattan and others in Rockland County, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Wexler shares the listing with Nest Seekers International’s Matt Bajek. Bajek was not available to comment, but a Nest Seekers spokesperson said multiple parties have expressed interest in the property.