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A blog from CityRealty (Links below will take you to the 6sqft site)

Carter's View

Some large apartments at major pre-war luxury co-op apartments on the Upper East Side have reportedly experienced significant price-cuttings recently.

An article by Josh Barbanel in today's edition of The Wall Street Journal said that "after languishing on the market for years, two celebrated Park Avenue co-ops in the same building have gone into contract at unexpectedly low prices - levels that may be a drag on future prices for luxury Upper East Side co-ops, brokers said."

"The sale of apartments formerly owned by William F. Buckley Jr. and Brooke Astor," the article said, "shows how far the thinly traded trophy market has fallen since the peak a few years ago, brokers said....Both apartments are at 778 Park Ave., an 18-story, limestone-and-brick building on the corner of East 73rd Street. Designed by Rosario Candela in 1931, it has often been regarded as one of the most glamorous addresses in the city." The building is shown at the right.

"One of the apartments is a duplex maisonette where Mr. Buckley and his wife Pat entertained hundreds of guests over the years. It went on the market for $24.5 million in the spring of 2008, a few months after the conservative author and columnist died," the article continued, adding that "it sold last week for $8.75 million....Though the sales documents haven't been filed with the city yet, brokers identified the buyers as Renee and Mark Rockefeller, who is a son of Nelson Rockefeller. The final asking price for the listing by Paula Del Nunzio of Brown Harris Stevens was $10 million."

"At about the same time Mr. Buckley's apartment went to market," the article continued, "a larger duplex apartment owned by the late Ms. Astor, the influential socialite, on the 15th and 16th floors was listed for $46 million. The 14-room apartment had five wood-burning fireplaces....Ms. Astor died at the age of 105 in the summer of 2007. After the market froze in the fall of 2008, the price was cut to $34 million, and, after a change in brokers, to $29 million the following February, and $24.9 million in August. Now brokers say it is in contract for about $20 million, but with concessions that will bring the final sale price considerably lower. The apartment was listed by Kirk Henckels, director of Stribling Private Brokerage....In the case of Ms. Astor, the value of her association with the co-op may have been diminished by the prosecution and conviction of her son, Anthony Marshall, on charges stemming from his handling of her will and financial affairs."

"At 778 Park Avenue," the article said, "the highest sale was the $33.6 million sale of a full-floor apartment on the third floor by Vera Wang in 2008. In November, a similar apartment on the fifth floor sold for $26 million without a public listing."

A December 18, 2010 article by Jennifer Gould Keil in The New York Post said that "a mystery buyer has agreed in writing to obtain the late Brooke Astor's Park Avenue home - but for way less than half of the original $46 million asking price," adding that "the Upper East Side building's co-op board has yet to accept the bid, which a source described as 'in the high teens' and that "in the meantime, the sprawling duplex on the 15th and 16th floors of the classic 1931 Rosario Candela building has been shown to other interested parties - in an attempt to raise the bid past $20 million, said sources who have toured the unit."

The Post reported last year that Marshall, 86, owed $7 million in legal fees, the article said, adding that "those bills continue to mount since he's appealing his conviction on charges of trying to swindle his mom out of $60 million."

An article in today's edition at observer.com by Laura Kusisto said that a 13-room duplex apartment at 960 Fifth Avenue that had been purchased for $1.41 million in the early 1980s was put on the market in January 2009 for $32.5 million and has been recently listed for $22 million "and will go into contract today" and "no word yet on what the buyer or buyers have agreed to pay."
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Architecture Critic Carter Horsley Since 1997, Carter B. Horsley has been the editorial director of CityRealty. He began his journalistic career at The New York Times in 1961 where he spent 26 years as a reporter specializing in real estate & architectural news. In 1987, he became the architecture critic and real estate editor of The New York Post.
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