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

Features

740 Park Avenue 740 Park Avenue

A RICH LEGACY

In the pantheon of storied New York addresses, there are many contenders for top trophy building, from relative newcomers such as 15 Central Park West to posh landmarks like the luxurious River House.

Despite the ever-expanding list of shiny ultra-high-end condos, one building stands out from the rest, eclipsing its status as a luxury apartment building and serving as an emblem for New York's powerful and elite.

Dubbed the "Tower of Power," 740 Park Avenue was built by James T. Lee, the maternal grandfather of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who grew up in the building. Designed by Rosario Candela, considered by many to be the finest architect of luxury apartment interiors, the muted-gray limestone building was completed in 1930 and was the last of the buildings erected along Manhattan's Gold Coast. Originally conceived as a co-op, 740 Park Avenue opened when the country was grappling with the worst of the Great Depression and, as a result, was forced to operate partially as a rental for some years. It did not become financially solvent for another half century, until the real estate boom of the 1980s.

Situated between 71st and 72nd streets, the 19-story Art Deco building features 31 apartments, almost all of which are duplexes, penthouses and triplexes. Built on a massive scale, residences feature grand living rooms, formal dining rooms, spiral staircases, high ceilings, expansive foyers and an abundance of windows.

Inside the Rockefeller apartment Inside the Rockefeller apartment

Titans: Then & Now

In its early days, 740 Park Avenue was nicknamed the Standard Oil building for its large share of residents connected to the oil giant, including John D. Rockefeller Jr., who owned a 20,000-square-foot, 37-room apartment, as well as Mildred Bedford Vanderbilt and a slew of other oil-rich owners.

As a sign of the times, 740 Park Avenue is now a hub for hedge funders and finance managers, including Stephen Schwarzman, founder of the Blackstone Group, who purchased Rockefelle's former apartment; disgraced former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain; and Israel "Izzy" Englander, the founder of hedge fund firm Millennium Management who in 2014 set a then-record for most-expensive co-op sale, spending $71 million for a lower-floor duplex that he purchased to serve as a pied-a-terre for his children and grandchildren. (As of early 2016, it remains the second-most expensive co-op purchase in New York City history, with a new record having been set in 2015 with the $77.5 million purchase of an apartment in another preeminent Upper East Side co-op, 834 Fifth Avenue.)

Beyond finance, 740 Park Avenue has been home to socialites and captains of industry such as Estee Lauder CEO Ronald Lauder andfashion designer Vera Wang, as well as diplomats, heirs and crooks. The building still maintains a connection to the oil-and- gas industry through industrialist and conservative activist David H. Koch, who bought an 18-room duplex for $17 million in 2003.

However, celebrity alone will not assure entry into the hallowed halls of 740 Park Avenue. Throughout the years, the co-op board hasrejected a number of well-known prospective buyers, including Joan Crawford, Barbra Streisand, Barbara Walters and Neil Sedaka. To qualify, prospective buyers must show liquid assets of at least $100 million.

However, celebrity alone will not assure entry into the hallowed halls of 740 Park Avenue. Throughout the years, the co-op board hasrejected a number of well-known prospective buyers, including Joan Crawford, Barbra Streisand, Barbara Walters and Neil Sedaka. To qualify, prospective buyers must show liquid assets of at least $100 million.

The $71M apartment purchased by Izzy Englander The $71M apartment purchased by Izzy Englander

Staying Power

As buildings fall in and out of favor, 740 Park Avenue consistently remains at the top of the luxury-building pyramid, part of an elite group of co-op buildings clustered in the vicinity of Park and Fifth avenues.

Of the top 10 co-op sales in the city's history, 740 Park Avenue has garnered two of the highest sales: the 2014 $71 million purchase, as well as the $52.5 million sale of a six-bedroom, six-bathroom apartment in 2012. Indeed, of the top-10 co-op sales, 740 Park Avenue is the lone building with two sales - all other buildings had just one apiece.

In recent years, the building has received a fair bit of media attention, though not all of it has been welcome. In 2005, author Michael Gross penned a tell-all about the history of the building and its illustrious residents. Several years later, documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney spotlighted 740 Park Avenue in his film "Park Avenue: Money, Power & the American Dream," which examines income inequality through the lens of the storied address.

A Cultural Touchstone

As shiny glass towers sprout along 57th Street, commanding some of the highest prices in the city, 740 Park Avenue remains a singular landmark - the ultimate sign of success.

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