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While one of the best parts of owning a property is the ability to design it exactly to one's tastes and specifications, this can lead to an uncertain fate when it's time to sell. Sometimes a renovation can result in a design masterpiece that sells at a stratospherically high price. Other times, the redecoration caters to so specific an aesthetic that the seller has no choice but to either hold out for an especially particular buyer or reduce the price in the knowledge that the money saved will go to redecoration. Such were the fortunes of the luminaries in business, entertainment, and world politics whose high-priced New York City homes that were bought, sold or relisted in August and September 2023.

Mitch Julis — Entered contract with $92,000,000 ask

Primary bath with cedar soaking tub
432 Park Avenue tea room 432 Park Avenue, #79 (Engel & Volkers)
Living/dining room with custom shoji screens on the windows
Windowed kitchen with custom cabinetry and appliances
At the end of August 2023, a full-floor unit at supertall 432 Park Avenue entered contract with the highest asking price of 2023 to date. The Wall Street Journal announced the sale and identified the seller as Canyon Capital Advisors co-founding partner Mitch Julis, who paid $59,144,362 for it in May 2016 and initially listed it for $135,00,000 in September 2021. The apartment was purchased as a white box and custom designed by Hiroshi Sugimoto.

From the Listing:
Among the clouds, at one thousand feet, is a one-of-a-kind Hiroshi Sugimoto-designed masterpiece. This serene full-floor residence offers 8,055 square feet (748 square meters) of living space, five bedrooms, five bathrooms, two powder rooms, home office, den, and a Sugimoto-designed tea room, with unobstructed 50 mile views in all directions including Central Park and the entire sky line, soaring ceilings, 10 x 10 foot windows and two private elevator landings. Custom-built from a white box to the highest standards, the residence features tailor-made mechanical, security, electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems, and a hand selection of the finest natural materials and finishes, including centuries-old Yakusugi cedar wood flooring, Towada tuff Stone, and Shikkui plaster walls. Included in this offering is all built-in furniture and integrated art installations, two adjacent studio apartments (Studio 29B & Studio 29C approx. 1,000 square feet combined), and two storage units.
16 Available Listings for Sale from $5,750,000
5 Available Listings for Rent from $29,500/month

Steve Witkoff — Sold for $38,500,000

150 Charles Street 150 Charles Street (Douglas Elliman)
The West Village waterfront is one of New York's most highly coveted luxury neighborhoods, and 150 Charles Street was part of a new wave of luxury development. According to The Real Deal, one of the project's developers, Steve Witkoff, paid $24 million to keep one of the penthouses for himself. He sold it to an unidentified buyer for $32 million in 2019; more recently, it has changed hands again.
2 Available Listings for Sale from $6,350,000
1 Available Listing for Rent for $39,000/month

Princess Ashraf Pahlavi — Listed for $36,000,000

29 Beekman Place 29 Beekman Place, #TH (Brown Harris Stevens); Princess Ashraf Pahlavi (Bellavista -, Public Domain,
29 Beekman Place
Roof terrace with East River views
Earlier this summer, the New York Post announced that the former Beekman Place townhouse of Princess Ashraf Pahlavi, the twin sister of the last Shah of Iran, had come on the market. She was not the first luminary to live in the townhouse - media executive William Paley was its first owner. The apartment sold to a shell company for $11.5 million in 2020, and is now over three times that price.

From the Listing:
29 Beekman Place is a just completed full-scale renovation of a seven level 12,000 square-foot mansion with walls of glass at the rear of each floor overlooking the stunning East River of Manhattan. It includes 7 terraces and approximately 1,905 total square feet of outdoor space. All new basic systems have been installed to the highest standard - leaving the new buyer with the often sought after opportunity to finish the kitchen and bathrooms to their own taste.

29 Beekman has the same unique East/West orientation as Fifth Avenue houses, so buyers seeking the maximum light this affords could instead have a house in this quiet, secluded Beekman Place enclave, while avoiding the congestion and commotion of Fifth Avenue.

Scott Lynn — Bought for $30,000,000

Cross section of planned Tribeca penthouse
Rendering of living room with massive arched window The Woolworth Tower Residences, #49A (Sotheby's International Realty)
Staircase connecting levels
While the $30 million sale at The Woolworth Tower Residences was one of the highest-priced to take place in recent months, it represents an $80 million reduction from when it was listed in fall 2017. Developer Alchemy Properties notes that it was sold in white box condition and that no two buyers appeared to have the same vision for it. The one who ultimately prevailed, Masterworks chief executive Scott Lynn, is likely to customize it to make the most of his art collection - when The Wall Street Journal announced the sale, it noted that his firm is an art investment platform and that his personal collection includes works by Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning.

From the Listing:
For the first time, The Pinnacle Penthouse at The Woolworth Tower Residences is now being offered with the potential for an approved combination of the 49th floor and providing an opportunity for approximately 12,131 interior square feet encompassing the entire crown of this beloved landmark developed by Alchemy Properties.

The Pinnacle Penthouse shall be delivered in designer ready white-box condition. The Pinnacle reaches 727 feet high and offers approximately 9,680 square feet of interior space along with a private 408 square foot observatory terrace. Exquisite highlights include 125 windows, 24-foot ceilings and an in-residence private elevator. Customize this coveted home with magnificent floor plan and interior finish designs from both Thierry W, Despont and David Hotson.

The full 49th floor – Fully built out to Thierry W, Despont’s specifications and design at 623 feet in the sky, is currently a 2 bedroom and 2.5 bathroom home offering breathtaking city and river views. Enter directly off a private key-locked elevator into a gracious entrance gallery before enjoying 2,451 square feet of interior space with over 9-foot ceilings and four open exposures. The acquisition and combination of these last two remaining homes has been called, “One of the last great unclaimed spaces in New York City.”
4 Available Listings for Sale from $3,195,000

The Devil Wears Prada — Sold for $26,500,000

129 East 73rd Street
Living room
Entrance foyer
Upper-level basketball court
Shortly after the dust settled from New York Fashion Week, The Wall Street Journal announced that the Upper East Side townhouse used for Miranda Priestly's home in the film adaptation of The Devil Wears Prada had sold about four months after it came on the market. Sellers Craig and Caryn Effron bought it for $8.8 million in 2003, and the current buyer was both not identified and not a major fan of the movie; buyer's broker Corey Shuster of Douglas Elliman said its movie appearance was "a cool tidbit [but] not much of a deciding factor."

From the Listing:
This 22-foot wide, Neo-Italian Renaissance-style limestone and marble townhouse features approximately 12,000 square feet amid six stories with several outdoor spaces. Built in 1907 and renovated in 2005, its original details have been carefully honored with thoughtful woodworking and gracious architecture and interior design by Diamond Barrata, as well as refined contracting by Simply Elegant. The façade of this residence is marked by a central double door with a guilloche enframement, as well as an arched parlor floor loggia that frames three sets of French doors. Upon entry, a formal gallery features a marble fireplace, casual seating area, and a Murano chandelier.

A spacious corridor includes a powder room and two sizeable coat closets and leads to a den wrapped in figured Anigre wood paneling. The eat-in kitchen features premium appliances from Sub-Zero and Viking, with a gingham-pattern marble floor underfoot. Industrial lights from the 1930s hang from a pressed tin ceiling over Carrara marble and stainless steel countertops. The kitchen has a dedicated breakfast area with a skylight above and is accented by a discreet powder room.

Wildenstein family — Sold for $26,100,000

7 Sutton Square
Foyer with grand staircase
Living room with treetop views 7 Sutton Square, #TH (Serhant LLC)
Rooftop terrace with treetop and bridge views
The Wildenstein family was once best known for their acclaimed art dealership, but this has gotten overshadowed in recent years by tax fraud trials and accusations of trafficking in art looted by the Nazis. They listed their Sutton Square townhouse to help with legal bills and ultimately took a loss on it, having paid $32.5 million for it in 2008.

From the Listing:
Wondrous details abound in this one-of-a-kind mansion, anchored by a majestic rotunda lined with a spiral filigree staircase and crowned with a glass dome. Other highlights include a classic Georgian-style façade, a central elevator, stunning parquet de Versailles hardwood floors, scagliola trims, concave custom designed doors, bullet-proof windows, dual professional kitchens, staff facilities, a dining terrace, and an incredible upper level deck–an enormous entertaining space that enjoys awe-inspiring views of the New York City skyline, bridges, and the East River. On the parlor floor of the house, residents enter the impressive vestibule with soaring double-height ceilings, flanked to the left and right by two doors: the left leads to the service wing while the right leads to a second direct entry to the grand salon. Straight through, one finds an elevator, a guest powder room, then a majestic rotunda.

Formal living and dining spaces sit on either side of this elegant receiving room. Expansive and bright, the double-width salon possesses dual gas fireplaces and bay windows that bathes the room with warm morning light. The dining room has an attached al fresco terrace and provides easy access to the China Room, and the proceeding breakfast room with serving kitchen that connects to a commercial-grade kitchen one floor below.

Ranan Lurie — Sold for $23,000,000

15 Central Park West 15 Central Park West, #36D (Compass); Ranan Lurie (Ranan Lurie, CC BY-SA 3.0,
Central Park and Billionaires' Row views
When Guinness Record-setting political cartoonist Ranan Lurie listed his art studio at One Central Park, the listing photos had pictures of his art all over the walls. In the case of his home at 15 Central Park West, though, the apartment itself was his work of art - his daughter and listing agent, Danielle Lurie of Compass, told Crain's New York Business, "My father replaced all the walls in the east wing of the home with glass so that you essentially step into Central Park immediately upon entering.” After his death in June 2022, his estate listed the apartment later that fall.

From the Listing:
The rarely-available, highly-coveted D line unfolds over nearly 3,200 square feet, spanning the northern edge of the 15 Central Park West tower from east to west. To enhance the wonder of panoramic views, the original owners of 36D made a unique design elevation, replacing the interior walls of the great wing with panels of glass and making this unit the only D line that opens directly into breathtaking views of the whole of Central Park. Framed by the glinting towers of Billionaire’s Row, the grand cultural institutions of 5th Avenue, and the far northern reaches of the Central Park Reservoir and Ramble, there’s both a restful sense of remove and a unique integration with the city skyline.

Throughout the home, this balance repeats: grandeur and intimacy, excitement and calm. Distinct perspectives from the living wing gallery, study, great room, dining room, and kitchen - each with its own view of Central Park - are framed by crown moldings and colonnades, giving old world shape to modern elegance. The expansion of the gallery hall and the arresting glasswork renders every living space radiant. With 11’ ceilings and graceful proportions, a sense of composition pervades. The west wing comprises three separate bedrooms with en suite baths, all with romantic views west across Lincoln Center to the shimmering expanse of the Hudson River.
7 Available Listings for Sale from $3,750,000
3 Available Listings for Rent from $45,000/month

Ivana Trump — Price reduced to $22,500,000

10 East 64th Street townhouse
Gilded dining room 10 East 64th Street, #TH (Douglas Elliman); Ivana Trump (Wiki Commons - Manfred Werner - Tsui - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0)
10 East 64th Street
Foyer with red carpet and chandelier
Over a year after Ivana Trump's estate listed her longtime townhouse, which she purchased for $2.5 million following her divorce from the former president, it has lingered on the market to a point where the price was reduced by $4 million in mid-September 2023. However, it may cost significantly more than that to bring the decor into the 21st century age of quiet luxury - the listing details a "Versailles-inspired dining room," gilded paneling, gold-embossed fireplace, and pink onyx primary bathroom.

From the Listing:
Grand and lavish, this limestone townhouse, on a highly coveted block known for its magnificent residences, is truly unparalleled. Built in 1879, this Adamesque home stands apart for its crisp, columned facade and mansard roof, as well as its one-of-a-kind gold and black grilled doors. Designed for luxurious living and the highest caliber entertaining, the six-story residence sprawls over 8,725 square feet and features an additional 700 square feet of outdoor space.

Entering the home through stately double doors, you are greeted by a regal, formal gallery. Under a large, Italian crystal chandelier and surrounded by gilded custom-paneling, the jaw-dropping entry sets the tone for this majestic townhouse. A powder room clad in silk damask wallpaper sits next to the gated elevator that services the entire home. A sweeping, curved staircase ushers you up to the resplendent second floor, housing an entertaining level adorned with four chandeliers and ceiling heights of more than 10.5 feet. An opulent parlor flows seamlessly into a light-filled living room overlooking East 64th Street.

Fabien Baron — Sold for $18,000,000

Living room off gracious entrance 55 West 9th Street, #TH9 (Douglas Elliman); Fabien Baron (Bhetherington7 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
Chef's kitchen with dining table
Private garden
55 West 9th Street townhouse
Between his work at Interview magazine and his iconic advertising campaigns for Calvin Klein, Burberry, Balenciaga, and Giorgio Armani, to name but a few, Fabien Baron has been described as "the most sought-after creative director in the world." He brought his creative eye to his Greenwich Village townhouse, which has been beautifully restored and renovated. The New York Post announced that he sold it for almost double the $9.4 million he paid for it in 2011.

From the Listing:
On the northern side of the street, a bit west of center, stands 55 West Ninth Street, a handsome five-story townhouse built in 1840. Its brick facade is trimmed with brownstone in ways that give the house a classical, but not ostentatious, demeanor. Every part of the exterior was extensively restored by architect Jean-Gabriel Neukomm less than a decade ago. According to Neukomm, on the street side of the house, only the cornice and the bricks are original -- and those bricks were carefully repointed. The windows were replaced, and the surrounding brownstone elements were recreated by skilled craftsmen -- as was the entire stoop.

The modest yet authentically historic facade inspired the owners as they contemplated redoing its interiors. They went for a combination of classical and modern, knowing that by adding a rigorously detailed stairway, bespoke marble mantels, oak floors and new moldings, they could combine French luxury with streamlined New York efficiency. The living room fireplace is pure Louis XVI, which seemed to fit the house’s generous proportions. The moldings and the staircase are based on beaux-arts precedents, which they spent months researching. On the floors, boards of solid brushed oak are arranged in chevrons, a pattern associated with Haussmann-era Paris apartments.

Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin — Relisted for $17,995,000

Lavishly but tastefully decorated townhouse living room Catherine Martin (Flickr - Eva Rinaldi); Baz Lurhmann (Wiki Commons); 243 East 17th Street (The Corcoran Group)
Living room with detailed ceiling
Bedroom with custom wallpaper
243 East 17th Street
A few months before the Academy Award-nominated Elvis was released in theaters, the film's director Baz Luhrmann and his wife, celebrated costume and production designer Catherine Martin, listed the Gramercy Park townhouse that they renovated and redecorated. It failed to find a buyer, and after some time on the rental market, it has been relisted at a lower price. However, the power couple still stands to make a profit on it; when the New York Post announced the relisting, it noted that they paid $13.5 million for it in 2017.

From the Listing:
Beckoning the bygone era of the Gilded Age in New York, this exceptional 28-foot-wide, elevator townhome sits perfectly positioned with a centerline view over Stuyvesant Square Park. Beautifully renovated in 2019, this stately home with gracious proportions features a three-bay facade, round-arched doors and windows, a lovely foliate patterned cast-iron balcony that runs the width of the edifice, and a paneled cornice. Totaling nearly 8,500 square feet with additional FAR, the five-story was originally built in the 1850s and currently has 6 bedrooms and 5 baths, and 2 powder rooms.

This elegant townhouse has been featured in numerous design publications including Elle Decor and was one of Elle Decor’s top "liked" Instagram posts of 2021. New energy-efficient boiler and HVAC systems in 2019, along with a new roof, roofing membrane, drainage, down piping, and exterior decking are just a few of the many upgrades made by the current owner. The house features extremely high ceilings throughout, hardwood floors, a grand winding staircase, five fireplaces (one wood-burning), arched doorways, skylights, and original moldings.

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