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Earlier this year, real estate broker Adam Modlin told The Wall Street Journal that he was seeing strong demand for move-in ready Upper East Side homes as opposed to fixer-uppers, no matter how historic the home or famous a previous owner. A look at the top celebrity purchases and listings of October 2023 show that this prediction appears to have come to pass – the vast majority took place on the most prestigious stretches of the Upper East Side, and almost all have been beautifully renovated to today’s standards.

David Rockefeller — Sold for $47,000,000

146 East 65th Street 146 East 65th Street, #TH (Modlin Group LLC)
Entrance foyer with dramatic staircase
Living room
Top-floor basketball court
When the estate of banking executive/philanthropist David Rockefeller sold his Upper East Side townhouse, it had served as the family home for nearly 70 years. It may not have been renovated in nearly as long, either – buyer Doug Band, former advisor to President Clinton, embarked on an extensive renovation and restoration shortly after buying it for $20 million in 2018. Most recently, The Wall Street Journal announced that it has sold to Australian tech entrepreneur Bijan Tehrani in one of the biggest townhouse deals of 2023.

From the Listing:
One of the finest townhouses in New York City, 146 East 65th Street presents the rare opportunity to own a newly-renovated, key piece of Manhattan’s storied past. The eight-bedroom, Colonial Revival masterpiece was originally constructed in 1924 and painstakingly underwent a four year renovation/restoration by top AD100 Steven Harris Architects which was completed in 2022 with exquisite interiors by Miles Redd. Elegant sitting rooms are perfectly proportioned and open onto sweeping entertaining and private spaces.

Princess Ashraf Pahlavi — Sold for $27,500,000

29 Beekman Place
29 Beekman Place living room 29 Beekman Place, #TH (Brown Harris Stevens); Princess Ashraf Pahlavi (Bellavista - https://mashruteh.org/wiki/index.php?title=%D9%BE%D8%B1%D9%88%D9%86%D8%AF%D9%87:PrincessAshrafPahlavi2537.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=60820214)
Foyer
Formal dining room with treetop views
Private roof terrace with river views
Over the past 113 years, the townhouse at 29 Beekman Place has only had a handful of owners, but the vast majority have been extremely high-profile: It was built for CBS founder William Paley, rented out to health advocates Albert and Mary Lasker (who later bought it), and later sold to Princess Ashraf Pahlavi, twin sister to the last Shah of Iran (pictured above). The shell company that bought it for $11.5 million in 2020 listed it in August, and it sold less than two months later. The Real Deal identified the buyer as the United Kingdom’s secretary of state for foreign, commonwealth and development affairs.

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.

James Robinson — Listed for $25,000,000

778 Park Avenue 778 Park Avenue (CityRealty)
Living room with fireplace 778 Park Avenue, #9THFLOOR (Sotheby's International Realty)
Foyer with arched entries
Eat-in kitchen
The Rosario Candela-designed 778 Park Avenue has no shortage of moguls among its residents – Estee Lauder executive William Lauder bought an apartment in the building from investor Ronald Perelman in June 2023. One of their neighbors, former American Express CEO James Robinson, bought his unit from Blue Harbor Group CEO Clifton Robbins in 2000. Most recently, the New York Post announced that Mr. Robinson has put his apartment on the market. We can only imagine which powerhouse will take his place.

From the Listing:
One of the finest residences in all of New York City, encompassing the entire 9th Floor, this bespoke Cooperative apartment is located in the prestigious Rosario Candela building - 778 Park Avenue. With nearly 100 feet of Park Avenue facing frontage, this full floor home spans over 6,500 square feet and is defined by 16 voluminous rooms, 6 ensuite bedrooms, 7 full bathrooms and 2 half bathrooms. Natural light streams through 42 oversized sound-proof windows allowing for open views from all four exposures. Architectural elements including 3 wood-burning fireplaces, soaring 11-foot ceilings, beautifully crafted custom moldings and inlaid custom hardwood floors.
1 Available Listing for Sale for $25,000,000

Michael Olshan — Bought for $17,000,000

740 Park Avenue 740 Park Avenue (CityRealty)
Foyer with dramatic staircase 740 Park Avenue, #10/11C (The Corcoran Group)
Living room with fireplace
Dining room overlooking Park Avenue
Down the street from 778 Park Avenue (see above), “tower of power” 740 Park Avenue has had no shortage of notable residents over the years. The latest to join their ranks is O-Corps Investments founder and managing partner Michael Olshan, who bought a duplex in the building from philanthropist Miranda Wong Tang.

From the Listing:
Located on a high floor in what is deemed Rosario Candela’s finest prewar cooperative, this gracious 14-room duplex at 740 Park Avenue has many of the unique details of New York City’s most iconic residential building. Enter residence 10/11C from its private elevator vestibule into the spacious 34’ gallery with 11’ 6" ceiling height, elegant marble floors and a sweeping semi-circular staircase. The 36’ x 20’ drawing room has a wall of four oversized windows providing natural light that fills the room throughout the day. The hardwood floors are wide-plank oak and a beautiful fireplace with marble mantel flanks the room.
3 Available Listings for Sale from $15,950,000

Rodney Aldridge — Sold for $16,375,000

400 West 12th Street Superior Ink (Compass)
Corner living room with river views Superior Ink, #7C (The Corcoran Group)
Open kitchen
Private terrace overlooking the Hudson River
While Park Avenue and the Upper East Side are traditional bastions of luxury, many executives have made their Manhattan home bases downtown. Among them is Capita Group founder Rodney Aldridge, who bought an apartment in West Village condominium Superior Ink from the sponsor for just over $14 million in 2009. Years later, public records reveal that he has sold it and made a profit in the process.

From the Listing:
A rare opportunity to own a trophy West Village condo residence with private outdoor space and unobstructed views of the Hudson River. This five-bedroom, five-and-a-half-bathroom home offers approximately 4,116 square feet of interior space, over 440 square feet of private outdoor space and was designed with a gracious open floor plan for the modern luxury lifestyle. Arriving home in the large foyer, step into the corner great room with breathtaking views to the west over Hudson River Park and north to Little Island.
3 Available Listings for Sale from $2,295,000

Ronald Dickerman — Entered contract with $15,995,000 ask

159 East 61st Street 159 East 61st Street, #TH (Serhant LLC)
Living room with oversized window
Eat-in kitchen with center island
Private garden with outdoor fireplace
As October 2023 wound down, the townhouse at 159 East 61st Street had one of the top contracts of the week. A short time later, the New York Post identified the seller as Ronald Dickerman, founder of real estate private equity firm Madison International Realty. If it sells for this price, he will make a narrow profit, having purchased it for $15.5 million about ten years ago. The buyer was not identified.

From the Listing:
Measuring at 21 feet wide, by 57 feet long and over 7,500 square feet - this awe-inspiring home is complete with 6 bedrooms and 6 full bathrooms across 3 floors, with 2 additional powder rooms to accompany the parlor and kitchen/garden levels. A grand impressive staircase serves as a central hub, ascending the nucleus of the entire home, parallel with an oversized elevator accommodating 3+ passengers. The entire home was meticulously renovated to support modern living without compromising the integrity of the home's traditional elegance, unique character, and original details. The generously proportioned garden, measuring over 40' x 21' is a modern oasis with surrounding planters, built in surround sound, natural gas fireplace and natural gas grill.

Perry Sook — Bought for $15,099,000

360 Central Park West 360 Central Park West, #PHA (Argo Residential)
Living room with terrace access
Kitchen with terrace access
Terrace overlooking Central Park
Media executive Perry Sook founded Nexstar Media Group with one local television station in 1996; since then, it has acquired 200 stations reaching 116 markets across the country, making it the largest local broadcast television operator in the United States. Even as Mr. Sook brings his business into the modern era, public records indicate that he and his wife, Sandra Sook, found time to purchase a pied-a-terre overlooking Central Park.

From the Listing:
Introducing PHA at Candela’s 360 Central Park West; a sprawling duplex that masterfully reimagines pre-war luxury for the modern age. Crafted to perfection by award-winning firm CetraRuddy, this home is truly a once-in-a-generation offering. Streams of northern and eastern light accentuate the home surrounded by panoramic park and skyline views including the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, the Guggenheim, and Billionaire’s Row. Your private 1,065-square-foot wraparound terrace awaits, offering a breathtaking setting for dinner parties, sun lounging, urban gardening, and life on the park.
5 Available Listings for Sale from $1,150,000

Oleg Cassini — Listed for $13,950,000

135 East 19th Street 135 East 19th Street, #TH (Compass)
Living room with fireplace and stained glass window
Formal dining room with stained glass windows
Bedroom with stained glass windows
Wine cellar
Fashion designer Oleg Cassini is best known for dressing Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis while she was First Lady of the United States, and he has also dressed stars like Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Veronica Lake, Rita Hayworth, and Johnny Carson, to name but a few. He brought his sense of style to his recently listed Gramercy townhouse, where the listing notes that he hosted clients and lavish parties. The house was part of a bitter estate dispute, but the current owners ultimately bought it for $5 million at auction last year and updated a few elements.

From the Listing:
First time on the market in over 50 years, 135 East 19th Street is one of the last grand architecturally significant townhouses remaining available for private ownership in New York City, with a history rivaling any notable residence in the United States. Massive wood carved entry doors belie the history and scale that lie within, with the townhouse offering four stories (plus an interior mezzanine) and almost 7,000 square feet of interior living space. The huge entry foyer awaits its next guest featuring a gorgeous Flemish pattern stone floor. The real majesty begins when one enters the living room once referred to by the architect as the “Italian Room” with its massive barrel-vaulted ceiling, delicate filigree plasterwork, wood paneled walls, and massive stone fireplace. Beyond the living room and its huge stained glass Renaissance windowed wall is a crystal palace style garden with a working fountain and areas for interior plantings under a glass solarium roof.

Bob Knakal — Entered contract with $13,450,000 ask

737 Park Avenue 737 Park Avenue, #11E (Serhant LLC)
Living room with beamed ceiling
Entrance foyer
Windowed kitchen with center island
Over the course of his over 40-year commercial real estate career, executive Bob Knakal has been personally responsible for the sale of over 2,000 buildings and over $18 billion in sales. His latest deal, though, is on the residential front – his Park Avenue apartment entered contract midway through October 2023. The New York Post identified him as the seller and noted that the buyer, identified only as a Hong Kong-based businessman, is paying close to ask. If that is indeed the case, Mr. Knakal will make a profit, having bought his apartment for $12.95 million in 2015.

From the Listing:
Experience the epitome of luxury living at Residence 11E, located within the highly coveted 737 Park Avenue condominium in Manhattan's iconic Upper East Side. This opulent residence spans an extraordinary 4,719 square feet and boasts five lavishly appointed bedrooms and 7.5 indulgent bathrooms. As you step off the white-glove private elevator landing and enter the living area, you'll be greeted by an abundance of natural light cascading through an entire wall of windows, creating an ambiance that is both serene and uplifting. The grand layout seamlessly integrates the living room, dining area, and a state-of-the-art chef's kitchen replete with top-of-the-line Miele appliances, custom glass and aluminum cabinetry, and gleaming marble countertops, backsplash and floors, as well as Franke sinks and faucets.
2 Available Listings for Sale from $3,850,000

Peter Jennings — Sold for $11,040,000

101 Central Park West 101 Central Park West, #11B (Coldwell Banker Warburg)
Living room with Central Park views 101 Central Park West, #11B (Coldwell Banker Warburg); Peter Jennings (Peabody Awards - IMG_0285, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46050875)
Entrance gallery
Corner bedroom with Central Park views
Breaking news: Less than six months after it was listed, public records show that the longtime Central Park West home of ABC World News Tonight anchor Peter Jennings sold for nearly $600K over the asking price. When Mr. Jennings was alive, he and his wife, Kayce Freed Jennings, renovated the apartment and hosted a number of parties and benefits there. When she listed the apartment, Ms. Jennings told The Wall Street Journal that the views of Central Park made it hard to part with the apartment, but it turns out she doesn’t have to – public records show that she has downgraded to a smaller apartment elsewhere on Central Park West.

From the Listing:
Indulge in the ultimate luxury with this exceptional high-floor corner classic 9 residence, perfectly situated on the southeast corner of one of Central Park West’s most coveted pre-war cooperatives. This iconic residence boasts grand prewar rooms that have been renovated to include central AC, modern kitchen and baths, and ample outfitted closets. As soon as you step into the elegant 17 x 15 foot gallery, you will be immediately captivated by the stunning views of Central Park that can be seen from the magnificent 30-foot living room featuring three oversized windows and a wood-burning fireplace. With soaring ceilings and multiple seating areas, this space is perfect for entertaining or simply relaxing.
4 Available Listings for Sale from $5,700,000

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