A Depression-era mansion on Manhattan’s Upper East Side sold yesterday for a record $79.5 million, according to public records, making it by far the most ever paid for a New York City townhouse.
That distinction used to belong to another Upper East Side property, the Harkness Mansion, when it sold in 2006 for $53 million.
David Wildenstein, scion of his family’s art fortune, reportedly sold the 41-foot-wide, 25,000 square foot limestone-clad mansion to a Chinese hedge fund, according to the New York Post. The Beaux Arts-style building, which has three stories and 20-foot high ceilings, housed the Wildenstein art gallery for almost a century.
The property, though, is not without its share of controversy.
Billionaire Len Blavatnik sued for millions last year after he believed Wildenstein reneged on a verbal agreement to sell his firm the townhouse for $79 million, according to Bloomberg.
Blavatnik made the bid after the government of Qatar, which was in talks to buy the property in 2014, balked at the last minute. The home was then put back on the market for $100 billion.
News reports have accused the Wildenstein family fortune of being buoyed by an alleged history of dealing in Nazi-stolen art.