An Upper East Side townhouse could be be NYC’s most expensive at $80 million

An Upper East Side townhouse could be New York’s most expensive. The mansion is officially under contract at a price believed to be around $80 million. Considering it was purchased for $20 million twelve years earlier, it’s proven to be some investment. Numerous upgrades were made to the property by the owner, billionaire Vincent Viola. These, according to the NY Post, include a swimming pool, velvet-lined movie theater and a panic room. In addition there are 7 bedrooms, an Italian granite staircase and onyx elevator. There’s also a recording studio and library.

The property is located at 12 E. 69th St and includes a total of 20,000 square feet of luxury living. Though the asking price was $80 million, the final sales price has not been revealed.

Viola’s, rags to riches story is almost as dramatic as the appreciation of his real estate holdings. The son of a Brooklyn truck driver,  he worked his way up from stock broker to head of the New York Mercantile Exchange. In addition to real estate, he and his wife Theresa, own the Florida Panther’s hockey team. The deep pocketed buyer for the property, who hasn’t been named,  also purchased a $50.5 million penthouse — at 15 Central Park West — from Barclay’s CEO Bob Diamond, which was reported in the Wall St Journal.

Nearby, a property at 19 East 64th Street made news last year when it sold for $79.5 million. That property also had just over 20,000 square feet. It was owned by billionaire art dealers, the Wildenstein family, whose gallery was housed in the property for over 80 years. Originally the Wildensteins had agreed to sell the limestone building to the consulate of Qatar. When the Qataris pulled out of deal the day before closing, the property was re-listed for $100 million. That triggered a lawsuit from Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries LLC who claimed that the Wildensteins had a verbal agreement with him to sell for $79 million.

Another townhouse hovering around the $80M mark has been in the news recently. Business Insider reported that real estate developer Keith Rubenstein (he of the Bronx, “Piano District” notoriety) has had a hard time moving his restored Manhattan home, a block from Central Park, for $79.5 million. His Upper East Side mansion has 14,700 square feet and includes a rooftop terrace and basement level gym and spa.

Rubenstein originally listed the property in early 2016 for $84.5 million after a many years of renovation. Don’t call it a flip, though. The property which has six levels, 14 bathrooms and six bedrooms may have been purchased in 2007 for $35 million, but for Rubenstein, buying and selling his personal properties is par for the course. “We like to move every now and then,” he told the Wall St. Journal. “We like projects.” The developer said that he was selling up partly because his youngest child was due to leave for college.

It’s doubtful, though, that the developer needed the cash to pay for school fees.