Our Upper East Side spies have been closely monitoring the banging and clanging over at Madonna's mansion, but a Curbed tipster tells us it's 7-9 East 72nd Street that we really should be keeping an eye on. The two landmarked townhouses with storied histories were sold a few years back by the Lycée Français, following the posh private school's move to a new building. The Lycée wanted $51 million for the beauties, according to an old Observer story, but ended up getting only $26 million from the buyer, the emir of Qatar.
That's less than $600/sqft, and sounds like the steal of this young century, but that's before you calculate the costs of turning this roughly 45,000-square-foot complex into a cozy single-family home. But hey, what else is an oil-rich Middle East ruler going to do with his money, improve the lives of his people? Now, after six years of construction, 7-9 East 72nd Street is almost ready to take its place in the pantheon of Manhattan mansions.
Writes our expert on foreign relations:
It seems like the former Lycee Francais turned into a single private residence is nearing a September/October completion, meaning neighbors will soon find relief. This landmarked compound will have an indoor swimming pool, 2 floors of bedrooms, basement and top floor dedicated to staff and entire first floor one huge maze of foyers. Most likely he largest residence in all of NYC.Maybe that's where the genie will live? The pre-renovation photos in the gallery above come from engineers/contractors Thornton Tomasetti, whose website has some more details on this huge job. We're thinking about becoming cater-waiters just to get hired for a party so we can check out that 8,500-square-foot "roof area," which, based on our sixth-grade knowledge of geography, might actually be bigger than Qatar itself.
Emir is still the owner...ownership is under Drefin Investments run by the ambassador of Qatar. Entire compound is really designed for functions or parties and not as permanent residence. It is most likely Qatar's Princess Sheikha Mayassa Bint Hamad Al Thani, who is currently pursuing a master's degree at Columbia University, who will be residing here. Emir is expecting to move in for UN Assembly in September. Project ran into issues with a change in the architect of record last year, and it has been dragging on since 2004. Neighbors are furious on all fronts. In addition, rumor is that the Emir is looking into purchasing an adjacent building behind on E. 73rd Street to enlarge the residence even further.
· 7-9 East 72nd Street [Thornton Tomasetti]
· Lycee Français Builds A Palace Apres Taking Bath [NYO]
· 9 East 72nd Street; A School's Grand House That Could Be Private Again [NYT]