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Gramercy 'Work in Progress' Hits the Market for $22.5 Million

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It's not very often that a Gramercy mansion hits the market, let alone a new one. But that's precisely how the building at 119 East 17th Street is being billed, and intrigued mansion-hunters will have to pony up $22.5 million to make it home?but don't expect to move in anytime soon. As the listing says, "WORK IN PROGRESS. Newly renovated Gramercy Mansion. Asking Price is for Finished Site." The building, which dates back to the mid-19th century, has an interesting history. In 1995 it was bought by the Macagnone family, whose local Sal Anthony empire included the flagship Italian restaurant around the corner on Irving Place, which closed in 2006. They paid a wee bit less than $22.5 million.

The 17th Street building had been carved up as apartments over time, and the Times covered the Macagnones purchase and renovation plans in a 1995 Habitats column. The family had been living at post-war gem 2 Fifth Avenue, but they were looking to upgrade. Said Anthony Macagnone at the time, "We wanted a three-bedroom apartment and they're super, super, super expensive at 2 Fifth: $650,000 to $1.1 million." They paid $800,000 for 119 East 17th Street, and opened up a café on the ground floor. Today there is one 3BR apartment at 2 Fifth Avenue on the market, asking $2.625 million.

In January 2010 the Macagnones sold the building for $4.7 million to Paolo Zampolli, the occasional real estate broker who has his own interesting history, as his Wikipedia page can attest. (He also turns up in some fun lawsuits.) We left Zampolli a message to try to get details about the renovation, but he's too busy being surrounded by beautiful things to chat. A building permit filed in October makes it sound like the whole building might be demolished, in which case, this really would be a work in progress. But will it be worth $22.5 million? Hey, for a mansion these days, that's a downright steal!!
· Listing: 119 East 17th Street [Elliman]