740 Park Avenue is normally thought of as a very desirable building. It is a Rosario Candela-designed Park Ave co-op, after all, which is why the unfortunate PriceChopping history of apartment #4/5C is so mysterious. The 6,700-square-foot duplex caught our eye almost two years ago, when it had already seen its ask go from $35 million to $26 million to $23 million, and that was before it had an additional $3,750,000 hacked off the price tag. This week, the four-year nightmare ended, as the apartment was purchased by Goldman Sachs partner Jonathan Sobel for $19,250,000, 55 percent of what it was listed for in August of 2008 (allegedly something bad happened with the economy around that time, which could have something to do with it?) Sobel was not only able to get an enormous Candela apartment at half-off, he was also fortunate enough to get past the notoriously picky co-op board of which the apartment's former owner, Randolph Speight, used to be president. Legend holds that the board rejected, among others, Barbra Streisand, Joan Crawford, and Barbara Walters. According to real estate author Michael Gross, however, that's not entirely accurate.
[Streisand's] experience at 740, in fact, illustrated an important subtlety about well-run (if, yes, picky) luxury cooperatives: Streisand never applied to buy a co-op at 740 and was never turned down. Her broker was discreetly told that an application would be in vain and she simply went elsewhere, an episode that was apparently not very painful, as she's told me she barely recalls it. But the story bears repeating. Why was Steisand ... waved off? Likely because she was a famous entertainer, as by the time she looked into the storied building, it had a number of Jewish residents. For more (including Speight's alleged anti-Semitism), read the full post on Gross' blog.