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Pools and Rooftop Hoops? Mysteries Abound at UES House

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The townhouse at 12 East 72nd Street is the subject of much Upper East Side gossip these days. At nearly 20,000 square feet, the limestone-fronted mansion has been shielded by scaffolding for quite awhile, leading to lots of juicy buzz about its possible owner and its luxurious future amenities. Among the best tall tales we've heard, we've picked six, as per the Observer.

1. The townhouse is being renovated for a Russian oligarch.

2. Actually, it's for the Qatari emir (aka prime minister, or something). Relatedly, the government of Qatar bought the property with plans to dig a tunnel beneath 72nd Street.

3. It will ultimately earn the superlative of the largest private residence in Manhattan. Total price tag: $100 million.

4. Post-construction amenities will include three swimming pools plus a basketball court on the roof.

5. Owners are planning to build to 10 stories instead of the Landmarks Preservation Commission-mandated six.

6. Workers are drilling 40 feet below the structure "for unknown, possibly nefarious purposes."

The real story? The name on the Department of Buildings filings is actually the owner: Steve Croman, a property mogul and notoriously bad landlord known for aggressively booting unsuspecting people out of rent-stabilized apartments. Quelling those pesky rumors, Croman himself told the Observer that the manse will be simple home for him, his wife Harriet, and their three boys. The Department of Buildings documents have the true (still insanely lavish) deets:

In truth, the 19,329-square-foot house doesn't have three pools. It will have two (one indoor, one outdoor) and a koi pond. There is a basketball court, but it's not on the roof. Nor is the building 10 stories high; it is six stories above ground (with a basement and sub-basement below), topped by a copper-clad penthouse addition with a skylight and two rooftop terraces shaded by an open pergola.Besides the pools and the penthouse addition, the architectural plans filed with the Department of Buildings show extensive wine storage, a dumbwaiter, six wet bars, nine full and seven half baths, a library, a 1,055-square-foot family room, and a master bedroom suite with two fireplaces, a study, five closets and a dressing room. For the record, workers are drilling 25 feet into the bedrock, not 40. In short, it is, in the words of Mr. Croman's next-door neighbor Jim Baumann?one of the few who was willing to give his name?"quite elaborate."

?Photo via PropertyShark
·Palace Intrigue On East 72nd: Two Pools, 16 Bathrooms and a Million Rumors [NY Observer]
·Steve Croman coverage [Curbed]