Last week, it came to light that Russian real estate whale Roman Abramovich is out to build one of, if not the largest private mansion in the city after it was divulged that the politician and businessman has been scooping up contiguous properties on East 75th Street. But, the Observer now dutifully stresses, the effort to raze the homes in order to build the New York City equivalent of Versailles won't be as easy as Abramovich shaking his money wand: the entire block he is focusing on falls within the Upper East Side Historic District, which is ferociously protected by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The three properties he acquired at 11, 13, and 15 East 75th Street are even specifically mentioned in the district's designation report, "An early row to survive is at Nos. 9-17, built by architect/developers William and Anthony Mowbray in 1887-89. Nos. 13 and 15 are largely intact, displaying the Queen Anne style of architecture." Is Abramovich's dream house in trouble? In a word, yes.
"It would be very unusual for the committee to permit a tear-down in a historic district," a spokesperson for the LPC told the Observer. Despite, it seems that Abramovich's plans revolve around razing the three homes and building a structure with lower density, a measure that should "please" the LPC, a source told the Post.
Earlier news reporting Abramovich's buying spree speculated that not only did the businessman have his vise on Nos. 11-15, but also a larger multi-tenant building at No. 9. Although the building just sold for $17.9 million (h/t NYDN), a source tells the Post that Abramovich most certainly isn't the buyer: "That is how he got burned last time" he tried to assemble a gigantic mansion in a city short for space and full of naysayers. For now, the moneyed man is limiting his vision to the three townhouses he already owns.
· So Much for the Super Mansion! Roman Abramovich Has a Landmarks Problem [NYO]
· Billionaire wants landmarks committee to approve mega-mansion plan [NYP]
· Roman Abramovich's Upper East Side dream house will comprise just three townhouses [NYDN]
· Russian Billionaire 'Secretly' Buys 3 Houses For Megamansion [Curbed]
· Billionaire's Absurd Megamansion Could Get Even Bigger [Curbed]