The troubled townhouse at 19 East 64th Street remains without a buyer as billionaire and Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik moves to sue art world honcho David Wildenstein over a $79 million handshake deal for the property gone south.
Blavatnik, owner of the city’s priciest co-op, a $77.5 million spread at 834 Fifth Avenue, has sued art family scion Wildenstein alleging that the youngster screwed him out of a $79 million arrangement for the property in order to harness a larger offer out of a competing buyer, the Post reports.
The property, designated commercial real estate, was being eyed by Blavatnik as office space. Per the billionaire’s suit, he claims he offered Wildenstein $79.9 million of the property’s $100 million asking price to which Wildenstein agreed. But that deal started to fall apart as Wildenstein pushed back the closing date, and later allegedly told Blavatnik that he was unauthorized to sell the property without “board approval.”
Blavatnik says the jerk-around made him lose out on two business opportunities, worth a combined $670 million. Blavatnik’s suit seeks a forced sale or $10 million in reparations.
The property has been on and off the market at an ask between $90 and $100 million over the past few years. In 2014, a deal to sell the property to the nation of Qatar for $90 million dissolved. The property most recently hit the market for $100 million in August with a listing touting the townhouse’s “soaring 20-foot ceilings on the ground, second and third floors,” its “sweeping staircase,” and “paneled elevator.” The townhouse was designed by Gilded Age architect Horace Trumbauer.
UPDATE 1/3/17: Wildenstein has fired back at Blavatnik, saying that the music exec “should have known better” than to consider a verbal pact binding, according to court papers seen by the Post. Now Wildenstein’s lawyers are arguing that the $10 million suit should be dismissed because a phone call shouldn’t be considered a binding contract. The lawyers are also rightly confounded by Blavatnik’s claim that he was so possessed to buy the property, that he missed out on two deals totaling $670 million. (The Post says $680 million, but what’s $10 million to a billionaire, anyway?)
- Billionaire sues over broken handshake deal on townhouse [NYP]
- Art heir hits back in billionaire row over townhouse sale [NYP]
- Troubled Upper East Side mansion with art-world pedigree returns for $100M [Curbed]
- Qatar Decides It Doesn't Want That $90M UES Townhouse [Curbed]
- Qatar To Buy UES House In What May Be NY's Priciest Sale Ever [Curbed]