You don’t see too many ground-up townhouses up for grabs on the Upper East Side, but the parcel of land at 34 East 62nd Street is no ordinary tear-down. The lot was the site of a huge gas explosion in 2006, which leveled the four-story building that once stood there. It was at the center of a divorce battle between Dr. Nicholas Bartha and his wife; Dr. Bartha would eventually become the main suspect in the blast, though he died in its aftermath.
Now, the developer who purchased the lot in 2015 is hoping to leave its gruesome past behind: a new listing for a five-story, 9,200-square-foot home on the site just hit the market, with a $32.5 million price tag. Sotheby’s has the listing.
“We wanted to build something that would draw a bright line under the events of that day and mark the next chapter in the history of that block,” Ted Muftic of Woodbine & Co. told the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the sale.
In order to do that, the developer first had to get approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission, since the lot is within the Upper East Side Historic District. The agency did so in 2016, giving the green light to a “Beaux Arts inspired” townhouse that will have five bedrooms (including a full-floor master suite), a roof deck, a huge chef’s kitchen, a rear terrace, a “handsome” staircase, and more. Renderings provided by Woodbine offer a peek at what all of that might look like, along with the facade, due to be kitted out in French limestone.
Now that the listing is public, the question becomes: will it find a buyer? Older Upper East Side mansions have sold for more money, but without the wait time for the property to be built. Only time will tell.