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$79.5M Upper East Side mansion breaks record for NYC's priciest townhouse sale

The Gilded Age mansion on East 64th Street has a long and troubled history

Move over, Harkness Mansion—there’s a new most expensive townhouse in, um, town. The mansion at 19 East 64th Street, previously owned by the Wildenstein family, went into contract last fall, but as of today, that deal has closed. It just hit public records, and the final sale price: a whopping $79.5 million, which beats the Harkness Mansion’s record-breaking $53 million sale from 2006.

The property has had a long and troubled history: the Wildenstein clan has owned the limestone townhouse for years, but began negotiations with Qatar to sell the house back in 2013. Though a deal—rumored to be anywhere from $90 to $125 million—was announced in 2014, it ultimately fell through, and the house was re-listed for $100 million in 2016.

But wait—there’s more! The townhouse was later at the center of a lawsuit, with Len Blavatnik, owner of NYC’s priciest co-op, suing David Wildenstein over a handshake deal for the house that went south. That lawsuit was tossed out by a judge last month, seemingly paving the way for the sale of the house to move forward.

There is a caveat: the townhouse is, technically, a commercial property—but still, $79.5 million is $79.5 million, and it remains to be seen how it will be used by the new owner. (There was speculation that Qatar wanted to use it as an embassy, but alas.) Unsurprisingly, that person is hidden behind an LLC, called 19-21 East 64th Holding LLC, but whoever is behind it is presumably very, very wealthy. (The Real Deal speculates that the buyer is linked to Chinese conglomerate HNA.)

The townhouse itself was built in 1932 and designed by Horace Trumbauer in the Beaux Arts style, with a limestone facade, wood paneling from a Parisian townhouse, and other opulent touches. At 25,000 square feet, it could remain a commercial property—Blavatnik allegedly wanted to convert it into offices—or it could become the megamansion of some billionaire’s dreams. Time will tell which option will win out.