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Palatial Upper East Side townhouse billed as a 'blank canvas' wants $32.5M

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The nearly 13,000-square-foot mansion was once owned by a baking scion

Photos courtesy Brown Harris Stevens

An enormous Upper East Side mansion from the early 20th century just hit the market, and as you might expect from that combination of words, the price is quite high: it’s going for $32.5 million. (It’s also being marketed as a “blank canvas,” i.e., something of a fixer-upper.)

To be fair, the home itself is pretty special. Located at 34 East 70th Street, it was once the palatial residence of James Warburg, an heir to the larger Warburg banking clan—the patriarch, Felix, was the owner of the opulent Upper East Side mansion that now houses the Jewish Museum.

This house is more modest than the one on 92nd Street—it was created by combining two distinct homes, and is “only” 12,439 square feet—but it’s still a grand old relic of its time. The combo job was carried out by William Lawrence Bottomley, whose other NYC works include the River House co-op and Turtle Bay Gardens.

But about that blank canvas thing: The house was, at one point, converted into 10 apartments, so whoever buys the place will have their work cut out for them to create the massive single-family mansion of their dreams. (But if someone’s got $33 million to spend on a townhouse anyway, renovation costs likely aren’t an issue.)

It’s listed with Brown Harris Stevens’s superbroker Paula del Nunzio, and though it had renters as recently as earlier this year, it’s due to be delivered vacant.