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William Lescaze’s modernist Upper East Side townhouse returns for $19.5M

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The townhouse on East 74th Street was completed in 1935 by the modernist master

One of only a handful of townhouses designed by modernist master William Lescaze is back on the market, two years after its owners last tried to find a buyer. The property at 32 East 74th Street, known as the Raymond C. and Mildred Kramer house, was built in 1935 by the architect; it’s now asking $19.5 million, a very slight reduction from its 2017 asking price.

Courtesy of Warburg Realty

It’s been a long road for this house, whose minimalist exterior (composed of white stucco and glass bricks) sticks out amid the more staid Upper East Side homes on the same block. (It is similar to the other Lescaze-designed townhouse, located on East 48th Street, which hit the market last year.)

It was on and off the market for seven years before selling to an anonymous LLC in 2015, and the condition of its interiors almost certainly had something to do with that. In 2009, a broker who’d previously sold the place told the Observer that “people don’t realize how much work is involved when they buy it; and then they don’t want to do the construction and renovations that are really needed.”

But that didn’t seem to be an issue for the current owners, who transformed the home into three duplex rentals. The top level has a three-bedroom unit with a cantilevered rear balcony; the middle unit is another three-bedroom; and the bottom level has two bedrooms and a den, along with a back patio. Other additions include a “winter garden” in the basement with a garden above; a yoga room; and a library on the top floor that has two terraces.

The listing notes that the house could be converted back to a single-family home, which is how it was originally constructed. Because of its status as a New York City landmark, the exterior is largely unchanged; the signature glass bricks Lescaze is known for remain, even though the interior of the home looks nothing like it probably did in 1935. There are “many interior and exterior possibilities,” according to the brokerbabble, but it could also be kept as is.

Rowena Dasgupta and Bill Martin of Warburg Realty have the listing.