An astonishing architectural marvel, replete with lavish intricacies sprawled across its 20,000 square feet, has just emerged on the Upper East Side market—boasting a staggering price tag of $80,000,000. Indeed, that figure is accurate: a jaw-dropping $80 million.
The Benjamin N. Duke House, nestled at 1009 Fifth Avenue and overlooking the Metropolitan Museum of Art, has been described in its listing as "a once-in-a-lifetime chance to obtain a historical gem and make an audacious proclamation in one's collection." A resounding declaration, to say the least.
Constructed circa 1899-1901, this stately residence exudes Italian Renaissance palazzo elegance, accentuated by striking Beaux Arts components—rendering it "among the final vestiges of opulent Fifth Avenue mansions facing Central Park that are privately held," according to the listing. Benjamin Duke, who accumulated substantial wealth as the American Tobacco Company's head, was among the early inhabitants of this architectural wonder.
Within its walls, the eight-bedroom, ten-bathroom domicile boasts lofty ceilings, gracefully arched windows, ornate molding, abundant sunlight, a magnificent staircase, and a duo of statues standing sentinel at the entrance. Additional features include a terrace and rooftop, offering breathtaking vistas of Central Park and the city's iconic skyline. Furthermore, this prestigious edifice has been designated a New York City Landmark. COMPASS real estate's Jorge Lopez, the listing agent, refrained from commenting.
Ephemeral New York, a blog, elucidates that the mansion was initially part of a quartet of similar structures, the other three of which have since succumbed to demolition. Interestingly, the homes were not universally adored; one critic lamented the presence of sheet metal cornices.
It's worth noting that this is not the property's maiden voyage on the market in recent years. In 2015, it was listed at the same staggering sum of $80 million, but ultimately failed to sell, as per the listing. Should it successfully be sold for the asking price this time around, it will secure the title of New York City's priciest townhouse ever sold, according to Global News.
Currently, the illustrious building is owned by Carlos Slim Helú, a telecommunications tycoon and Mexico's wealthiest billionaire, who acquired it in 2010 for a comparatively modest $44 million, as reported by Global News.
In a city notorious for its exorbitant housing prices, this mansion redefines the meaning of "most expensive" in the nation. To fathom the magnitude of an $80 million property's cost, the listing's real estate calculator provides a glimpse: with a 20% down payment, one would be saddled with a monthly bill of $420,395 for a 30-year mortgage, and taxes alone would amount to a hefty $23,000 per month.
COMPASS, the real estate company, posits that the building need not remain a residence. Given its prime location opposite the Met Museum, it could be repurposed as a gallery, boutique, museum, or even a foundation.