New York townhouse on offer as a 'blank canvas' for Dh73.5m

A property described as “one of New York’s finest town houses” has been placed on the market for US$20 million.

The building, 60 East 66th Street, is a town house in an exclusive part of the Upper East Side of Manhattan, between Madison and Park Avenues. The town house is next door to 57 East 66th, the former home and studio to one of the city’s most famous contemporary artists, Andy Warhol.

However, No 60 also has some impressive features. The house was built using neo-Renaissance features back in 1910. It has a 20 foot-wide frontage, is spread over six storeys and has 9,769 square feet of space, plus a cellar. There is also a large external deck area on the top floor.

The building has been owned and leased out by property and venture capital fund Thor Equities since Nov­ember 2014. Currently, the lower floors are let to Adam Baumgold Gallery – a contemporary art gallery specialising in 20th century pieces, including work created by Warhol in the neighbouring property.

The upper floors have been subdivided into 10 office units and are currently 80 per cent leased, earning annual revenue of $804,000.

However, all of the leases have cancellation clauses and it is being presented as a “blank canvas”, with the opportunity for the new owner to reconvert the 17 sizeable rooms into a stunning new home.

Certainly the size and scale of the property give the owner the prospect of owning something unique, but the downside is that after shelling out $20m you’re likely to need a few million dollars more to embark on a refit.

For those with the resources, the parlour floor could be converted into a drawing room that could be a central feature of any new home. The exterior deck on the sixth floor, meanwhile, shows off the large garden to the rear of the house.

Jed Garfield, the managing partner of the selling agent Leslie Garfield, says: “Not only is this an incredible piece of New York architecture, having been designated a site of historic interest, but it is also a fantastic blank canvas to convert into a home that could pay for itself.”

Q&A: Michael Fahy reveals more about this New York town house:

What’s so special about this property?

As Mr Garfield points out, this is “a rare opportunity to acquire a property just a short walk from Central Park that is in a neighbourhood with some of Manhattan’s finest homes”. It is in Lenox Hill, whose streets are lined with art galleries, mus­eums, schools and colleges. The Beekman Theatre is nearby, and the Rockefeller University is at the end of the road.

How has the Manhattan property market fared in recent years?

The fact that the US featured second in this week’s ranking of countries that produced the most skyscrapers in 2016 should give some clue. Developers only tend to start building expensive towers in buoyant markets, and by the time they finish things usually start to look a little shakier. And that’s how it currently stands. A new report by Douglas Elliman Real Estate points out, both the value and volume of new home sales are falling as inventory increases. Median sale prices for a Manhattan apartment dropped 8.7 per cent year-on-year to $1.05m.

How would Donald Trump’s presidency affect the value of a home like this?

Mr Trump is a real estate man and New York is very much his home. But when you have a “leader of the free world” who seems one Twitter rant away from sparking a full-on trade war between the world’s two biggest economies, asset valuation becomes a little tricker.

mfahy@thenational.ae

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