A century-old Upper East Side town house — a landmark with an off-again-on-again relationship to the market since 2008, when it was offered for $32.75 million, finding no takers — was yet another beneficiary of the December dash to seal the deal on luxury properties before onerous tax implications kicked in. At $24.75 million it was the most expensive sale of the week, according to city records.
The five-story Beaux-Arts-style house at 15 East 80th Street, built in 1901 and distinguished by its capaciousness — it has a mansionlike 21-foot width and offers 8,800 square feet of interior living and entertainment space — underwent a painstaking renovation a decade ago. This preserved most of its period details and elaborate fireplaces while installing the necessary updates, embellishments and customizations that are prerequisite for Wall Street titans like Jeffrey Urwin, who with his wife, Ailsa, paid $6.6 million for the property in 2000.
Mr. Urwin rose to prominence at Bear Stearns and upon its dissolution and takeover by JPMorgan Chase resurfaced there in 2008 as the firm’s global head of investment banking; last year he added the title of chief executive of Asia Pacific to his portfolio, and the town house was returned to the market at a reduced asking price of $26 million.
The town house has five bedrooms and six and a half bathrooms, one of which is adjacent to the private gym and media lounge on the lower floor. It is entered through a 35-foot music/reception room; the 25-foot high-end kitchen has a full-size butler’s pantry and opens onto a 36-foot back garden. The master suite, with custom millwork and his and hers bathrooms and dressing areas, monopolizes the third floor. The four bedrooms with en-suite baths on the upper floors can be reached via stairs or elevator. Triple windows on the middle floors capture the light. Ceilings are 12 feet high on the principal floors and 11 feet high on the upper floors, and there is designated space on the second and fourth floors for a home office. The 640 square feet of outdoor space are divided among two terraces and the backyard.
Carrie Chiang of the Corcoran Group, the listing broker for the duration of the town house’s adventures on the market — introducing it for nearly $33 million in 2008, cutting the price to $26 million before removing it in 2011, and returning it last February with the $26 million price tag intact — declined to comment on the sale. The property was acquired by an anonymous buyer through a limited-liability company, Apple Upper East Holdings.
Mr. Urwin’s trophy town house was not the only neighborhood gem to find an eager and solvent buyer at year’s end. Another renovated five-story residence built in 1901, 14 East 94th Street, sold for $24 million. Emad Zikry, an investor, was the seller; the buyer was shielded by a limited-liability company, Bresac. The listing brokers were Bill Pfaff and Millard Dixon of Douglas Elliman Real Estate.
The town house was previously listed in 2010 for $17.25 million, but the most intriguing aspect of its history goes further back: the piano virtuoso Vladimir Horowitz lived, and composed, there for nearly half a century until his death in 1989.
Big Ticket includes closed sales from the previous week, ending Wednesday.