$50 Million Match-Up

While the Duke Semans mansion on Fifth Avenue continues to generate a buzz (and Lenny Kravitz sightings), another $50 million mansion is inching into the spotlight.

Last May, The Observer reported that the 18,000-square-foot mansion at 25 East 78th Street was being quietly offered, albeit not formally. But just after Labor Day, the colossal mansion arrived on the Sotheby’s website.

“There are no secrets in New York,” said Meredyth Smith, who’s officially listing the imposing structure at the corner of 78th Street and Madison Avenue. “Basically, we’ve been receiving unsolicited inquiries that had increased in frequency.”

Because other high-end properties popped up in the past few months, the current owners decided to test the market’s waters. And they stand to make a very nice profit if the palatial building is sold close to asking.

Internet entrepreneur Bryan Zwan purchased the property for $31.6 million in 2000 from Limited Brands CEO Leslie Wexner, who had utilized it as a company headquarters.
However, the 100-foot-wide building actually has a rich history as residential property, too.

Built in 1885, the Stanford White-designed building served as the home of society mavens Stuyvesant and Mamie Fish, who threw numerous parties in their grand abode. The six-story mansion, complete with high ceilings and French doors.

So watch out, Rupert. Either building has the potential to become the highest priced residence in Manhattan, trumping the NewsCorp chief’s much-discussed $44 million purchase at 834 Fifth Avenue.

-Michael Calderone