One might have assumed that New York Nets co-owner Bruce Ratner does not adore the pettite charm of brownstones. After all, his planned 8 million-square-foot, 22-acre Atlantic Yards, which would be one of the biggest projects ever built by a single developer in New York, has been called "a nightmare for Brooklyn" because of its massive bouquet of Frank Gehry-designed skyscrapers.
But, according to city records, Mr. Ratner just bought himself a nice little 20-foot-wide, 6,408-square-foot, five-floor brownstone, exactly the kind that Brooklynites like so much. But it’s on the Upper East Side.
On Valentine’s Day, Mr. Ratner paid $6,965,000 for 128 East 62nd Street. More than half of the townhouse was owned by the Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass, founded by the late Dr. Egon Neustadt–who used to live in the house with some of his 300,000-piece Tiffany collection, according to Milton Hassol, the musuem’s president.
But the building was split into co-op apartments, some that weren’t owned by Neustadt, which meant the museum couldn’t sell the townhouse until it owned two-thirds of the house. Once that happened, according to Mr. Hassol, the other two owners in the building (listed as Charles Nemetz and Diane Harris) were forced to sell as well. “They had to by law, but people can hold you up and make it difficult–but they cooperated.”
According to records, the museum got over $5 million, while Ms. Harris got $571,130 and Mr. Nemetz $1,309,420. Incidentally, the deal was finished less than three weeks after the U.S. Court of Appeals supported Mr. Ratner’s right to use eminent domain in acquiring property that will be part of Atlantic Yards. “Today’s decision is more than another victory for Atlantic Yards," he said then. “It is a victory for public good.”
Mr. Hassol said he thought the buyer would be turning the house into a single-family brownstone for himself, but Mr. Ratner did not return The Observer’s email asking about his plans.