When a handsome young couple listed a Little Italy townhouse for $18 million earlier this month, even though they spent $1.5 million to buy it in June 2004, it made a nice little statement about the grand voraciousness in the downtown real estate universe.
Uptown wants in, too.
Brian Brille, the global head of investment banking for Bank of America, and his wife, Leslie Simmons Brille, have listed their red-brick neo-Georgian mansion at 117-119 East 69th Street for $32 million. They bought the place for just $12.4 million in May 2005, and haven’t slept a night there.
“We spent two years making an amazing set of plans to build a very special family home,” Ms. Brille said. “It had been not a family home for quiet a while—we were going to bring it back to that glory.” (It had belonged to Muppets creator Jim Henson and his company, who paid $600,000 for the place in 1977. Oddly, the Hensons bought from the New York State Pharmaceutical Association, which had converted the house into offices in 1951.)
Now the Brilles have two young children. “I just personally don’t have the ability to manage the renovation,” their mother said. “I’m done. I don’t want to do any more plans.” As for Mr. Brille: “He decided he wants a doorman,” listing broker Carrie Chiang said Monday, when news of the listing was broken on The Observer’s Web site.
Ms. Brille conceded that the house is nothing but a nice clean shell, but she said the $32 million asking price—$19.6 million more than the couple paid—was justified. “Between the cleaning up, developing plans and looking where the market is, that led us to our decision.”
“It’s a raw space,” their broker said, “but it has the most gorgeous staircase. And you’re looking into the back of Woody Allen’s house.”
On the downside, the Department of Buildings has a stop-work order on the building, according to city records. That has “something to do with some permit; I’m not even sure what it is,” Ms. Brille said. “I can’t even explain what it is, but it will be cleared by the time we sell.”