One of Manhattan real estate’s most famous divorcées has a mammoth new penthouse, though the sprawl happens to be less than one-third the size of her ex-husband’s record-setting mansion.
According to a deed filed late last month, Bella Sapir, the ex-wife of billionaire Tamir Sapir—and the mother of Alex Sapir, president of the eponymous family real estate organization—just closed on a $8,895,000 penthouse at the new Veneto on East 53rd Street.
The 4,511-square-foot sprawl (not counting 1,095 square feet of outdoor space) was originally considered two units on offering plans. There are two hefty terraces: One, 51.5 feet long, is off the gargantuan living room/dining area (an NBA basketball court is just 50 feet wide); the second, about 27-by-11, has doors leading to a TV room and to an L-shaped master bedroom.
On the downside, the Duke-Semans mansion on Fifth Avenue, which her ex-husband bought in 2006 for a then-record $40 million, has about 19,575 square feet. Mr. Sapir, worth $1.5 billion, is reportedly using it to house a collection of ivory. (The mogul left Soviet Georgia in 1973; drove a cab in New York before opening an electronics store; met some good Eastern European businessmen; made a fortune selling Soviet oil contracts; then bought up New York towers like the wildly beautiful Eleven Madison Avenue.)
Meanwhile, Ms. Sapir still owns a high-floor condo at the Park Imperial on West 56th Street, bought for $6 million in 2005. A few months after that, Ms. Sapir and her ex were named on deeds for a series of penthouse deals on East 49th Street, though it’s not clear to whom the penthouse belongs now.
In January 2001, the Daily News wrote that the couple, married for nearly three decades, split after Ms. Sapir sued for her share of the family’s real estate holdings: “Bella Sapir, 47, complained her husband spent large sums on gambling, cruising the high seas in his marble- and gold-encrusted yacht—and on a girlfriend.”
A judge issued a temporary order barring Mr. Sapir from spending over $100,000 at a single time without notifying his ex-wife. Later, he wasn’t punished for gambling in Atlantic City because he won $1.1 million, deposited in a joint account.
The Veneto deal was first reported on the blog Cityfile.