Is Marty Richards’ Decade-Long River House Real Estate Saga Reaching Its Conclusion?

l transfersmarty Is Marty Richards’ Decade Long River House Real Estate Saga Reaching Its Conclusion?A trust in the name of Chicago producer Marty Richards, who has been trying to sell his four-bedroom maisonette duplex at the River House since early 2000, has bought a full-floor apartment at the recently built 21 East 96th Street.

The price was $4,375,000.

Three brokers who have represented him did not return messages, so it’s unclear whether the apartment is intended as living quarters for Mr. Richards.

Still, if he moved to Carnegie Hill, it would end one of the city’s longest-running high-end real estate stories. Broker Nikki Field said two years ago that he had wanted to sell that place because he had “come to terms with the fact that it’s just too large.” But it was almost a decade ago that he decided to unload the maisonette and buy into the new Trump World Tower, even signing a $17.5 million contract to sell his place to the chief executive of the world’s biggest pork processor and hog producer.

That executive got married to a woman who didn’t approve of the River House’s far East Side location, which meant Mr. Richards was stuck with his new Trump condo and the old co-op.

His River House asking price was down to $11.5 million in 2003, though it would go up to $29 million, then down to $22.7 million in 2007. “Richards has had almost half a dozen close-to-asking-price offers with people who did not fit the profile for board approval,” Ms. Field said then. A year later, when the listing was back with Kathy Sloane, the broker for the deal with the pork executive, the Post reported that Mr. Richards had signed a contract to sell to the fashion-show mogul Elyse Kroll. That deal fell through and Ms. Sloane lost the listing. “I asked Marty to take me off because I’m going to be traveling with my husband,” she said then, “and Marty does really need to sell.”

But he still hasn’t found a buyer, even after a new broker cut the price in October to $18.9 million.

A three-bedroom apartment in a five-year-old condominium would be a slightly depressing replacement for the septuagenarian’s 14-room duplex co-op at River House. On the bright side, the new condo has a laundry area that is “actually your own mud room,” according to the listing with Warburg.

mabelson@observer.com