Real Estate Scion Buys Gallerist Nathan Bernstein’s 998 Fifth Duplex

  • Jordan Pantzer has handled more than $8 billion in real estate transactions since joining his family’s Jersey-based development firm, Pantzer Properties. So while $16 million might seem like a lot to pay for a home, to Mr. Pantzer, it’s peanuts.

    That is what he and wife Marcie paid for a 14-room duplex at stately limestone beauty 998 Fifth Avenue, according to city records. Proving his real estate chops, Mr. Pantzer got a deal on the place, which came on the market way back in September 2007 for $25 million. The price finally came down in April of last year to $19 million, though that was still too much.

    Listing photos for the third-and-forth-floor home show a sumptuous spread with paintings hanging from every wall—not surprising given this was the former home of gallerist Nathan Bernstein and documentary filmmaker Katharina Otto. His name was not listed on the deed, which was processed by a law firm in Chicago.

    The couple bought the home in 2000, The Observer reported at the time, for the same price they just sold it for—rare for such a pedigreed building (it was designed by McKim, Meade and White, of Penn Station fame) though other units have also languished of late. An 18-room spread on the fifth floor, belong to former Morgan Stanley vice-chair Bruce D. Fiedorek, quietly came on the market in 2009 (an inauspicious time) for $45 million, and now wants $34 million. The fifth and sixth floor duplex directly above the Pantzer’s new home came on the market a year later for $23 million and went through three price cuts to $20 million last July. It was bought in 2006 by Constance Millstein.

    Part of the problem could be what we called “the slowest co-op board in Manhattan” back in 2000, when another set of buyers actually walked away, paving the way for the Bernstein-Ottos to buy. Essentially every tenant in the building has to be present to vote on a new neighbor.

    The Pantzer’s new place was built for the Guggenheims, according to a listing from Brown Harris Stephens Kathy Sloane, who had the co-exclusive with Corcoran’s Sharon Baum. “While not the first apartment house on Upper Fifth Avenue, 998 was the first true luxury building and much the grandest when it was built,” Ms. Baum coos in her listing. “Constructed as a series of mansions stacked on each other, the 12 story building’s elegance and efficiency made apartment living highly desirable.”

    Among the remarkable features is a marble staircase connecting the two floors. Ms. Pantzer should have no problem decorating the home, as she used to work at Town & Country magazine. The couple used to live in an eight-room home at 565 Park Avenue, according to city records, which they bought for $2.7 million in 2005. Quite the upgrade.

     mchaban [at] observer.com | @MC_NYC

  • A detail from The Big Hawthorn, 2008, by David Hockney. Photograph: Richard Schmidt

  • Red is the color of passion.

  • It also goes well with red meat.

  • There is art everywhere. And check out those stairs.

  • The kitchen is not a hundred years old.

  • Plenty of room for the kids.

  • A humble bedroom.

  • A grand gallery, among many fine features.

  • Bedrooms galore.

  • A lot of limestone.

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