Robert A.M. Stern’s 15 Central Park West may be the hottest building in New York, but the good fortune hasn’t crept up the western edge of the park, which still plays second fiddle to the Fifth and Park when it comes to closing prices. There are some standouts, though, and the townhouse at 247 Central Park West is most definitely among them. Whether it stands out tall enough to get its $37 million ask is another question entirely.
Built in 1887, it’s the first townhouse you encounter on Central Park West—a rare holdout to withstand two waves of rapacious early 20th century redevelopment. The first, around the turn of the century and the construction of the city’s first subway on Broadway, saw developers raze townhouses and tenements all around No. 247 and its two neighbors on the block to erect apartment houses of a dozen or so floors. During the second boom, around the time the IND Eighth Avenue Line was being built underneath Central Park West and right before the Great Depression, the pressure mounted and builders strove for even loftier heights, with buildings as tall as the 30-story El Dorado eating away at what remained of the low-slung real estate.
But through a combination of luck and placement higher up along the avenue (it sits between West 84th and 85th Strets), 247 CPW made it to the late 20th century, meeting the warm embrace of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which ensured that no would-be Dakotas or San Remos will ever again threaten this six-story townhouse.
And for its fortitude, 247 Central Park West has earned another accolade: it was the most expensive townhouse on the Upper West Side when it sold back in 2009. Abigail Disney, filmmaker, philanthropist—and yes, Disney heiress—sold the house to Coach exec Keith Monda for $15.5 million in 2006, who went on to set the West Side townhouse record (or maybe the citywide record if you don’t include extra-wide Upper East Side mansions) three years later with his $22.4 million sale to a mysterious LLC named Top Estate (NY) Corp.
After trying to rent it out for a staggering $110,000 per month back in early 2012, the owners—chatter among the brokers is that they’re Russian—wants to set the record again.
With a pool in the basement, an in-home theater and a massive skylight, it’s no doubt an impressive house, but is it worth $37 million? We’ve seen a lot of ambitious asks since the $88 million condo at 15 Central Park West, but no new records. It’s likely that Sotheby’s Vannessa Kaufman can set a new Upper West Side record, given the limited pool of comparable houses (basically limited to 247′s next-door neighbors) and its track record in a less ebullient time, but a more than 60 percent return over three years may be a check that this townhouse can’t cash.