It has been a long, lonely wait for the Schiansi Mansion at 351 Riverside Drive. Though the 12,000-square-foot French Renaissance mansion is one of the few free-standing beauties in Manhattan to truly deserve the name—neither a trumped-up townhouse nor a sprawling maisonette—she spent seven long years on the market. But she has, at long last, secured a new buyer, who paid the slightly-over-ask sum of $14 million, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The mansion was most recently asking $13.5 million, much-reduced from the $31 million that she tried for when she first debuted. And while we’re almost inclined to think that the new owner—”a New York businessman who used to live abroad,” as Corcoran broker Tod Mercy told The Journal—was trying to shield the old beauty’s honor by offering a little over ask, Mr. Mercy said that the owners simply took the best of several all-cash offers that came in during the spring. (Corcoran’s hush-hush policy on the house—”We have no comment. Please do not quote me directly,” a spokesman told The Observer when the mansion went into contract—was apparently lifted for The Journal.)
In any event, we can see why the new owner was so taken. While a 12-bedroom, 11-bath marble mansion surrounded by private gardens on a corner lot facing the river is certainly not to everyone’s taste, the Schiansi mansion is a rare piece of work. The mansion was anointed as “unsurpassed in refinement in the West End” by none other than Robert A.M. Stern, after all, and has stained glass windows, an unusual tiled entrance hall and magnificently coffered ceilings. She also has a mystery—a 20-foot-long tunnel leading from the basement toward the Hudson.
The mansion will not, however, be an easy house to keep. Despite the fact that the late Columbia Hans Smit and wife Beverly lavished much love and attention on the property after buying it in 1979, the house is need a lot of work—a major restoration in fact.
As one broker told The Observer back when the house entered contract: “The woodwork was distorted, the ceilings were beautiful but crumbling, the exterior was in bad shape.”