Thurstan Bannister’s father, his lordship Roger Bannister, was—rather famously—the first man ever to run a mile in under four minutes. It took the younger Mr. Bannister, who works in business development at the financial firm Atrevida Partners, slightly longer to sell his 2,942 square-foot co-op at 151 Central Park West—closer to the 46 days his father held on to the title of fastest miler—but the unit nonetheless moved with haste. Arthur Koenig entered contract for the asking price of $12.5 million, according to city records, when the property had spent a mere two months on the market.
Named for a 12th century English castle, and designed by Townsend, Steinle and Haskell in the French Second Empire-style, the Kenilworth was built in 1908 and contains a maximum of three apartments on each of its twelve floors. In addition to the descendants of athletic and actual aristocracy, the building has housed the likes of Dick Cavett, John Lithgow, and Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones. It also bears the slightly-spooky distinction of having been the home of high-end real estate broker and one-time Ramones manager Linda Stein, who was murdered by her assistant in 2007.
A philanthropist and former chairman of a Russian steel mill, Mr. Koenig did well to pounce quickly. The unit, which was listed with Barbara Fox and Stephanie Kanner at Fox Residential, offers near-peerless views of the park, plentiful space for entertaining and, according to the listing, “three master bedrooms.” This last combination seems to suggest a power struggle befitting the building’s feudal namesake. We are not entirely sure, however, whether it is, strictly speaking, possible. But given that the apartment originally had eight rooms and now contains only seven, it appears to have something of a history of architectural divide and conquer.
Units at the Kenilworth do not often go on the market, and Mr. Bannister’s former home appears from photographs to be done in highly tasteful, if somewhat fusty style—the two so often go hand in hand. (Mr. Bannister’s wife Elizabeth, a private wealth manager at Morgan Stanely, is a native of Connecticut—perhaps the closest stateside approximation of England—and goes by the incredibly British nickname of “Tizzy.”)
But Mr. Koenig, who graduated from Amherst at the height of counterculture agitation in 1966 and who subsequently spent two years with the Peace Corps in El Salvador, might well have just the sensibility necessary to bring a little edginess to the Kenilworth’s otherwise sober appointments. Then again, long days in Soviet-bloc steel mills can have a way of taming even ardent revolutionaries. And that, perhaps, is what the building’s co-op board is counting on.