Red Carpet Real Estate
If you’re trying to guess who the mysterious buyer of a townhouse is these days, it seems like a good idea to start with Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani.
Yesterday, The Observer broke the news that the Ellen Biddle Shipman mansion at 21 Beekman Place, listed with Brown Harris Steven’s Paula Del Nunzio, had sold for $35 million—with all the furnishings included. And now The Post is claiming that the buyer is none other than the real estate mad sheikh himself, who just bought Aby Rosen’s $47 million townhouse at 22 East 71st Street.
New York is a city with a vast array of stunning townhouses, but for those who desire a manse on the East River, the options are limited and rarely listed. So The Observer was not particularly surprised to learn that a buyer has already snapped up the Ellen Biddle Shipman mansion at 21 Beekman Place. The mansion was one of the rare specimens to make an appearance on the market in recent months—with the notable exception of the Paul Rudolph house (although the two are about as different as two Beekman Place townhouses can be). And, some might argue, Gracie Mansion, which though not for sale, is being avidly pursued by Christine Quinn et al.
“There is not in all New York another piece of property like it, for it has the seclusion of Beekman Place, southern exposure, beauty of architecture combined with the extended view of the East River,” Shipman once wrote of the neighborhood that she helped mold into the fashionable district after buying 21 Beekman in 1919. The buyer, whose identity remains a mystery, apparently agreed with the late, trailblazing landscape architect, given that he or sale paid $35 million for the furnished home, according to sources familiar with the deal.
When it came to her Beekman Place townhouse, Ellen Biddle Shipman was not what you would call modest. “There is not in all New York another piece of property like it, for it has the seclusion of Beekman Place, southern exposure, beauty of architecture combined with the extended view of the East River,” the famed landscape architect boasted of the brownstone that she bought in 1919 and renovated so thoroughly that it had become a red brick townhouse seven years later.
Now, Ms. Shipman’s house at 21 Beekman Place is looking for a buyer, with the seller betting that someone will be similarly awed by the townhouse’s charms to spend $48.5 million. It’s a price that might have shocked Ms. Shipman, but one that won’t cause today’s trophy hunters to bat an eye. As for Ms. Shipman, she knew a trend when she saw one. In fact, she had a habit of setting them off, causing something of a craze for East River abodes when she declared Beekman Place the place to be.