This morning, The Post reported that Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich was in contract to buy the late Howard Ronson’s melange of disconnected units at 828 Fifth Avenue, a.k.a. the Berwind Mansion, for $75 million. But they neglected to mention the most important detail in the saga of the segmented mansion—Mr. Abramovich has not only taken on Mr. Ronson’s old apartments, but is well on his way to realizing the real estate developer’s dream of restoring the colossal mansion to a single residence.
Sources tell The Observer that Mr. Abramovich has agreements to buy not only the Ronson family’s three units, but is working out deals with the co-op’s other residents as well. Meaning that he may finally be able to piece together the puzzle of units—a triplex, a penthouse and a duplex maisonette—amassed by Mr. Ronson and his family.
Amassing and connecting a melange of co-op apartments scattered about a coal baron’s Fifth Avenue mansion was an outlandish dream, even for Howard Ronson, the commercial real estate developer who kicked off the buying spree at 828 Fifth Avenue, also known as the Berwind mansion, before his death in 2007.
His heirs tried to carry on, but they could never quite replicate their patriarch’s acquisitive charms. With four of the nine apartments in hand, they stopped far short of Ronson’s goal of total building domination. Nor could they (or would they) sell the spread, at least not for $72 million. After putting the apartment on the market in May, in a bid to catch one of the many over-eager trophy hunters said to be sniffing around New York, the family pulled the property just a few months later.
The late Howard Ronson and his family had a dream—a dream of making the mansion at 828 Fifth Avenue whole again, as it was in the glorious days when coal magnates commissioned Fifth Avenue manses and robber barons ruled the land. But sometimes dreams die.
After a buying spree that netted four of the nine luxurious co-op units in the building, the family is giving up, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The family has decided to give one lucky buyer—a “person with vision”—the chance to purchase their failed dream for $72 million.