For many owners of Manhattan trophy properties, the purchase of a dream apartment represents a kind of crowning achievement—a commemoration of stunning success personal or, often enough, familial. For Ronald G. Harrington, however, the $23.419 million it cost to acquire the western penthouse on the 15th floor of the Brodskys’ 135 East 79th Street, wasn’t particularly onerous, nor did it constitute the most boast-worthy of his expenditures. The Harringtons are known in their native Ohio for philanthropy rather than flash, having donated upwards of $72 million to Cleveland’s University Hospitals. His donation to the Brodsky organization is of a different nature, of course, so we doubt that they will be putting Mr. Harrington’s name on the building. But given that he is one of the few among us that can, in earnest, say: “Been there, done that,” we don’t think he’ll be too broken up about it.
Some months back, James Lansill, a senior managing director at the Corcoran Sunshine group told us that a good number of buyers at the Brodsky Organization’s luxe, ultra-popular 135 East 79th Street condo tower were highly sophisticated empty-nesters from the neighborhood looking to downsize. Not so Michael Gross, the 51-year-old CEO of Solar Capital—a financial firm specializing in debt and investments in leveraged companies—who has just paid $22.45 million for one of the building’s two 17th-floor penthouses, according to city records. (The lone available listing in the new building, which inspired a feeding frenzy last year, is currently asking $22.35 million; Mr. Gross’s pad, slightly larger than the yet-unspoken-for unit, was last listed for $23.5 million.)
What's Old Is New Again
No one loves limestone like the Upper East Side. Other neighborhoods may have affinities, crushes, infatuations even, but none can compare to the east side’s adoration of the gray stone. Case in point: 135 East 79th Street, the Brodsky Organization’s nearly-sold-out limestone-and-brick condo tower where three of the six penthouses have gone into contract during the past month.
“Most of our buyers have been people who already live in the neighborhood,” James Lansill, a senior managing director at Corcoran Sunshine told The Observer. And unlike so many of those who are snapping up glass boxes in the sky along the Southern perimeter of the park, the riches who are buying at 135 East 79th are not so nouveau. A large number of soon-to-be residents are downsizing.
“There are a lot of emptynesters looking for very, very sophisticated residences,” Mr. Lansill explained.
Limestone and classicism have enjoyed something of a revival in new New York construction over the past few years, perhaps spurred by Robert A.M. Stern’s runaway success, 15 Central Park West. But where 15 CPW mixes classic features and materials with clean modernism—Stern’s post-modern influences are still visible in the building’s design, despite its Candela-like appearance—the Brodsky Organization’s 135 East 79th Street, with exteriors and interiors by designer-to-the-starts William Sofield, is all tradition.
It’s also attracting what passes for a very traditional clientele in today’s frothy, foreigner-fueled condo market—not only domestic buyers, but actual New Yorkers.
Not every building wants to be a glassy sky spire like One57, or feels the needs to race to the clouds like 432 Park. Why redefine luxury when it’s been done so well—arguably as well it can be done—already? That’s the question posed by the unabashedly old-fashioned 19-story residential tower at 135 East 79th Street.
The Brodsky Organization finally has interior renderings of the building that’s rising (it’s still an orange-sheathed construction site) on the site of the former Hunter College School of Social Work. They reveal a building that’s about as pre-war as a post-war place can be (if you don’t count 15 CPW). Or, as the building’s newly launched website puts it: “a masterful expression of rigorous craftsmanship not seen on the Upper East Side in almost a century.”
Upper East Side
A GORE GIRL AND HER HUSBAND VIE FOR $2.5 MILLION DUPLEX. Karenna Gore Schiff and her husband Andrew Schiff have signed a $2.5 million contract to purchase an East 66th Street duplex co-op, according to real estate sources. The young power couple, who sources said signed the deal in late January, Read More