For the last 28 years, Jeremiah Oshea has been the super at 18 East 68th Street, the 36-foot-wide, 18,500-square-foot, 103-year-old mansion that just hit the market asking $64 million.
He lives alone in a one-bedroom apartment in the basement; the limestone mansion, now divided into apartments, has 17-foot ceilings and original wood paneling.
When asked about the listing, Mr. Oshea, from Ireland’s County Kerry, said, “I think it is on the market, I’m not told whether it is or whether it isn’t, but I have a feeling it is.” I mentioned that the asking price is $64 million: “Oh my God,” he said.
Astoundingly, in only 2003, the house was sold for $7.6 million to developer Dominion Management, run by Milton Rinzler and his sons Bradley and James. (That’s less than one-eighth the current asking price.) Dominion bought from the estate of Hardy William Smith and Peter Glenville, big theater producers in London and New York in the ’60’s.
The house was sold again last year to an “investor group,” the Wall Street Journal reported today, for $37 million. But it’s not quite clear where that number comes from, especially because public records list a deed from May for only $20 million. Joseph Ingrassia, the managing member of a venture merchant lending bank called Capstone, and the manager of the limited liability corporation that bought the mansion, did not return messages.
Mr. Oshea said that the last tenants in the building, which used to be a rental, left last month. Now it’s being marketed as a single-family townhouse by Brown Harris Stevens managing director Paula Del Nunzio.
Will he have to leave? “If they’re happy with me," Mr. Oshea said, "I’m happy the way it is.” He’s been given free rent, plus a small monthly pay. “I don’t know—where would I go? But I guess I’d find something.”
The last tenant to leave was Aileen Mehle, better known as W gossip goddess Suzy Knickerbocker. “She used to go out to all these parties where there were movie stars, all these people,” Mr. Oshea said. “She was here a few years more than I was”—since 1971, according to phone records—“she just left a few weeks ago.”