Rupert Murdoch should whip out the jelly molds and store up on extra sugar: His triplex penthouse at 834 Fifth Avenue is getting a new neighbor. According to a source, a two-bedroom co-op on 834 Fifth’s 13th floor, below Mr. Murdoch’s penthouse, is about to go on the market.
The place belongs to the estate of Araxia M. Buckhantz, whose cousin was playboy oil magnate Nubar Gulbenkian (pictured), the man Time once called a “Mephistophelean Santa,” and of whom a friend once said, “Nubar is so tough that every day he tires out three stockbrokers, three horses and three women.”
Last month, Ms. Buckhantz died at age 101; in April 2007, when this reporter called her apartment for an interview, a nurse explained, “She’s not able to conduct any formal business anymore.”
A source said the listing price will likely be around $30 million, though the tag could be lower or higher—especially because a broker hasn’t been picked yet. Three sources said the agents interviewed for the listing include Brown Harris Stevens’ Ann Jeffery (once a Harper’s Bazaar editor); Corcoran’s Leighton Candler (who is listing the Brooke Astor duplex); Serena Boardman at Sotheby’s (listing Aby Rosen’s $75 million limestone mansion); Stribling’s bow-tied Kirk Henckels (listing a floor of the old Nelson Rockefeller triplex at 810 Fifth Avenue); and Caroline Guthrie (reported to be taking co-ownership of Edward Lee Cave’s boutique brokerage, where she’s president).
“I absolutely am wild about this apartment,” one of those brokers said. “I’d do anything to handle it.” What did that agent do during the interview? “You can just go in there and give them your best. Assuming that you’re talking about people who are in the top 10 brokers of the Upper East Side, assuming you’re in that category, it boils down to making some sort of connection with the seller. You communicate right.”
Because the apartment is the bottom floor of what used to be a duplex, it has only two bedrooms but does have the original dining room, the major living room (“Oh my God, beautiful,” another of the interviewed brokers said) and the library. After renovations, it may very well be the city’s fanciest two-bedroom (or one-bedroom, depending on the new layout). “I am absolutely, totally, slap-silly in love with the apartment,” the first broker said. “I mean, it’s a movie set.”