Bootstrapping Electrician Shocks UES

Like many proud sons of Queens, Gary Segal went into the family business. Two decades ago, he took over the electrical outfit his grandfather founded and his parents ran, which had long specialized in working on the city’s schools. When that sector exploded as white flight in reverse sent families from the burbs to the boroughs, the company, Five Star Electric, began to expand rapidly.

Mr. Segal diversified from there, and now his firm is working on such high-profile projects as One World Trade Center and the renovation of Madison Square Garden–the sort of projects that would give a humble electrician from Queens the means to own a townhouse on the Upper East Side.

“The closing was so relaxed,” a broker told The Observer when Mr. Segal bought the four-story limestone townhouse at 162 East 64th Street nine years ago from an old high school buddy. He paid $3.79 million at the time, according to StreetEasy, and now he has sold it for $6.45 million, city records show.

“It’s an unusual situation, because it’s located 100 feet from the avenue, that means it’s zoned commercial,” Francis O’Shea, the listing agent from Leslie J. Garfield & Co., said. “It’s an unusual arrangement for the Upper East Side, where the bottom two floors are commercial and the top two are residential.” He added that that is how the seller had used the house, which came on the market for $7.75 million in July and was reduced by $500,000 in October, and the buyer will be doing the same.

The home and office now belongs to John Tonelli, who runs Advanced Global Investments, which does pretty much what its name says, “with holdings in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Latin America,” notes Forbes, adding, “Mr. Tonelli has advised the governments of Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay on a wide variety of matters.”

Mr. Tonelli did not win four Stanley Cups with the New York Islanders.

Perhaps, then, this will become an office or landing pad for Advance Global Investments’ clients. After all, he and wife Isabel just purchased another townhouse in October, paying $3.63 million for 201B East 86th Street, a 3,312-square-foot, five-bedroom brownstone.

By comparison, his latest acquisition is large, 5,000 square feet, and could be much larger, as zoning allows for at least a few thousand square feet to be tacked on. “It does need some work,” Mr. O’Shea admitted. Maybe Mr. Tonellie can hire Mr. Segal to do the wiring.

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