Bronfman’s Back! Edgar Jr.’s Unexpected Return from London

Seagram heir and Warner Music maestro Edgar Bronfman Jr. spent a good part of his life growing up around the globe. He decided two years ago that his kids should have the same experience and relocated them to London, though always with the plan to return when the eldest reached high-school age.

When Mr. Bronfman sold Jim Henson’s old mansion at 117-119 East 69th Street to fellow Londoner James Murdoch for $23 million in March, it appeared the Bronfman brood might be settling down by the Thames for good. At least that was the assumption of the city’s top brokers–who watch the frequent wheelings and dealings of Mr. Bronfman closely.

Au contraire, as they say on the Continent.

It was precisely because Mr. Bronfman was returning to New York that he decided to sell the 40-foot-wide redbrick manse. The place had been gutted, but it still requires a top-to-bottom renovation. Mr. Bronfman has torn through companies before, but this would be too much of a headache. “It was really just a much easier move, not to have to deal with a huge renovation,” a person familiar with the deal said.

The Bronfmans have instead opted for the long-suffering five-bedroom triplex penthouse at 812 Park Avenue, The Observer has learned, a 6,500-square-foot co-op that, while outdated, is at least livable. First listed for $36.5 million in November 2007, it has since seen three large price cuts, arriving at $15.9 million in September. The exact price Mr. Bronfman paid is not yet known.

The mogul has now bought and sold nearly $150 million in New York real estate over the past decade, calling six properties home.

The sellers have done quite the opposite. Gordon Pattee, a financier who serves as treasurer for the New York City Ballet, and his wife, Dailey Jones Pattee, a psychotherapist, spent the past 25 years in the 15-room spread atop this coveted J.E.R. Carpenter masterpiece. Some years ago they oversaw a renovation by noted architect Mario Botta that maintains many of Carpenter’s stunning prewar details, including intricate fireplaces (six of them!) and the swooping three-story stair.

“It is seldom that an apartment of this caliber becomes available,” Brown Harris StevensCaroline Guthrie wrote in her listing. In addition to the five bedrooms and seven bathrooms, there is a “magical top floor surrounded by a beautifully planted terrace.” There is also a stinging 2 percent flip tax to be paid by the buyer, on top of $12,251 in monthly maintenance–terms almost as onerous as the sell-off of Vivendi Universal.

Ms. Guthrie declined to comment, and co-broker Bunny Goodwin of Sotheby’s did not return calls seeking comment. Mr. Bronfman’s spokesman also declined to comment.

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Bronfman’s Back! Edgar Jr.’s Unexpected Return from London