Nick Sprayregen made his fortune, and his name, on the West Side of Manhattan, where his family’s Tuck-It-Away storage empire was based. It was a humble business until Columbia University decided it wanted to expand its campus into Mr. Sprayregen’s backyard, at which point he became one of the staunchest opponents of the university’s plan, and a media darling because of it.
Still, Mr. Sprayregen has long called the Upper East Side home, where he has just as great a propensity for turning a strong real estate deal. Three years ago, Mr. Sprayregen bought the Newhouse’s duplex on East 76th Street for 40 percent off. Now, the self-storage kingpin has sold his home around the corner for twice what he paid a decade ago.
Mr. Sprayregen and his ex-wife Karen have just sold their 14th-floor condo at The Empire Condominium for $7.65 million, according to city records. The five-bedroom, 3.5-bath home at 188 East 78th Street was combined from two smaller units when the building went up in 2001. At the time, the Mr. Sprayregen paid $3.26 million for the place, according to records.
“We sold because for this size and type of apartment building, this was a very good time,” Mr. Sprayregen told The Observer. “There’s virtually nothing comparable to it on the Upper East Side at this time, and we’re aware of a couple new condos going up in the area, so we thought the timing was just right.”
Mr. Sprayragen designed the apartment. “I know a thing or two about real estate,” he joked. “We put it together preconstruction. I put it together myself. It really turned out to be a very nice home.”
The 3,722-square foot spread wraps around all four sides of the Empire, with full eastern and southern exposures. There are balconies on both the north and south sides and two bay windows, one off the bedroom and one between the living and dining rooms, which cover a full 600 feet. “Move right in to this spacious, triple mint condition home,” Corcoran’s Barbara Hochhauser writes in her listing, making special note of the high-end finishes: “A custom designed in-wall sound system, Poggenpohl kitchen cabinets, slate kitchen floor.”
The purchase was made anonymously through an LLC, one so secret not even Mr. Sprayregen knows the buyer. “The buyer was unknown to us the entire time,” he said. “We never met the buyers, on purpose on their part. Everything was handled by intermediaries. I really don’t know anything about the buyers.”