Bruce Barnes Wants $29.6 M. for Glorious Dakota Home, But Are the Equally Famous Headaches Worth It?

One of the many Central Park views
The living room is 29-feet long. Twenty-nine feet!
Mahogany woodwork is one of the many old-fashioned details
One of the 7 fireplaces you could warm up next to
Just what we like: dark wood and abundant natural light
Time for the dinner you just cooked in your chef's kitchen
It has two dishwashers!
The layout is also lovely
It's too perfect. Were those clouds photoshopped in?
The Dakota: gables, fame and all

In a city of luxurious apartments and coveted addresses, there are a few that rise above the rest. A fabulous apartment with a 100-foot stretch of windows facing Central Park, seven working fireplaces and two balconies might do the trick. Especially if it happens to be in the famed and fabled Dakota.

The 3-bedroom, 3-bath apartment, listed for $29.6 million with Brown Harris Stevens broker John Burger, features not only shuttered windows, hard-carved mahogany woodwork and pocket doors (swoon), but neighbors like Lauren Bacall, Yoko Ono and Roberta Flack (double swoon), who gather in the courtyard for an annual fall potluck, to which Ms. Ono is known to bring a platter of sushi (we’ve fainted).

Of course, all has not been well between the historic building’s neighbors of late. The racial discrimination suit filed against the co-op by resident Alphonse Fletcher Jr., a well-known black investor and former president of the building’s board, is still wending its way through the courts. (Mr. Fletcher, who was blocked from buying an adjacent apartment in the building for his mother, alleged that the board had discriminated against him and other minorities).

And in February of last year, Dutch courts moved to block the sale of a Dutch investor Jan-Dirk Paarlberg’s first-floor apartment after he was convicted of fraud in connection with a $23.5 million extortion scheme.

The New York Post speculates that Mr. Fletcher’s lawsuit may have something to do with the building’s most recent vacancy. The Post reports that the seller of the beautiful six-floor space is none other than Bruce Barnes, president of the co-op board.

The Post quotes an email that Mr. Barnes allegedly sent out yesterday, giving his desire to downsize and spend more time out of the city as the reason for selling the apartment.

“As of this afternoon, I have listed my Dakota apartment for sale . . . For seventeen years, I have loved the Dakota as both a building and a community, but my apartment is very large for two people, and several of the rooms are rarely used.”

And while it’s hard to imagine anyone wanting to move out of this apartment, downsizing seems like the most reasonable explanation. After all, a lawsuit would be a good reason to cede a seat on the board, but it’s hardly to leave the building.

Mr. Burger told the Observer that the seller was a “philanthropist and private investor” who had lived in the apartment for the past 17 years, but would not reveal his identity. Public records list Mr. Barnes address in the building, technically 1 West 72nd Street.

Regardless of why he’s departing, the apartment is sure to attract many suitors (Mr. Burger told us his phone has been ringing off the hook since the listing went up).

Besides the park views and beautiful architecture, the buyer will be able to enjoy a 24-foot library adjacent to a 29-foot living room (both facing the park) as well as a bathroom with honed onyx and an open shower with five vintage shower heads.

“It’s one of the biggest apartments in the building and we haven’t seen an apartment like this above the tree-line in a long time,” Mr. Burger said. (The last big, park-facing apartment on the market was Leonard Bernstein’s old place, purchased by Milstein heir Philip Milstein and wife Cheryl for $20.5 million in 2008—a record-breaking  price for the building. But even that one didn’t clear the tree-line, Mr. Bruger noted).

Of course, when it comes to the Dakota, apartments do not always go to the highest bidder. Aspiring residents must make it past the building’s board, which has famously rejected the likes of Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith.

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