Did Ex-Goldman Partner Jonathan Sobel Just Join the Other Titans at Gilded 740 Park?

Can you imagine if Charles Gwathmey had been able to get his hands on this room?

Earlier this year, former Goldman Sachs partner Jonathan Sobel reluctantly agreed to sell his stunning Charles Gwathmey penthouse at the Verona for $21 million. And no wonder! It appears that Mr. Sobel and his wife Marcia Dunn had their eye on a 15-room duplex at that most glorious of all the glorious Upper East Side buildings: 740 Park Avenue.

Mr.  Sobel and Ms. Dunn have filed documents with the city indicating that they are purchasing the shares for the sprawling four-bedroom C-line spread that spans the fourth and fifth floors. The apartment was most recently listed for $23 million with Sotheby’s brokers Meredyth Smith and Serena Boardman.

It’s a duplex!

Slideshow: Inside the Sobel spread >>

Well, they did need someplace to live after Sotheby’s broker Roger Erikson slipped a note under their Verona door persuading them to sell.

“Gwathmey was a genius, and if you had asked me six months ago if I was going to sell my apartment, I would have said, ‘No way,’ ” Mr. Sobel told The New York Times about his decision to sell his beloved penthouse. “The renovations he did were breathtaking.”

Trading in a masterpiece of modern architecture for the decidedly old world flavor of 740 Park (their new living room is described in the listing as “baronial”) is certainly an interesting choice. Perhaps a financial heavyweight like Mr. Sobel wanted to be in like company, and he will no doubt fit right in at 740 Park.

Even if he does have the misfortune of being one of the 130 executives named in a mortgage crisis suit filed by the Federal Housing Finance Administration (Mr. Sobel headed the mortgage unit until he retired in 2006 to work as a private investor), we’re sure he and Howard Marks will soon be exchanging pleasantries about markets as they pass each other in the lobby. The now notorious Ezra Merkin is also a neighbor, and fallen man John Thain, as well as reigning titans Steve Schwarzman, David Koch and Charles Stevenson.

What’s more, even without the sale of his Gwathmey penthouse, Mr. Sobel has more than enough cash to burn, being among the 221 executives who became filthy rich when the firm went public in 1999. Neither Mr. Sobel nor any of the brokers could be reached for comment.

The four-bedroom apartment is being sold by the estate of Randolph and June Speight—the feared and ferociously respected late co-op board president and his wife, who owned an apartment that was unabashedly upper crust: marble entrance gallery, walnut paneling in the library, fireplaces topped by massive gilded mirrors. For those inclined to swoon over oil paintings and chandeliers and all the accoutrements of blue blooded old New York splendor, have a look, will you?

It’s been a busy summer for the Sobels. Not only did they sell their Verona penthouse, but they also purchased a historic museum building in Southhampton from the Parish Art Museum, to mild outcry—other well-to-do locals complained it was too cheap. This time, it is hard to say. These days, $23 million feels like not much, especially for (what was) such a notable building.

Shouldn’t Mr. Sobel be joining the rest of the Goldman gang in 15 Central Park West, or even showing them all up and buying into One57? Some buildings, 740 Park chief among them, will never lose their allure, no matter what gets built in this town.

kvelsey@observer.com Did Ex-Goldman Partner Jonathan Sobel Just Join the Other Titans at Gilded 740 Park?