A Fifth Avenue Co-op Tops the List of Sales in May

The Four Percent


The priciest co-op sale so far this year occurred on the Upper East Side, as several more big closings took place throughout New York in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.

Many of the deals that closed in May were in contract before the coronavirus pandemic struck in New York, or came together quickly before the lockdown and avoided the disruptions in the real estate industry brought on by sheltering-in-place rules.

The full-floor apartment, at 4 East 66th Street (a.k.a. 845 Fifth Avenue) was bought by the financier and philanthropist J. Christopher Flowers and his wife, Anne W. Flowers, for $43 million, marking the city’s most expensive sale in the month of May. (The record price for a co-op was set in 2015, with the $77.5 million sale of a duplex at nearby 834 Fifth.)

At the ultra-pricey 220 Central Park South, two sponsor units were acquired by a single anonymous buyer for a total of $28.6 million, though both sales had been in contract long before the pandemic surfaced.

There were a few luxury townhouse purchases as well, including a newly constructed manse in the Lenox Hill neighborhood and an Upper West Side brownstone bought by the “Hamilton” choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler and his wife, Elly Blankenbuehler, a physician assistant.

Also last month, Alexandre de Betak, a fashion-show and events producer, sold his co-op loft in SoHo to Dick Costolo, the former chief executive of Twitter, and his wife, Lorin Costolo.

Credit…Andrea Mohin/The New York Times

The Flowerses’ co-op, on the eighth floor, was purchased from a trust set up for Ezra K. Zilkha, an Iraqi-born financier and investor who died last fall. It was an off-market deal, so few details about the residence are available. Most of the units in the limestone building on Fifth Avenue and 66th Street are around 7,500 square feet and occupy full floors. They have high ceilings, grand galleries and direct Central Park views.

Mr. Flowers, a former partner at Goldman Sachs who runs his own private equity firm, has been an active player in Manhattan’s high-end market. In 2006, he paid $53 million for the Harkness mansion on East 75th Street, which at the time was a residential townhouse record. (He ended up selling the building five years later to the art dealer Larry Gagosian for $36.5 million.)

The sprawling building that sold last month is five stories high and 32 feet wide, and covers more than 13,000 square feet. It contains eight bedrooms, 10 full baths and three half-baths, according to the listing with Douglas Elliman Real Estate. The master suite encompasses the third floor and has three bathrooms, two large dressing rooms and a sitting room.

The home offers contemporary finishes and myriad amenities including a screening room, a wet bar and wine cellar in the basement, and a rear garden off the massive formal dining room. The top level has a 36-foot indoor lap pool, glass-enclosed gym, sauna and a landscaped limestone terrace.

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And to get to all of them: an elevator and a grand spiral staircase.

The Blankenbuehlers bought a five-story, 5,141-square-foot brownstone at 121 West 85th Street near Columbus Avenue that is also is packed with amenities.

The basement contains a wine cellar, recreation room and gym, and there is plenty of outdoor space, including private terraces on the third and fourth floors, a multilevel deck off the parlor floor and a rear garden with paver stones and mature trees.

The closing price for the fully renovated house, in contract since late February, was $7.1 million, slightly above its nearly $7 million asking price. The seller was listed as Martin Guillermo Marron, the head of investment and private banking in Latin America for J.P. Morgan.

Mr. Blankenbuehler, a choreographer and stage director, has won three Tony Awards for his work on the Broadway shows “In the Heights,” “Bandstand” and “Hamilton.”


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