Apartments at 990 Fifth Avenue don’t come up for sale very often. Indeed, the last time an apartment in the building changed hands was nearly nine years ago. That’s because the building, designed by Rosario Candela in 1927, contains just six units: five duplexes and a triplex penthouse. The penthouse, which was asking an unrealistic $52 million back in May 2019, has just been sold for the first time in at least 35 years for a much discounted but still sky-high price of $35 million, as first reported by The Real Deal.
Brown Harris Stevens’ John Burger and Nancy Candib represented the seller, Rafael Nasser, a scion of a textile manufacturing family who is himself a well-known real estate developer. The buyer, the usual anonymous trust, was represented by attorney Jill Allegretti.
Located atop the slender apartment house’s 12th, 13th, and 14th floors, the co-operative unit boasts 6,450 square feet, with five bedrooms, six and a half bathrooms, five fireplaces, and a library. With epic views of Central Park, the 1,200-square-foot brick terrace is the triplex’s ultimate showstopper.
The Nasser family bought the place in the early 1980s and had it decorated by then-fashionable designer Sister Parish. While nothing of Sister’s famously exuberant style is evident today, traces of the Candela’s original and signature touches remain, such as strapwork plaster ceilings, hand-carved moldings and fireplace surrounds, as well as carved double doors in the entry that showcases a mirror-polished black granite floor emblazoned with a stark white starburst.
990 Fifth Avenue is one of the most opulent of the buildings Candela designed, and one might easily argue the building’s penthouse should reflect that. And it does. Or it did anyhow. The penthouse was recently renovated for a more contemporary look, which frankly makes it look a little anonymous and a bit dull. It’s a prewar Fifth Avenue apartment and it should look like a sumptuous prewar Fifth Avenue apartment, not a new-build in a contemporary supertall! There are still, however, a number of extremely luxurious features, like the dining room that seats 14 people, a library that overlooks the park and that beautiful terrace. The renovation did add some needed mechanical upgrades like A/C, new windows and new appliances.
One thing is true: the new owner now has a blank canvas to work with. Or, rather, their decorator does — even though nothing they’ll do can make those spectacular views anything less than mesmerizing.