A handsome townhouse in Manhattan’s Chelsea set a neighborhood record back in 2021 when it was sold for $22.5 million to a trust managed by Guatamalan-born computer scientist and crowdsourcing pioneer Luis von Ahn, the inventor of reCAPTCHA and a co-founder of the digitized language education platform Duolingo. Now, looking to break its own record, the Greek Revival residence has returned to market at $25 million.
Previously owned by Sterling Equities, the former owner of the New York Mets, the 7,000-plus-square-foot red-brick home was painstakingly redone by Andre Tchelistcheff Architects and interior design firm Gachot Studios. The house measures 25 feet wide, wider than most Manhattan townhouses, and spans more than 7,000 square feet over five beautifully decorated floors. A huge skylight tops the winding staircase — there’s also an elevator — and there are four distinct private outdoor spaces. With five bedrooms and five bathrooms, plus three powder rooms, the record-setting and record-seeking home is repped by Nadine Adamson, Kelsey Hall, and Maeve Crispi at Brown Harris Stevens.
Built in 1836, the townhouse, on a charming tree-lined street with other historic homes, was rebuilt from the inside out in 2020. The historic façade was carefully conserved, while the interiors were modernized with all-new mechanical systems, including hydronic radiant floor heat, automated shades and designer lighting controls.
On the garden level, the kitchen features a mix of Imperial Danby marble and black granite counters, imported designer appliances, and custom hardware. The adjoining family room, with a gas fireplace, opens directly onto a landscaped garden with slate pavers.
The parlor level boasts ceilings over 11 feet high, floor-to-ceiling windows and chevron-patterned white oak floors. The living room features a wood-burning fireplace, while triple French doors open to a balcony connected to the garden by a spiral staircase. An electronic dumb waiter in the pantry next to the kitchen makes a convenient link to a service kitchen between the living and dining rooms on the parlor floor.
Three bedrooms, each with a private bath finished with marble floor tiles, are joined on the third floor by a windowless media/music room and a windowed office. The top floor is completely devoted to the primary bedroom suite, which offers a host of pampering features that include an entrance gallery (you mean your bedroom does not have its own foyer?), a mahogany morning bar complete with a sink and a fridge, and a marble bath with a soaking tub and a steam shower. The suite’s extensive closets include two walk-ins, plus a separate dressing room, while a small sitting room off the bedroom leads out onto a large terrace.
Down in the finished basement, there’s a screening room with a wet bar, a gym with a powder room, a laundry room and storage, while a rooftop deck offers New York City skyline views that include St. Peter’s Church and the glass towers of Hudson Yards.
With his myriad endeavors as a tech entrepreneur, von Ahn has a history of turning water into wine so it will be interesting to see if he’s able to parlay that pattern into another record-price sale.