When his heirs and estate executors put billionaire booze baron Edgar Bronfman Sr.’s sprawling penthouse in New York City on the open market in early March with a publicity ensuring $65 million asking price, every property gossip on the planet — including this one — did exactly as was expected and went bat-shit crazy.
In case any of the children somehow missed all that brouhaha, Mister Bronfman Sr.’s terrace-ringed penthouse, nestled discreetly atop the super-spiffy, patrician-stuffed and limestone-faced cooperative apartment house at 960 Fifth Avenue where it enjoys unobstructed views over a large part of Central Park, spans about 6,000 square feet with five bedrooms and five full and two half bathrooms. The floor plan shows an extensive, duplexed staff wing tucked back behind the kitchen complex that provides four prison cell-sized bedrooms that share a pair of (windowed) hall bathrooms. Maintenance charges, as per digital marketing materials, ring in at a hefty $19,092.
A penthouse of this proportion in this prime New York City location atop a building of this caliber is rare and much coveted by the sorts of people who can afford to live (or at least buy) an apartment of this magnitude so, lo and behold and despite the astronomical price, a bidding war drove the final sale price to $70 million. Your Mama does not even need to consult our handy-dandy bejeweled abacus to see that’s a full five million clams more than the already elephantine asking price.
Not long after Mister Bronfman Sr.’s penthouse was put in to contract, rumors and reports began to circulate that one of the interested parties was Fort Worth, Texas-based Walmart matriarch Alice Walton, a deep-pocketed art collector with an estimated net worth of around $34.9 billion who, along with an avalanche of cash, willed in to existence Crystal Bridges, a world class (if unfortunately named) museum in the exceedingly unlikely and not particularly cosmopolitan community of Bentonville, Arkansas. (Bentonville is the Walmart and, at least in theory, the prodigiously wealthy Walton family’s home base.) She may have been one of the bidders but, as first reported by the Daily News and evidenced in property records, the $70 million buyer of the Bronfman penthouse was not Miz Walton but Nassef Sawiris, a construction industry multi-billionaire often described in media reports as Egypt’s richest businessman with an estimated net worth of about $7 billion.
Having (allegedly) lost out on the Bronfman penthouse to Mister Sawiris, Miz Walton wasted no time in the selection and purchase of another, super-luxe if far less expensive condo over on perennially posh Park Avenue. As was first reported by the lady property gossip at The New York Post, in mid-May (2014) Miz Walton forked over $25 million for a nearly 6,300 square foot, modern-minded Park Avenue duplex last listed for $29.5 million and sold by the estate of architect Andrew Gordon, the late longtime man-friend and primary heir to financier Christopher H. Browne’s quarter billion dollar-ish fortune. (The children may recall Misters Browne and Gordons’ fully landscaped 16-acre oceanfront estate in East Hampton was sold in an off-market deal in early May for a real estate record-busting $147 million to hedge fund fat cat Barry Rosenstein.)
Your Mama discussed the 6,300 square foot Browne-Gordon/Walton duplex on Park Avenue only about a month ago so we’ll spare the children a second lengthy recap. If inclined, y’all can head over here for a thorough parse of the duplex but, suffice to say here, listing details show the mini mansion-sized condo was configured at the time of its sale with two bedrooms and two full and four half bathrooms, plus a separate one bedroom staff or guest apartment on another floor. A trio of interconnected entertaining rooms (living, dining, library) stretch 72 feet from end to end and there are four exposures on both floors with a total of 52 windows. Monthly common charges and taxes, as per listing details, total $24,792, well more than the approximately $18,000 and $8.75 per hour that a full-time New York state minimum wage worker earns each year but for Miz Walton, a woman whose personal funds — let’s be honest — are essentially limitless, it’s an utterly insignificant amount.
floor plan (Fifth Avenue): Brown Harris Stevens
listing photos/floor plan (Park Avenue): Brown Harris Stevens