After much speculation about their fate(s) and scads of unsubstantiated whispers about domestic arts tycoon (and building resident) Martha Stewart sniffing and snorting around, a trio of New York City cooperative apartments on Fifth Avenue owned by the estate of the late reclusive copper heiress Huguette Clark will soon—and somewhat surprisingly—hit the open market.
Mysterious Miz Clark passed away in May 2011 at 104 years old after spending the last several decades of her deeply idiosyncratic life living under various pseudonyms in a perfectly ordinary (and purposefully mis-marked) room on the third floor of the Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City.
Miz Clark’s day-to-day needs were seen to by a small group of nurses and aides and her vast inherited fortune was managed by a couple of not particularly savory-sounding gentleman, that would be attorney Wally Bock and accountant Irving Kamsler. Mister Bock and Kamsler have come under a great deal of (legal) scrutiny since their golden egg went to meet her maker and were recently removed from managing Miz Clark’s estate after a Manhattan judge found “‘shocking’ evidence of tax fraud” and other nefarious conduct by the two men.
When all this ugly business about Miz Clark’s state of affairs was busted open wide by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Bill Dedman in the months before Miz Clark died, most subsequent reports then described Miz Clark’s New York City apartment(s) as encompassing 42 rooms and having a potential value of somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000,000.
In reality, as pointed out in The New York Post earlier today, Miz Clark’s oft-referred-to 42 rooms are in fact spread throughout three separate apartments on two non-contiguous floors in an imposing, limestone-clad pre-war pile on the corner of Fifth Avenue and busy-busy-busy East 72nd Street designed by noted architect J.E.R. Carpenter and have a total value more realistically pegged at a still astonishing $45-65,000,000.
So the story goes, Miz Clark had hardly if at all stepped foot in any of the three apartments for decades before she died but they were none-the-less—as were her other luxury residences in Connecticut and California—kept broom clean and generally well maintained by a skeleton staff of caretakers, gardeners and hired house keeping services.
The three apartments at 907 Fifth Avenue include an approximately 5,000 square foot half floor unit up on the twelfth floor—the top floor—where she reportedly kept an unusually extensive collection of (rare) dolls. The unit—originally designed with a dozen or more rooms plus a warren of staff rooms—is expected to be listed for around $25,000,000 according to The New York Post.
Miz Clark’s pair of eight floor apartments are expected to sell for a total of $20-35,000,000 according to The New York Post who also revealed some important details about Miz Huguettes eighth-floor apartments that Your Mama did not previously know: The powerful co-op board has yet to determine if they’ll allow the two units—adjacent but not actually joined—to be combined into one large apartment. Should the board allow for that option, the full-floor, park view sprawler would likely be more valuable than the two apartments separately and measure in at more than 10,000 square feet, a quite rare amount of contiguous space even for super-swank Fifth Avenue.
We should all expect a feeding frenzy when (and if) the listings go public, especially if they include photos and floor plans for which all us property mad people would hold our breath for a year to get a good, long peep.
photo: James Schaefer for Property Shark