For Sale: Manhattan Townhouse Version of Versailles
By Laura Vecsey
Where would you live if you could buy something special in Manhattan? For the well-heeled New Yorkers, the exclusive destination is anything over 100 ... as in north of $100 million. Luckily for anyone in that stratospheric category, there's a relatively new offering that has been called everything from "opulent" to "lavish." No wonder, since the one-of-a-kind townhouse at 12 E. 69th St, New York, N.Y., has been fashioned after a little palace in France called Versailles. Perhaps you've heard of it?
Clearly, the townhouse's owners, Frank and Teresa Viola, have created their own royal palace on the Upper East Side. The asking price for this Manhattan manse is $114 million. The annual taxes are listed at $149,000. Viola is a Wall Street investor and owner of the NHL's Florida Panthers, while his wife is president of Maida Vale Designs. They purchased the property in 2005 for $20 million, then, according to the New York Daily News, took on the project of completely renovating the 16,000 square feet that had been subdivided into doctors offices and four large apartments.
When the listing hit the market in December 2013, the Viola's palace was one of less than a handful of properties in New York City to top the $100 million list price threshold. To try and spark interest, the 1884-era building was draped in red ribbon over the Christmas holiday, but the gift-wrapping gimmick appears to have given way to more straightforward sales pitches.
What does $114 million get you in the city that never sleeps? Well, nothing less than a "spectacular completely renovated, very rare 40-foot-wide mansion ... (that) exudes the ultimate in sophistication and grandeur." There are Central Park views, soaring 12- to 32-foot ceilings, palatial entertaining space, the finest European-imported materials and state-of-the-art systems that make it an unrivaled modern-day trophy home.
The 20,000-square-foot residence sprawls over 6 stories and includes 7 bedrooms, 6 full baths and 3 powder rooms. There are multiple fireplaces, an elevator, two-story home theater with 12-foot screen, fitness room, indoor swimming pool and a 2,000-square-foot roof deck.
According to Robin Finn of The New York Times, Teresa Viola oversaw the entire renovation process and went on worldwide buying sprees to outfit the place with Venetian onyx and hand-painted murals.
This is the second NHL owner to list a luxury Manhattan residence. Recently, Ed Snider, owner of the Philadelphia Flyers, listed his "modest" 3-bedroom apartment for $8.75 million.
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