SELLER: Kevin Wendle
LOCATION: New York City, NY
SIZE: 8,475 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 5 full and 4 half bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: This morning we awoke to a flurry of communiques from Hot Chocolate—one of Your Mama’s unofficial (and unpaid) aides de camp—who thought we might want to have a wee look-see at a rather striking New York City townhouse recently listed at $12,500,000. Ever the astute observer of the nuances of real estate, Hot Chocolate included a brief note in which he sassily snipped the townhouse sits so far to the east on East 75th street “you could grow tea.”
For the record, the red brick mansion with the very contemporary interiors sits mid-block between 1st and York Avenues. So—let’s be honest—as Hot Chocolate suggests, stereotypical Upper East Side real estate snobs who prefer to be west of Park Avenue at all times probably do see the townhouse’s far east locale as akin to Bumfuck Somewhereundesirable. Unless, like Madonna’s daughter, their children attend the $26,000-plus per year Lycée Français de New York. Then it’s a super convenient location.
A quick run around the interweb and a perfunctory peek-n-poke through property records shows the house is owned through a corporate entity connected to Showbiz and media world bigwig Kevin Wendle. Tabloid reader may not recognize Mister Wendle’s name but a good amount of the people who appear in the tabloids and gossips glossies surely know exactly who he is: a co-founder of the Fox network, E! Online, CNET and iFilm. At least one bio accessible online says Mister Wendle developed The Simpsons and Beverly Hills 90210 (the original one) and launched the careers of both Will Smith and Johnny Depp. Big stuff if that’s the professional pond you swim in, you know?
Anyhoo, the tee-vee producer turned tech investor only purchased the townhouse in January of this year (2012), according to public property records, for $8,400,000.
He bought the four-floor, former carriage house from a French-American banker named Pierre Olivier “Oliver” Sarkozy, otherwise known as the recently divorced half-brother of former president of France Nicolas Sarkozy and the current, much older man-beau of pint-sized billionaire Mary-Kate Olsen.
Monsieur Sarkozy (et famille) acquired the property in early 2005, according to property records, for $6,500,000 from the estate of world renown art and fashion photographer Richard Avedon who, arty-farty types recall, went to meet his maker in 2004 while on assignment for The New Yorker in Texas.
Presumably having something to do with there parting of romantic ways Mister and ex-Missus Sarkozy first attempted to sell the townhouse in May 2010 when it popped up on the market to much hoopla and fanfare with an asking price of $11,995,000. Several price reductions and 2.5 years were required before our Mister Wendle came along and paid, as mentioned earlier, $8,400,000 for the townhouse.
Current listing information shows the 25-foot wide townhouse, originally erected in 1910, stands four floors above ground plus one below and measures in at and impressively spacious (and approximate) 8,475 square feet. The current configuration as shown in floor plans included with current marketing materials allows for five (an possibly six or even seven) bedrooms with five full and four half bathrooms.
The lazy, the infirm and domestic workers of all types among us have already noted—no doubt—the lack of an elevator. Certainly not the worst possible problem in a five-floor urban mansion, but one that will likely cool the jets of one or two deep-pocketed potential buyers.
The 45-foot long, loft-like main living/dining/kitchen at the top of the main stairs as the rear of the residence’s second floor was stripped of any and all traditional architectural paradigms such as molding. A pair of chunky columns and a low, rectilinear peninsula hint at divisions of commodious chamber where there are radiant headed white oak floors under foot and stark, gallery white walls all around. Listing information indicates the slate-lined half bathroom tucked into a back corner of the space is newly installed and Your Mama imagines the sparingly utilized, contemporary and vintage furnishings (not to mention the artwrks) are probably papered, pedigreed and/or frightfully pricey.
A simple, black rectilinear counter top divides the lounge area(s) from the cooking and eating area(s) where the counter tops are black granite slabs and a full wall of floor-to-ceiling glass panels peel open to a decked backyard landscaped with boxwood hedges and cherry trees. A floating steel staircase ascends to an even larger, landscaped roof deck simply outfitted with cushioned, built-in bench (sort of) shaded by a barely there, minimalist’s dream pergola.
The first of two master suites discretely occupies the street side of the second floor and includes a long entrance hall with built-in storage, walk-in closet and attached bathroom slathered in enough thickly veined white marble to build an impressive mausoleum for a Gilded Age robber baron.
One flight up a second master suite at the rear has fireplace, private bathroom and direct access to the aforementioned roof terrace while a home office/den on the street side has a fireplace and attached bathroom and could easily be converted to a third master suite.
A spacious sun run and three fairly compact bedrooms on the fourth floor share two hall bathrooms, one windowless and the other with a sky light. Two of the bedrooms face the street and each have two large windows while the third bedroom has only a sky light for light and ventilation.
The street level gallery space—Mister Avedon’s former studio, one imagines—has direct access from the street through an inset brick archway and double arched doors. A wide, art gallery-like hall stretches past a fully-equipped stainless steel kitchen and adjoining half bathroom and opens into a large, flexi-use studio/gallery/entertainment space. Another half bathroom and a well-lit hair and make-up nook complete the street level space. The half-floor basement below, according to the floor plan, has a small home gym, dark room and a number of storage options.
Current listing information states the exterior was “painstakingly and expertly repointed” and the interiors equipped with a central vacuum system, new boiler and water filtration system, a video intercom system, and all-inclusive state-of-the-art security and safety systems (gas detectors, water sensors and intruder detectors, etc.).
Your Mama don’t know a cat’s ass from a cookie jar, of course, so we really can’t say what’s behind Mister Wendle’s real estate change of heart here. Whatever his motivations may be it’s clear he and his swanky Real Estates believe the improvements he’s made in the short time he’s owned it render the stunning and stark townhouse worth more than four million clams more than he paid for it.
listing photos and floor plan: Town Real Estate