SELLER: Susan Soros
LOCATION: New York City, NY
SIZE: 4-6 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Does the extended family of lefty-liberal gajillionaire financier/philanthropist George Soros know something about the extreme upper end of the New York City real estate market the rest of us less financially fortunate don’t?
Two days ago Mister Soros’ only daughter, Andrea Soros Columbel, listed a 19th-century Greek Revival-style townhouse in the West Village with an asking price of $29,500,000 and yesterday—we first learned from our aide de camp Hot Chocolate and later saw was first discussed by the New York Times—Miz Columbel’s former step-momma, Susan Soros, the much younger second ex-wife of the newly engaged octagenarian macdaddy super-tycoon George Soros, hoisted her exceptionally spacious, family-friendly Upper West Side sprawler on the open market with an eye-popping but hardly-unheard-of-for-Manhattan asking price of $50,000,000.
Is this just a real estate coinky-dink between two not actually blood related Soros family members who—we don’t know—may or may not have communications with each other?* Could be. You decide. Does it even matter? Anyhoo…
Miz Soros and Mister Soros were legally wed for 20 years, made two children together and divorced in 2006. But she ain’t just any ol’ primped, pampered and generously alimonied ex-wife of a billionaire. Child, no. She’s a serious person, a scholar. This lady earned a Ph.D. from London’s Royal College of Art—maybe we should be calling her Dr. Soros?—and in 1993 founded and funded the distinguished Bard College Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design and Culture.
Miz Soros picked up her post-divorce apartment, according to the peeps at Property Shark, in June 2006 for $25,000,000 in an off-market deal with investor turned movie producer David J. Mimran. Mister Mimran had only acquired the apartment himself in 2004 when he shelled out about $12,200,000 to boutique hotelier Ian Schrager.
Mister Schrager bought the apartment in 1997 for about $9,000,000—so the story goes—and had it worked over by avant garde architect/designer Philippe Starck. Mister Starck’s decorative handiwork—no doubt an absolute extravaganza of whimsy—remained intact when Miz Soros picked the place up in 2006. She told the New York Times shortly after her purchase that she wasn’t sure if she would keep or replace Starck’s day-core. Iffin Your Mama was the wagering sort—and we are definitely not—we’d bet Big Daddy’s farm she removed most if not every inch of Mister Starck’s handiwork. As far as Your Mama knows, we have never met or even put our actual eyeballs on Miz Soros. None-the-less, she does not strike Your Mama as a woman who would have a nine-foot tall bergere chair in the powder pooper.
Perfectly perched on the northeast corner of the 19th floor of the Art Deco-tastic Majestic building on Central Park West at West 72nds Street, the two-unit combination crib contains four bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms and a media den easily convertible to a fifth bedroom plus a brutally puny prison cell-sized staff bedroom and three-quarter bathroom tucked at the tail end of the service hall at the very back of the apartment.**
The $50,000,000 price tag, according to current listing information, also includes a fully renovated one-bedroom staff apartment on a lower floor as well as all of the furniture in the main apartment.*** The Majestic, an impeccably maintained full-service white-glove temple to upscale urban living, allows up to 50% financing and—for what it’s worth—the monstrous $13,759 monthly maintenance for Miz Soros’ spread is 41% tax deductible, whatever that means.
The apartment—of unknown square footage—has direct elevator access into a spacious formal living/dining room prominently nestled into the apartment’s northeast corner with wrap-around views and a monolithic stone fireplace. A large library on the backside of the fireplace has walls lined with built-in book cases and powerful, head on park views.
On the other side of the living/dining room there’s a generously proportioned, multi-purpose kitchen/great room with five sets of French-style doors that open to the slender terrace that snakes its way along the entire northern length of the apartment. Depending on where one stands on this terrace there are wide city vistas to the west and north that sweep over the roof top of the legendary Dakota building, take in almost all of the Central Park including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and continue along the long row of swish and swanky apartment houses that line up like limestone soldiers along Fifth Avenue.
Beyond the kitchen/great room, the north wing contains a media den with built-in sofa banquette and three guest/family bedrooms that each have direct access to a private or semi-private bathroom. The windowless half bathroom in the corridor that extends north from a small vestibule behind the kitchen/great room appears to be the only powder pooper for guests in the entire apartment. A half bath for guests is great to have—of course—but this one isn’t, by our humble and utterly meaningless estimation, very conveniently located for the hoitier of the toity dinner guests who might find it less than elegant to have to traipse through the culinary cross-hairs of the kitchen in order to cop a squat mid-cocktail party or -chef-prepared dinner soiree.
The long, multi-chamber guest/family bedroom corridor makes a hard left at its end to yet another but not quite as long hallway with laundry area, service elevator access, mechanical equipment and the aforementioned, brutally puny prison cell-sized staff bedroom and three-quarter bathroom.
The opposite end of the apartment—that would be the east-facing southern flank—is devoted entirely to the super-sized master suite comprised of a privacy-enhancing entrance hall, a roomy sitting room, an equally roomy separate bedroom and a compact but well-equipped windowed office space that connects through from the sitting room to the adjacent library. There’s also a giant bathroom with free-standing soaking tub set askance almost in the middle of the room and two, fully kitted and customized walk-in closets and dressing rooms. Finally there’s exclusive use of a private terrace with an astonishing view that encompasses a significant portion of Central Park and the Upper East Side all the way around and down to Midtown and Central Park South.
Your Mama has no inside intel on the future real estate plans of Dr.-Miz Soros. With both her children now young adults it would certainly make sense to downsize. Then again, who would be surprised if she upsized? People of extraordinary financial means frequently make what seem to mere financial mortals like capricious and downright inexplicable real estate decisions. Larry Ellison maintains more high maintenance residences than Your Mama can count on both hands, including the entire Hawaiian island of Lanai that he bought this year for nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars. Entertainment industry honcho David Geffen—child-free and nearly 70—already owned a suburban mini-mansion-sized apartment on Fifth Avenue when he coughed up a blood-chilling $54 million to buy the tremendous, 12,000-ish square foot duplex penthouse upstairs. It just doesn’t make sense. Howevuh, butter beans, if Your Mama has said it once we’ve said it 87,000 times too many, it ain’t nuthin’ but an effort in futility to try to comprehend the wild, wacky and often fickle real estate ways of the rich and famous.
*For the records, Your Mama has absolutely no notion of and makes not real claims about whether Daughter Soros and Second-Ex-Missus Soros are bosom buddies, sworn enemies or something in between. Okay?
**Listing information actually shows the apartment has six bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms (plus the separate staff apartment)
***All the furniture? Really? Your Mama would bet Big Daddy’s farm every stick and scrap of Miz Soros’ furniture and day-core is among the most expensive money can buy but—let’s get real children—who pays fifty million bucks for a New York City apartment and wants the previous owner’s highboys, sideboards, sofas and commodes? Does that include the mattresses?