SELLER: Shafi Roepers
LOCATION: New York City, NY
SIZE: (approx.) 7,500 square feet, five bedrooms, 7.5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMA’S NOTES: Let’s veer for a moment from our standard celebrity real estate fare and discuss high-flying New York City socialite Shafi Roepers. Divorced in 2013 from fairly low profile but profoundly prosperous Dutch-born hedge fund founder Alexander J. Roepers, the glamorous divorcee — who reportedly nicknamed her Gulfstream IV jet the Shafi Express — has, to much hullaballoo in the Manhattan property gossip columns, hoisted her plushly sophisticated 13-room apartment in one of New York City’s most prestigious Fifth Avenue co-operative apartment house up for sale on the open market with a positively pearl clutching asking price of $65 million. We’re not exactly sure when the Roepers acquired the approximately 7,500-square-foot suburban macmansion sized apartment but property records suggest ex-Mr. Roepers bought out her former husband in 2013 for $15.75 million, perhaps as an agreed upon condition of their divorce. The sprawling third floor apartment, which carries mind-numbing common charges of $17,987 per month, was worked over by Peter Marino, an impressively accomplished, impeccably credentialed, and internationally venerated architect well known for his obsessive attention to luxury and detail not to mention his campy predilection for fetishistic S/M gear. Listing details describe the full-floor spread as “imminently classic yet also subtly edgy” with four bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms plus a puny staff bedroom that appears on the floor plan included with online listings to be only just barely bigger than its attached bathroom.
A private elevator landing opens to a perfectly baronial, marble-floored entrance gallery that magnanimously extends to almost 38-feet with an evenly spaced trio of monumental floor-to-ceiling windows. Three palatially proportioned entertaining rooms — formal living room, bookcase lined library, and dining room/lounge — all stretch to well over 30-feet in length with wood-burning fireplaces and head roomy ceilings that soar to more than twelve feet. The side-by-side and all but identically sized library and living room directly face Central Park with more than forty feet of frontage but the apartment’s low, third floor perch means the rooms look less than optimally into the tops of trees that line Fifth Avenue rather than more gloriously over the park. Each of the three guest/family bedrooms line up along a long corridor off the entrance gallery and have attached marble bathrooms and tree-top views while the master suite, situated for maximum privacy at the northeast rear corner of the apartment, encompasses an entry vestibule, bedroom with fireplace, a “his” bathroom with fitted walk-in closet, and a “hers” bathroom with adjoining dressing room decked out with marble fireplace, mirrored wardrobes, floor-to-ceiling shoe shelves, and a two-chamber walk-in closet.
The extensive service wing was originally designed with an unimaginable eight staff bedrooms — imagine the lack of privacy involved in living ‘round the clock with more than a half of a dozen minimally compensated household servants — but is currently configured with: a generous and lavishly fitted if somewhat sterile and very nearly all white center island kitchen with built-in dining banquette; extensive storage including and a walk-in silver storage room, walk-in linen closet, and an over-sized laundry room; the miniscule and aforementioned staff bedroom and bathroom; and a children’s playroom easily converted to a home office, fitness room, family room or additional accommodations for live-in domestic workers.
The sedate 11-story, limestone-faced co-operative apartment house at the corner of Fifth Avenue and East 66th Street, designed by high society architect J.E.R. Carpenter and built in 1920, houses a formidable, money-steeped army of publicity eschewing plutocrats, financial industry fat cats, and globe-trotting social figures. Apartments in the tony building rarely come available and even more rarely show up for sale on the open market. In March 2006 a full-floor spread on the fifth floor, then owned by hotelier Robert H. Burns, was listed at $37 million but didn’t sell until June of 2007 for $29 million and, after an extensive and most assuredly brutally expensive renovation, the buyers, hedge fund founder Daniel Nir and his wife, Jill Braufman, put the 15-room sprawler up for sale on the open market earlier this year for three short weeks with an asking price of $48 million.
The most recent recorded purchase in the building came in September 2011 when multi-billionaire Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen plunked down $25 million for the liberally terraced penthouse that’s significantly smaller than the full-floor units on the lower floors but conveniently directly on top of the full floor unit on the 11th floor that Mister Allen has owned since 1996 when he bought it for about $13.5 million. In 2008, an apparently cash-strapped Veronica Hearst, the opulence oriented widow of media scion Randolph Hearst, sold her sixth floor unit — she had previously lost an extravagant 28,000-square-foot palazzo in Manalapan, FL, to foreclosure — to fortunately born hedge fund honcho Charles “Chase” Coleman III and his financial services heiress wife Stephanie who shelled out $36.5 million for the full floor unit that had been decoratively done to the nth degree for Ms. Hearst by late and lauded Italian interior designer Renzo Mongiardino. Our research suggests some of the other extraordinarily well-heeled residents in the building include big pharma bigwig Howard Soloman, Deutsche Bank director Kevin Parker, former Bear Stearns CEO Ace Greenberg, Iraqi-born financier Ezra Zilkha and — though we’re not quite sure who retained ownership and/or occupancy — Texas oil tycoon Sid Bass and his socially prominent ex-wife Mercedes Bass. (We’ve heard but can not confirm that Ms. Bass retained the apartment for the rest of her life at which point it would be inherited by her ex-husband’s children from another marriage and Mister Bass, some of y’all may recall, earlier this year paid $15 million for Patrick Dempsey’s photogenic Malibu estate.)
We haven’t a clue what Ms Roepers’ future real estate plans entail but we did discover in a cursory search of several property record databases that in August of 2009 the then presumably still happily married Roepers laid out $17.45 million for an undeveloped, 4.05-acre oceanfront parcel on mega-pricey Meadow Lane in the historically staid but decidedly swank Hamptons community of Southampton. The seller was high-powered businesswoman Linda Wachner who owned the 10-bedroom and 12.5-bathroom mansion on the neighboring parcel until April 2011 when she sold it for $32.5 million to a mysterious corporate concern. Property records suggest that Mister Roepers, again perhaps as an agreed upon condition of their divorce, paid his ex-wife $8.4 million for the plum parcel that, as far as we can tell, remains undeveloped.
Listing photos and floor plan: Sotheby’s International Realty