820 Fifth Avenue
Design and apartments
The 12 story limestone-clad neo-Italian Renaissance palazzo is one of the most expensive and exclusive apartment houses in the city. It was designed by Starrett & van Vleck and built by Fred T.Ley in 1916. The land upon which it was built was previously occupied by the Progress Club. The frontage was 100.5 feet on Fifth Avenue and 100 feet on 63rd Street. Construction cost was 1 million dollars, exclusive of the land (which cost another million).
The building comprises 12 apartments. There are ten apartments that are full-floor. These apartments are lavish in scale, each containing roughly 6500 square feet. The lower two floors consist of two duplex maisonettes, one 7000 SF, the other 4500 square feet. There is also a superintendent's apartment on the first floor, roughly 750 SF. All apartments feature marble floors, and fireplaces in all major rooms. The outer walls are two and a half feet thick and ceiling height is 11 feet (3.35m). The public rooms all face Central Park, and are accessed via the 44-foot-long gallery. The five bedrooms found in each apartment all have windows on 63rd Street and the numerous (usually seven) (7) servants rooms are in the back.
Co-op and amenities
Originally a rental, 820 Fifth Avenue was converted into a cooperative in 1949. There are 2 duplex maisonette apartments on the first and second floors, and 10 full-floor apartments on each of floors 3 through 12. Potential buyers must pay entirely in cash. No mortgage financing is allowed. The cooperative board requires potential buyers to possess liquid assets ten times the value of the apartment that they wish to purchase.
The building features a lounge for chauffeurs on the ground floor and a private, gated, holding area in back for cars. Other features include sidewalk landscaping, including Japanese Cherry Trees, and a canopied entrance flanked by bronze lanterns. Amenities include full-time doormen, concierge, elevator operators, laundry and storage rooms in the basement, and storage rooms on the roof which are sometimes used as servants' quarters, as they include baths and small kitchen facilities. Each apartment also has a spacious private wine cellar in the basement, which can accommodate thousands of bottles.
Each of the ten (10) full-floor apartments has three (3) private elevators which open directly into the apartment; A regular passenger elevator, a "party" elevator for moving groups of guests in and out quickly, and a larger cargo "service" elevator that opens into the Servants Hall... The service elevator is for moving furniture, luggage, package and flower deliveries, groceries and catering supplies, and for domestic servants, who are not permitted to use the regular passenger elevator...
These apartments rarely change hands and when they do, they typically command prices above 40 million dollars.
These include both current and former residents:
- Jayne Wrightsman (widow of the late oil baron Charles Wrightsman, and doesn't reside on the board)
- Emilia Saint-Amand (Widow of the late H. Fred Krimendahl, II. (Partner at Goldman Sachs, President and CEO of Petrus Partners LBO firm))
- Terry Semel and Jane Semel (Former CEO of Yahoo)
- Ara Hovnanian & Rachel Hovnanian (Real Estate development)
- John Abisch (U.S. Private Equity)
- Michel David-Weill (former director and descendant of the founders of Lazard Frères & Co.) & Hélène David-Weill (art patron and president of the board of trustees of the French association Les Arts décoratifs
- Governor Alfred E.Smith
- William Acquavella (President of Acquavella Galleries, and Donna Acquavella)
- Tommy Hilfiger
- Lily Safra
- Kenneth C. Griffin
- Babe Paley and William Paley (CBS President)
- Arthur Murray and Kathryn Murray
- Ellis L. Phillips Long Island Lighting Company
- Robert Goelet
- Alfred Sloan Jr. (chairman of General Motors)
- Jack Levy (Senior Partner at Goldman Sachs)
- Stavros Niarchos (Greek shipping)
- Louise Crane (Crane & Co. stationary heiress)
- Anna M. Harkness Widow of Stephen V. Harkness, founder of Standard Oil
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- Dwellings NYC
- Prewar passion
- City realty
- NY Observer 'Steve Wynn Bets on 820 Fifth Avenue and Loses Big' - retrieved 2012-12-10
- NY Observer '820 Fifth Claims Another Boldface Turn-Away; Even Call From Hizzoner Doesn’t Help' - retrieved 2012-12-10
- New York Post Powerful Co-op Boards: The Gatekeepers of Fifth Avenue - retrieved 2012-12-10
- Les Arts décoratifs website
- Coop Sales