One of the last great mansions for sale on Fifth Avenue, the majestic residence on 854 Fifth Avenue, is back on the market. The 20,000-square-foot landmarked mansion is for sale, asking $50 million, as reported by the NY Post. A rare Gilded Age mansion, spanning 30½ feet wide and 125 feet deep, the six-story Beaux Arts mansion is currently owned by Yugoslavia’s five successor states.
The grand home was built in 1905, for $60,000, for New York stockbroker and future Rhode Island governor, R. Livingston Beeckman. It was designed by the same architects that Grand Central Terminal used. The home was later owned by the granddaughter of railroad baron Cornelius Vanderbilt, Emily Thorn Vanderbilt Sloane White. She added elaborate details to the home, like angel-laden paintings on the ceiling and gold-plated cherubs in the extravagant ceiling moldings. The limestone townhouse boasts two elevators, eight bathrooms and 32 rooms. It features hand-carved balustrades of white marble for the palatial staircase, 17 fireplaces and an original working stove. “Everything is virtually intact,” said real-estate agent Tristan Harper, a Douglas Elliman agent, who is listing the property again. “Whoever buys it will own a piece of New York history.”
In 1946, the Republic of Yugoslavia purchased the townhouse for the bargain price of $300,000, due to the post-World War II depression. The previous owner had paid $450,000 for it. In 1963, Yugoslavian leader Josip Broz Tito hid out in the home, following an attempt against his life. The home offered him bullet-proof windows, as well as a top-floor, metal-padded room with a Faraday cage, blocking electromagnetic fields, to evade wire taps during the Cold War.
Yugoslavia’s five successor states, namely Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia put the home for sale before. They were offered $50 million, last year, by Joshua Harris, co-founder of investment firm Apollo Global Management. The owners, however, were unable to agree with one another on the sale. Harris went on to purchase the “deal of the century”, a 44-foot-wide mansion at 50 E. 69th St. for $45 million, despite the asking price of $72 million, as per The Post.
The successor states own the mansion in a percentage formula devised by the United Nations, with Serbia claiming the largest share. They currently hold a portfolio composed of over 50 trophy properties across the globe, only four of which are currently for sale. They include this one in New York, as well as in Tokyo, Switzerland’s Bern, and Bonn in Germany. Last year, the successor states sold a duplex penthouse at 730 Park Avenue for just over $12 million.
By: Hellen Zaboulani
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