Monday, December 12, 2011

Carlos Slim House !!! Carlos Slim Home !!! Slim Pickings: $44 Million Home

Carlos Slim, the Mexican billionaire, is extending his reach in New York with the purchase of a century-old Beaux Arts townhouse on Fifth Avenue, paying $44 million. It was one of the most expensive residential sales in the city.


Last month, Mr. Slim paid $140 million for an 11-story office building at 417 Fifth Ave. in Midtown. Mr. Slim also is a major investor in New York Times Co.

Mustafah Abdulaziz for The Wall Street Journal

The townhouse at 1009 Fifth Ave. purchased by Carlos Slim is one of the city's highest-priced residential deals.

Mr. Slim built a telecommunications empire in Mexico and now tops Forbes magazine's list of the world's richest people. He purchased the townhouse on Fifth Avenue at East 82nd across from the Metropolitan Museum of Art through a limited liability company, a technique used by many wealthy buyers.

The deed documents were signed by a lawyer at Grupo Financiero Inbursa, Mr. Slim's financial-services company, and the closing was handled by the same New York lawyer who handled Mr. Slim's closing on the Fifth Avenue office building. Mr. Slim didn't respond to requests for comment, but several people with knowledge of the deal confirmed that he was the buyer.

The townhouse, at 1009 Fifth Ave., is 27 feet wide and is one of the only private mansions left on Fifth. Most mansions were knocked down when a wave of apartment towers went up in the 1920s.

Known as the Duke-Semans mansion, the house was long owned by descendants of the original owner, Benjamin N. Duke, a tobacco magnate who bought it when it was built in 1901 and kept it in the family until 2006. It was made a New York City landmark in 1974.


The mansion was sold in 2006 for $40 million—then a record sale in the city—to Tamir Sapir, a former cab driver, who made a fortune in Russian oil, and is now a real-estate investor and developer in New York.

Mustafah Abdulaziz for The Wall Street Journal

A brownstone on West 75th Street, right, sold for $18.85 million.

Mr. Sapir put it on the market in January for $50 million, at a time when some of his investments in new developments were coming under pressure. Brown Harris Stevens listed the property.

A few weeks ago, speculation began to circulate in the industry that Brown Harris had found a buyer paying more than $40 million. But brokers said that Mr. Sapir later made a direct deal with Mr. Slim, without a broker and without a commission, according to people familiar with the matter. The sale closed on July 21, according to property records.

The price is the fourth-highest amount ever paid for a New York townhouse. The most expensive townhouse so far was a property on East 75th Street, just off Fifth Avenue, that was purchased for $53 million by J. Christopher Flowers, a private-equity investor.

The seven-story mansion has a 27-foot-wide front facing Fifth Avenue with four stories of limestone bay windows. It runs 100 feet along East 82nd Street.

The original owner of the house formed the American Tobacco Co. with his brother, James B. Duke, in 1809. James Duke built his own grand mansion on Fifth on the corner of East 78th Street in 1912, where his daughter, Doris Duke, lived. That property now houses the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University.

Mr. Slim's new 19,628-square-foot house is expected to need major interior work to restore some of its lost grandeur and remodel it back into a single private residence.

Though the house was owned by Mr. Duke's family for more than a century, parts had been converted into rental units beginning in the 1960s. In 1995, the New York Times reported that a four-story rental apartment was on the market for $50,000 a month.

Brokers say that they and their clients were required to sign confidentiality agreements, agreeing not to disclose details about the property.

The Duke-Semans sale is an indicator of a rebound in the townhouse market, brokers said, after a deep slump that began in the fall of 2008.

It is the first sale of more than $25 million since then, except for three adjacent houses sold to Madonna for a total of $32.5 million on East 81st Street in June 2009.

There are also signs of a rebound on the West Side. Last week, a 21-foot-wide brownstone at 22 West 75th St. sold for $18.85 million, the second-highest price for a West Side townhouse. The seller, Alston Gardner, a venture capitalist, had spent millions renovating the house, completing work started by a prior owner.

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