Back in August, a townhouse on Manhattan's Upper East Side owned by the Wildenstein family was listed for sale, with the billionaire art-dealing family now in hot water over alleged tax fraud. The property, which was used as a base of business operations by the family, was listed for a cool $100 million, and according to luxury real estate site Mansion Global, the gears are close to meshing on a sale for $19 million less than the initial amount. But even then, the sale would still break at least one record for New York City real estate.
If the deal closes, $81 million would be the highest sum ever paid for a single townhouse in New York City. The current record has survived for ten years, following the purchase of the Harkness Mansion, also on the Upper East Side, to the tune of $53 million. It would also be within striking distance of the record for 2016's highest real estate deal of any kind in New York, set by a Saudi billionaire dropping $87.7 million on a full-floor penthouse on Park Avenue.
In any case, the Wildensteins are almost certainly unconcerned about any records the sale of their townhouse might break. The property is just one of many that the family, headed by Guy Wildenstein, has sold or attempted to sell in the wake of legal and financial difficulties: You may have seen the report on this site about another property formerly owned by the Wildenstein family – the firehouse made famous by artist Andy Warhol.
In the event the sale ends up falling apart before closing, it won't be an unprecedented event – back in 2014, a $90 million deal to turn the townhouse into a consulate for the nation of Qatar went belly-up, and Guy's son, David, is currently being sued by billionaire Len Blavatnik for allegedly going back on a handshake deal to sell the property for $79 million. Hopefully, given the family's recent legal and tax troubles, whoever does end up buying the mansion won't end up getting the Wildenstein family's recent bad luck along with it.