THE RETAIL MAGNATE
The Woolworth ‘Five and Dime” retail chain of Frank Woolworth expanded so rapidly at the turn-of-the-century that he afforded the design services of Charles Pierpont Henry Gilbert, the famed architect of New York City mansions in the French Gothic style. From 1911 – 1915, he engaged C.P.H. Gilbert to design three townhouses on East 80 Street — one for each of his three daughters; Edna, Helena and Jessie. The mansion currently for sale, built for Helena, is the central and largest of the three at 35 feet wide, flanked by two 25′ wide sister buildings.
Described as a Gothic limestone castlette, the in-town mansion covers a massive 18,000 square. Ceilings are 14 feet high, and the building includes a roof garden, a gym, and a stained-glass skylight. An elevator services all levels.
Clearly, this townhouse will not suit the tastes of anyone but the ultra-rich, but even in our new robber-baron-era, it is constructed with enough aesthetic appeal to make people in the ultra-rich bracket look twice. But, at $90 million, it’s also expensive enough to make the uber-wealthy think twice, as well.
Completed in 1916, the imposing limestone facade of this neo-French Renaissance mansion features a central foyer opening to a grand entry hall providing access to the main residence.
Listing information for the magnificent mansion details that it contains 7 floors–all accessible by an elevator, 8 fireplaces, 5 principal bedrooms, 7 full and 2 half bathrooms, plus a two-bedroom staff quarters on the top floor and a full kitchen, and finally a gym. The full-floor master suite on the fourth floor includes an enormous bedroom, two sitting rooms, two dressing rooms and two bathrooms.
With a massive fireplace, the enormous entry includes three closets and an elegant powder room, access to a kitchen in the rear as well as the wide landing of the grand master staircase.
The parlour floor begins with a front drawing room spanning 35 feet with a huge fireplace, three floor-to-ceiling windows and a sensation of immense scale. The center landing affords a large sitting room that connects the front drawing room to the deep formal dining room. With the capacity to seat over 50, the dining room ends in a rear solarium morning room ideal for breakfast as it is positioned next to a serving kitchen. The kitchen includes a seating area, ample storage and a dumb waiter to the service kitchen below.
The third floor includes a 35 foot-wide wood-paneled library, wet bar, and powder room. In the rear there is a two-bedroom suite with two large full baths and ample closet space. The fourth floor is entirely the grand master suite. The fifth floor… servants quarters and gym.
The first five floors are capped by a brilliant stained-glass skylight positioned above the staircase.
Above, the sixth floor is an additional level presently built out for a private office with a full bath and a powder room, and an additional seventh floor is a two-bedroom staff suite with two full baths, a separate kitchen and elevator access. The lowest level includes a suite of offices and outdoor space.
While the other great mansions that have come on the market in New York have been shells requiring total renovation, this is the only mansion to be formally available that has been fully renovated in a traditional prewar style. Never before could one acquire such a magnificent building in this condition — truly a rare opportunity and a magnificent structure.