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The exterior of 1009 5th Avenue
Photograph: Courtesy of COMPASS

Wait until you see inside this $80M mansion for sale in Manhattan

If it sells for the asking price, it'll be the most expensive townhouse ever sold in NYC.

Rossilynne Skena Culgan
Written by
Rossilynne Skena Culgan

An architectural masterpiece full of opulent details within its 20,000 square feet just went on the market on the Upper East Side—for $80,000,000. Yes, you read that right: $80 million. 

A listing for The Benjamin N. Duke House, located at 1009 Fifth Avenue across from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, calls it “the rarest opportunity to acquire a piece of history and make a bold statement in your portfolio.” A bold statement indeed. 

RECOMMENDED: NYC is officially the most expensive city in the world

The mansion was built around 1899-1901 in Italian Renaissance palazzo style with strong Beaux Arts elements—"one of the last remnants of the luxurious mansions along Fifth Avenue facing Central Park that remain in private hands," the listing states. Benjamin Duke, who racked up lots of cash leading the American Tobacco Company, lived there in the building's early days. 

An interior room with wooden floors and a painted ceiling.
Photograph: Courtesy of COMPASS

The eight-bedroom, 10-bathroom home features high ceilings, curved windows, ornate moldings, lots of natural light, a grand staircase and two statues guarding the front door. There’s also a terrace and rooftop with views of Central Park and the city skyline. It’s even designated as a New York City Landmark. COMPASS real estate’s Jorge Lopez is the listing agent; he declined to comment.

The mansion was built with a trio of others; the other three have been demolished, the blog Ephemeral New York explained. The homes weren't universally beloved with one critic complaining about the sheet metal cornices.

The balcony with a view of the Met.
Photograph: Courtesy of COMPASS

This isn’t the first time the property has been listed for sale recently. Back in 2015, it was listed at $80 million, but it didn’t sell, according to the listing. If it actually does sell at the asking price this time, it’ll be the most expensive townhouse ever sold in NYC, per Global News

For now, Carlos Slim Helú, a telecom magnate and Mexico's richest billionaire, owns the building. He bought it in 2010 for $44 million, Global News reported.

An interior room with hardwood floors and a curving window.
Photograph: Courtesy of COMPASS

It’s common knowledge nowadays that housing prices in NYC can be tough to stomach, but this house gives a whole new meaning to our city as the most expensive in the nation. For a sense of just how much an $80 million property would cost, the listing’s real estate calculator offers some clues. With a 20% down payment, you’d still be paying $420,395 a month on a 30-year mortgage. Just the taxes would cost you $23,000 a month.

The building doesn't have to remain as a house, though, realty company COMPASS suggested. The building could be turned into a gallery, store, museum or foundation given its prime location across the Met Museum. 

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