Nobody wants to buy notorious sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s real estate.
The convicted criminal’s grand, 28,000-square-foot townhouse in Manhattan’s tony Upper East Side has undergone a $23 million price cut, sources told the Wall Street Journal.
The seven-story, French Neoclassic mansion was originally listed for $88 million in July. The price has since been reduced by about 26%, to a still hefty $65 million.
Epstein was found dead in prison in 2019. The money earned from the sale is to go to the disgraced financier’s alleged victims, who filed claims against his estate.
COVID-19 dealt New York City’s luxury market a blow. Many wealthy residents left the city, choosing to ride out the pandemic in second or third homes in the Hamptons or other vacation destinations.
The number of contracts signed were down 31% in 2020 for Manhattan properties priced at $4 million or above, according to luxury real estate brokerage Olshan Realty’s end-of-year market report. The average price drop was 12%.
Real estate broker Donna Olshan believes the Epstein mansion was well-overpriced—and chopping off $23 million could help it to sell. She believes it will eventually sell in the low $50 millions.
“In New York, it’s not uncommon to see sellers ask for fantasy prices,” says Olshan. “It’s obviously more appropriately priced now.”
But she doesn’t think the stigma associated with Epstein will tarnish the value of this property. That’s due to its sheer size and exclusive location. (It’s 50 feet wide in a city known for limited square footage.) It could remain a private residence or become an embassy, consulate, or even art gallery, she theorizes.
“It all really comes down to price,” says Olshan.
Epstein’s opulent former townhome has a pedigreed past. It was commissioned by Macy’s department store heir Herbert N. Straus on one of Manhattan’s most prestigious blocks on East 71st Street, between Fifth and Madison avenues. It was completed in the 1930s.
In the mid-1940s, the home became an extension of the St. Claire Hospital. Then it was transformed again in the early 1960s, reincarnated as the Birch Wathen School.
It last changed hands in 1989 for $13.2 million, according to realtor.com® data.
Epstein’s sprawling Palm Beach, FL, mansion, where he abused many of his underage victims, is expected to meet the wrecking ball.
A real estate developer was to purchase the Palm Beach mansion on the water, a mile away from President Donald Trump’s club Mar-a-Lago, last year, according to the Journal. The developer told the paper he planned to tear it down and erect a 14,000-square-foot, Art Moderne mansion on the site.