On the market for 10 years, UES Townhouse lowers its price again
The ancient Greek epic poem “The Odyssey” recounts a decade-long journey home from the Trojan War, in which its main character is delayed by giants, sea monsters and vengeful gods.
Thor Equities hasn’t had it so bad, but his quest to sell a townhouse in Lenox Hill just hit a similar milestone.
Ten years ago, when Thor first listed the six-story home at 60 East 66th Street, his holding company Town Residential was one of Manhattan’s top 10 residential brokers, its president Joe Sitt was buying space retail on Fifth Avenue and a penthouse at 15 Central Park West set a city record when it sold for $88 million.
A lot has changed since 2012. Town Residential has folded, Thor’s Fifth Avenue portfolio is down to two properties, and the city’s residential sales record has nearly tripled to $238 million. And yet, one constant remains: Thor is still looking for a buyer at 60 East 66th Street.
The home was recently relisted by townhouse specialist Leslie J. Garfield for $13.8 million, down from its original price of $20.8 million a decade ago.
Records show Thor bought the property for $9.2 million in 2010, two years before he first listed it with Town for more than double that amount. By 2017, the request had dropped to $18 million and the listing was with Leslie J. Garfield’s Matthew Lesser, his current agent. The house was divided into 10 apartments, eight of which were rented at the time.
Now the nearly 10,000 square foot property is vacant, which Lesser hopes will finally help him move. Although it contains rental units, the property has always been marketed primarily for its ability to be converted into a single family mansion.
“Our market is efficient, if prices are too high they usually sit still,” Lesser said.
The city’s townhouse market has been particularly strong in recent months, with homes in Fort Greene and Hudson Square setting neighborhood records. But Manhattan’s luxury market showed signs of slowing down this summer, and these record-breaking properties were turnkey buildings. Thor’s asking price on East 66th Street demonstrates the premium commanded by newly remodeled homes: it’s priced at $1,400 per square foot, while a similar remodel sells for nearly $3,000 per square foot, according to Lesser.
When asked why Thor chose not to renovate the building before putting it back up for sale, Lesser said he was “happy to make that suggestion to them.”
“It’s not their business model,” he added. “They prefer to use their equity and capital elsewhere.”
Melissa Giatta, Thor’s chief operating officer, said the company had been “approached by several interested homebuyers”.
“We recognize that the most lucrative opportunities for us, due to our expertise, are in the logistics and life sciences sectors and we want to fully focus on the other classes in which we are involved,” said said Giatta.
Thor has faced challenges in his portfolio in recent years. He lost a commercial condo at the foot of Midtown’s Row NYC hotel in April and is facing a foreclosure auction on his 1,600-key hotel in Chicago.
Despite these issues, Thor maintains a massive portfolio stretching from Central America to Europe. His website values its 50 million square foot development pipeline at more than $20 billion, and Giatta said the company intends to increase investment in logistics and life sciences properties in the future .
Earlier this week, it announced an $85 million deal for a cold storage facility leased from Anheuser-Busch in Los Angeles County.