World's Richest Man Buys Last Mansion on Fifth Avenue
July 30, 2010 - New York
By Josh Barbanel from The Wall Street Journal Asia
Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim is extending his reach in New York with purchase of a century-old Beaux Arts townhouse on Fifth Avenue for $44 million - one of the most expensive townhouse sales ever in the city.
Last month, Slim paid $140 million for an 11-story office building at 417 Fifth Avenue in Midtown. Slim is a major investor in the New York Times.
Slim built a telecommunications empire in Mexico and now tops Forbes magazine's list of the richest people in the world.
He owns the townhouse, located on Fifth Avenue at East 82nd Street across from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, through a limited liability company, a technique used by many wealthy buyers.
But the deed documents were signed by a lawyer at Grupo Financiero Inbursa, Slim's financial services company, and the closing was handled by the same New York lawyer who handled Slim's closing on the Fifth Avenue office building.
Several brokers confirmed that he was a buyer. Slim did not respond to requests for comment.
The townhouse, at 1009 Fifth Avenue, is 27-feet wide and said to be the only private mansion left on Fifth Avenue, after most were knocked down when a wave of apartment towers went up in the 1920s.
The 1901 house, known as the Duke-Semans mansion, was owned by descendants of the original owner, tobacco magnate Benjamin N. Duke, until 2006.
The mansion was sold at that time for $40 million - then a record sale in the city - to Tamir Sapir, a former cabdriver who made a fortune in Russian oil and is now a real-estate investor and developer.
Sapir put it on the market in January for $50 million, a time when some of his investments in new developments were coming under pressure, with Paula Del Nunzio, a townhouse broker at Brown Harris Stevens responsible for many of the top townhouse sales in the city.
A few weeks ago word began to circulate in the industry that Del Nunzio had found a buyer for more than $40 million.
But brokers said that Sapir later made a direct deal with Slim. The sale closed on July 21, according to property records.
The sale is the fourth highest townhouse sale in the city.
The most expensive sale so far was the $53 million sale of a townhouse on East 75th Street just off Fifth Avenue to J. Christopher Flowers, a private equity investor.
This article has been republished from Wall Street Journal
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