The last of Manhattan's Gilded Age mansions owned by the former states of the ex-Yugoslavia, is on sale.
This news hit the real estate market almost a month ago with a striking price of $50 million. In the meantime, six potential buyers “all extremely high-net-worth individuals of different backgrounds’’ expressed their interest making an utmost effort to purchase the Fifth Avenue limestone town house.
However, $50 million is only a preliminary price, and five countries that are successor states to the former Yugoslavia (Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Slovenia, and Macedonia) have to reach an agreement on the price in order to initiate further serious negotiations.
Due to its enormous historical significance, the famous mansion is under the protection of the state and the city of New York, whilst it currently houses the offices of Serbia's Permanent Mission to the United Nations.
The city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, which landmarked the property in 1966, called it a “superb example of the French classic style of Louis XV.”
The mansion built in 1904 was first owned by Robert Livingston Beeckman, the governor of Long Island. Later in 1912, the home was sold to George Grant Manson, whilst Vanderbilt’s granddaughter Emily Thorn Vanderbilt Sloane White and her husband, Henry White, bought it in 1925. When the rich heirless died in 1946, her estate was bought by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1947.
When Yugoslavia took possession of the property, the New York Times reported, “It is considered one of the finest private homes remaining on Fifth Avenue”.
After an assassination attempt against the Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in 1963, the mansion, with its bulletproof windows overlooking the Central Park, was also used as a temporary hiding place for Tito.
The villa is still luxuriously equipped, and furniture, wall paintings, murals, gold chandeliers and a number of other gilded details, are still virtually intact and included in the purchase price.
However, any potential buyers will have to overcome unusual diplomatic obstacles, as representatives from all five states have to reach an agreement on the purchase. Nevertheless, “Whoever buys it will own a piece of New York history, whilst the proceeds will be divided among the states’’, reported a real estate agent engaged in this sale.