In the NYC property game, bigger is better

The combination of 7-9 East 72nd Street is the largest home in the city.
The combination of 7-9 East 72nd Street is the largest home in the city.

Bigger is usually better, if you can afford it. So why should New York City real estate be any different?

The New York Post reports that people are buying up multiple adjacent properties and combining them to make the New York City mega-mansions — which, by the way, don’t compare to what is going on in California. It’s nothing that new really. People have been building gigantic homes in NYC for centuries. But it’s the scale of the construction that’s notable.

One luxury real expert expert, Mickey Conlon, an agent at Douglas Elliman, explains the phenomenon thusly, “It’s a . . . mentality of ‘I’m going to be [buying] the biggest house, and everyone will be talking about it and everyone will know about it — I’m the king of the world.’” In other words, creating huge combination properties is the equivalent of wanting to have the most cake.

 Roman Abramovich and his home combination on the UES
Roman Abramovich and his home combination on the UES

One such buyer, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, filed plans this month to combine three Upper East Side townhouses he bought for a total of $78 million. The finished product would be a 18,225-square-foot expanse across a 55-foot-wide lot and include a 30-foot rear yard and a pool in the cellar. The work would be to the tune of $6 million dollars. A lot of cake, indeed.

12, 14 and 16 East 62nd Street

But check out more sweet stuff: The Post highlights the city’s current priciest listing — a $120 million three-town house spread at 12, 14 and 16 East 62nd Street that’s being marketed as a single-family home or commercial space. A buyer could configure the 30,854 space in any desired configuration.


Of course, all this mega-manse-making doesn’t come easy. Aside from the obvious immense cost of connecting or deconstructing properties, buyers must take on the gargantuan task of fitting them together to align properly.

“It’s metal studs and cutting through sheetrock,” explains Joe Dolgetta, owner of CMP Contracting, who says it is generally easier to join newer properties, “while old structure tend to have thicker walls with brick, clay and metal rebar.”

Michael Bloomberg’s UES home

Not to mention the waiting game: Just because you want a series of adjacent homes, doesn’t mean they will be readily available at the same time. The Post cites Mayor Bloomberg who had to wait over two decades to buy up apartments in an Upper East Side co-op adjacent to his 7,500-square-foot-town house. He now owns four of the six units and has grown his home to 12,500 square feet.

And before you run out and buy up property to connect into a Franken-home, one last caveat from famed property appraiser Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel, ““Just because you slap two properties together doesn’t mean there’s a buyer.”