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What Recession? Fifth Avenue Home Sells for $40 Million

By Adam Nichols | July 24, 2010 8:21am | Updated on July 26, 2010 5:59am
The landmarked Duke-Semans mansion on Fifth Avenue at East 82nd Street sold for $40 million.
The landmarked Duke-Semans mansion on Fifth Avenue at East 82nd Street sold for $40 million.
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Flickr/wallyg

By ADAM NICHOLS

DNAinfo News Editor

MANHATTAN — A deep-pocketed buyer has paid an eye-popping $40 million for a Fifth Avenue mansion — the biggest home sale in the city since the start of the recession.

But the 19,500-square-foot Duke Semans townhouse at 82nd Street, close to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, could be considered a bargain.

It sold for $10 million below asking price, the New York Post reported.

The home, which boasts 11 marble fireplaces, 12 bedrooms, 14 bathrooms and three elevators, was sold by cabdriver turned oil tycoon Tamir Sapir.

The Georgian-born billionaire bought the home for $40 million in 2006, and said he planned to turn it into a gallery for his collection of ivory carvings.

French classical sculpture stands at the entrance to the Duke-Semans mansion on East 82nd Street, which sold for $40 million.
French classical sculpture stands at the entrance to the Duke-Semans mansion on East 82nd Street, which sold for $40 million.
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Flickr/wallyg

But his company was later busted for bringing the items into the country illegally on his yacht.

A spokesman for Sapir told the Post he sold the mansion because he didn't want to live there. It had been on the market since January.

The unnamed buyer, who sources told the Post is Russian, sealed the deal on Wednesday, the paper said.

The Beaux Arts mansion was built in 1901 by ancestors of socialite Doris Duke.

But the new owner is not expected to move in any time soon. The home is rundown and needs major renovation which will cost millions of dollars, the Post reported.