Nobody wants to buy 'Versailles in Manhattan,' a $19.75 million Upper East Side townhouse that has been on and off the market for 15 years

Courtesy of Douglas EllimanIts highest listing price was $US35 million in 2007.
  • “Versailles in Manhattan,” an Upper East Side townhouse, has been on and off the New York real-estate market since 2003.
  • Its highest asking price was $US35 million in 2007 – now that it’s in the hands of residential brokers for the 12th time, it’s listed for $US19.75 million, the New York Post reports.
  • Real-estate experts say no one is buying the townhouse because of its less prestigious location, museum-like grandeur, and long market history.

With steep prices for little space, the New York real-estate market is known to be a bit outrageous.

Even so, one of the city’s most lavish townhouses – with more than 8,000 square feet of living space – can’t find a buyer.

Dubbed an “architectural masterpiece” and “Versailles in Manhattan” by brokers, a 15-room neo-Georgian townhouse can arguably add “unsellable” to its list of nicknames.

The Upper East Side townhouse, owned by the commercial real-estate broker Kenneth Laub, has been on the market since April 2003 and now finds itself in the hands of its 12th set of residential brokers trying to sell the home, the New York Post reports.

Newly listed with agents at Douglas Elliman and Corcoran, the price has been slashed to $US19.75 million.

That’s quite the drop from its $US35 million asking price in December 2007, its heftiest price tag in the past 15 years. Word through the real-estate grapevine is that no other Manhattan townhouse has spent as much time bouncing around the market, according to the Post.

Laub purchased the home in 1986 for $US4 million. In 2009, when the home was still at its $US35 million asking price, he told the Observer: “If I’m overpriced, then so be it … If someone feels that the house is worth what I think it is worth, then they will buy it. And if not, then they won’t. And it’s not the end of the world one way or another.”

Even now, some real-estate experts find it priced a little higher than its “no man’s land” location calls for, according to the Post. Its price tag is more on par with sought-after townhouses that hold the prestige of Central Park and Fifth Avenue locations. A townhouse in the same area as this one recently sold for $US9.5 million in January, the Post reports.

Sources told the Post there were a few reasons buyers aren’t biting: The square footage is a bit misleading since it includes the finished basement, the property may have gained a bad reputation after sitting on the market for so long, and its gorgeous Versailles-inspired interiors, which came to life after Laub renovated the townhouse, may be a bit old-fashioned for the contemporary buyer.

Keep scrolling to see inside the townhouse.

The Versailles-inspired townhouse covers about 6,700 square feet across four stories. Counting the finished basement with inlaid marble and wood flooring and a window, it’s roughly 8,000 square feet. It was built in 1872 by the architect John G. Prague “in neo-Georgian style with an exterior facade of raked limestone and red clay brick” and has monthly real-estate taxes of $US8,290, according to the listing.

Source: Douglas Elliman

Laub renovated the townhouse after buying it for $US4 million in 1986. The entry forecourt includes a separate service entrance and radiant-heat footpath for snow removal. Among the home’s many features are 15 rooms, eight ornate fireplaces, eight marble baths, an elevator servicing all floors, a gym, and a rooftop garden.

Source: Douglas Elliman

But that’s just the beginning of its opulent interior. The Louis XIV-style living room features “10 canvas panels inspired by the Fragonard Room of the Frick Collection.”

Source: Douglas Elliman

Not far from the living room on the second floor is an English pine library dating back to 1872.

Source: Douglas Elliman

On the opposite end of the townhouse’s second floor is a sumptuous dining room — but it’s not worth a visit without bringing a bottle from the temperature-controlled wine cellar in the basement.

Source: Douglas Elliman

To get to the dining room, you’ll have to pass through a Belle Époque bar area featuring a Lalique-styled glass ceiling that illuminates the interior.

Source: Douglas Elliman

There are five bedroom suites in the top two floors of the townhouse, as well as cedar closets.

Source: Douglas Elliman

Despite all the grandeur, the lavish spread may not appeal to buyers seeking a more modern look.

Source: Douglas Elliman

There’s a beautiful European-designed rooftop garden.

Source: Douglas Elliman

Zoning permits approximately 1,400 square feet “to be added as a fifth floor with a private sixth-floor deck above.”

Source: Douglas Elliman

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