The sale has exceeded all hopes of the French Foreign Ministry: with an asking price of 48 million dollars, the duplex that served as the residence of the French Ambassador to the United Nations has finally been sold–for 70 million dollars.
New York correspondant for French magazine Paris Match Olivier O’Mahony reveals that the buyer is Israel Englander, an American financier. Englander is the founder of the hedge fund Millenium and is estimated to be worth around 3.3 billion dollars. The billionaire already lives in the prestigious building at 740 Park Avenue on the 14th floor, just above the newly sold real estate. Englander is not planning to move, however: the 700 square meter, 18 room apartment that spans the 12th and 13th floors will allow him to host his children and grand-children during their visits to New York.
Sources close to the transaction say that Englander expressed his interest in the property very early on, but he had some strong competition for closing the deal. “All of the billionaires in the city marched down to see the apartment,” says the ambassador Gérard Araud. A cut-throat auction followed many exclusive tours of the apartment, and it was Israel Englander who came out victorious. A major argument in his favor: already a property owner in the building, he should have no problem getting by the often difficult obstacle of “the board,” whose approval of new residents is neccesary.
The sale is a huge gain for the French government with little effort: as French Morning reported when the property was put on the market, the apartment was accquired for 600,000 dollars in 1979, which would equal around 2 million dollars today. This deal is even more significant considering that the newly appointed French Ambassador to the United Nations will move into an equally prestigious building (The River House on the East River, 52nd Street) for the modest sum of 7.8 million dollars. Gérard Araud will not be changing New York residences: he has just been appointed the French Ambassador to the United States, replacing François Delattre in Washington D.C., who will in turn take Araud’s place at the United Nations.