No sector of New York City’s luxury housing market surged as strongly during the Covid crisis quite like townhomes. These private residences, almost always featuring gardens and often balconies and terraces, became particularly desirable as wealthy New Yorkers craved privacy and outdoor space. Over the past three years, sales of townhouses hit their highest levels since 2015, with the median townhouse prices hitting $8.5 million in 2021, according to the Corcoran Group.
This year, demand for townhouses remains high, and inventory remains low. Which is why a new property at 45 West 70th in Manhattan is likely to move quickly. Just a short stroll from Central Park, the stunning manse is priced at a cool $17.5 million. It’s also huge: 8,550 square feet with seven bedrooms, four bathrooms and two half-bathrooms set on six floors topped by a private roof that can house a chic deck. Oh, and there’s also a lap pool and a Jacuzzi.
“Even among a city filled with unique homes, this property stands out because of its four floors of living/entertaining space,” says Compass agent Ian Slater, who holds the listing. “The ‘wow’ factor of a dramatic double-height ceiling along with the types of amenities typically found in a condominium building within the house” takes the home to a truly different level, he adds.
The townhouse dates back more than a century and was designed by notable architect Gilbert Schellenger, who’s responsible for some of the most important townhomes and private houses in New York. The creative is particularly known for favoring bold neo-Renaissance and neo-Romanesque-style homes, including 45 West 70th. In this case, the 20-foot wide property features telltale arched porticos and windows along its facade, along with the rigorous columns that typify Schellenger’s inimitable handiwork.
The home has undergone a meticulous renovation to both highlight its historic detail as well as bring it up to date for the 21st century and is laid out almost like a vertical mansion. On the lowest level, aka the cellar, are a suite of leisure amenities—most notably that pool, which stretches a full 33 feet in length and is six feet deep. Creating the aquatic space was no simple feat, Slater says. “This required excavation below grade and the installation of an entire pool and dehumidifier system, in addition to the pool equipment,” he explains. “The entire system requires special approvals and management.” The cellar also includes space for a private gym, a full bedroom and a bathroom, which are ideal for staff.
Just above is the garden level, which includes a massive, sun-filled kitchen, with large counter space and guest-friendly dining area. Outside is the private garden that has its own alfresco kitchen with custom planters. Just above on the parlor level—accessed from the outside via an iconic stoop—is a grand entryway capped by double-height coffered ceilings and accented by a grand mahogany staircase. There is also a dining room and a bar along with myriad fireplaces.
The floor above opens onto the parlor floor and features an office and living space, along with a home theater and a powder room, while just above, the primary floor is entirely inhabited by the primary suite. Here, there’s a grand bedroom with its own terrace, along with an indulgent bathroom clad in textured marble with a deep soaking tub and large steam shower. You’ll also find an additional bedroom and bath, as well.
Finally, the fourth floor comes with its own pair of wide bedrooms, both en suite—and one with its own skylight. Connecting it all is an elevator, which also reaches up to the roof, a space that has been overhauled and retrofitted to support a sizable roof-deck. The previous owners, says Slater, moved on because they no longer needed such a large home and left the city.
But the home, with its endless bells and whistles—both historic and newly built—is essentially move-in ready (and prepared for its next century of use). “Because the property was renovated by an individual owner rather than a developer, the spec level of the renovation and quality of finishes are extremely high,” Slater says. “This results in things such as heated sidewalks for snow melt, a saline system in the pool to remove chlorine smells, 11 zones of air-conditioning with generator backup and high-end sound-attenuating windows.”
Check out more images for a grand Manhattan townhouse close to Central Park below.