Published On: Wed, Aug 20th, 2014

Billionaire Leon Black and wife Debra Buying Upper East Side Home for $50 Million

19 East 70th Street

The billionaire manager of a private equity fund Leon Black and his wife Debra who is a Broadway producer are buying a new Manhattan home on the Upper East Side for $50 million.

Currently owned by the London developer Christian Candy, 19 East 70th Street, between Fifth and Madison Avenues near Central Park, is a 17, 000 square foot, 34 foot wide Italian Renaissance-style home. Known as the Morris Mansion, it was designed by Thornton Chard and commissioned by David H. Morris and his wife, Alice Vanderbilt Morris.

The new owners are said to be looking at an additional expense of $20 million to renovate the 104 year old building. The Blacks will have to pay $222, 835 in annual property taxes, but they can probably afford it.

The limestone mansion is covered in hardwood floors, with wide open spaces, six antique marble fireplaces, the original coffered ceilings, a grand curving staircase and it has a two floor library. There are eight bedrooms and seven bathrooms.

The four floor house has three arches on the ground floor in front of the receded entranceway. There is a floor wide balcony on the second floor and a short balcony over its third floor. The roof is covered in green slate tiles and has two terraces, one of which has a spectacular view of Central Park.

The house received landmark status in 1974.

The property was once the Knoedler & Company art gallery.

Candy bought it in 2013 for $35 million after its price was dropped from as high as $59.5 million. He had sought as much as $55 million for it after securing permits to change the commercially zoned property into a residential one.

In other Leon Black news, his publishing company, Phaidon, has just acquired Artspace.com, an Internet startup that sells works by contemporary artists.

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