In July, around the same time the financier pedophile Jeffrey Epstein was being arrested at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey, the FBI took a crowbar to the doors of his massive New York townhouse on East 71st Street, conducting a search that lead them to confiscate thousands of illicit photos of underage girls. A month later, Epstein was found dead in his jail cell in lower Manhattan—he had apparently hung himself. But the sordid saga of Epstein—his crimes, his vast network of accomplices and co-conspirators—is far from over.
His victims have filed lawsuits against his estate. His Caribbean getaway, nicknamed "Pedophile Island" by locals, was raided by law enforcement two days after his death. And Prince Andrew continues to be haunted by never-ending reports detailing their relationship.
Many might also want to know: what will happen to that Upper East Side manse? The one he reportedly got from billionaire pal Leslie Wexner for just $0 and turned into a house of horrors, where he abused scores of girls (the New York Times reported this week that Epstein used dance studios as a hunting ground for victims). Plus, there was his creepy decorating aesthetic: a life-size doll hanging from a chandelier, a giant mural of himself in a prison yard, and a painting of Bill Clinton in a dress.
Let's consider the townhouse apart from its owner. Valued at somewhere between $55 and $77 million, the 50-foot-wide (a rarity in this city), seven story home is one of the largest private homes in Manhattan. It was built in 1930 and designed by the famous Horace Trumbauer, the preferred architect of Gilded Age robber barons, whose works include the Elms mansion in Newport and the Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library at Harvard. Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece is a neighbor, while the Frick is just across the street. To own this historic 40-room mansion would be a coup for any billionaire.
But factoring in Epstein, its future becomes more complicated. When the house goes on the market, the sale will be a challenging one, says Pamela D'Arc, a real estate broker at Compass who was ranked fifth on TheRealDeal's list of 2017's top Manhattan agents. "I wouldn't call this a scandal," she says. "It's far worse. There are definitely people who wouldn't touch it."
The stigma may well plague this house for years to come. Would you really want to be the person who lives in Jeffrey Epstein's old house? "It's a notoriety you don't want to be associated with," D'Arc says, all the more so if you have a family to raise.
But real estate, in the end, is really all about the price. And as long as the home is priced right, D'Arc believes that there will be a buyer who cares more about the home's structure, uniqueness, location, and provenance, than about what went on inside. "If it's priced appropriately, people do all kinds of things," she says. "They have feng shui experts."
Follow House Beautiful on Instagram.
You Might Also Like