After its recent sale stalled, the old Steinway Mansion appears to be back on the block. Prudential Douglas Elliman, the real estate company who also listed the property in its last go-round, will again represent the property.
Previously, with an asking price of approximately $5MM, the home was on the market for over a decade. However, with an increasing interest from the owner in unloading the property, we wouldn't be surprised to see the price slashed significantly in this go-round.
Originally built by optician, Dr. Benjamin Pike, Jr. in 1856 as a weekend home, the 27-room granite home was still new when Pike died in 1864. Pike's widow occupied the residence for a decade before eventually selling the house and surrounding land to the Steinway family--who were in the process of moving their piano factory from lower Manhattan to Astoria.
The Steinways occupied the house for the next fifty years until the piano manufacturing business took a dive during the Great Depression and were forced to sell their home.
In 1926, a young, Turkish tailor named Jack Halberian surprised the neighborhood when he purchased the property in auction for $45,000. Halberian, a young blue collar worker was able to quietly amass a small fortune during World War I, when his services were in great demand. However, the early years of ownership for Halberian proved straining and he was forced to divide the home into boarding rooms for renters.
Today, the mansion is owned by Halberian's son, Michael, 82, a retired restauranteur, who can no longer afford the annual property taxes of over $20,000. Halberian has pleaded with local preservation groups to purchase the home (including the Queens Historical Society, whom Halberian reportedly gave them a price cut to $3MM), but after several unsuccessful deals, a weak economy, and a decreasingly popular location, the cards have, to date, been stacked against him.
The mansion sits at the end of 41st Street as the once unobstructed views of Long Island Sound have been replaced by a giant ConEd plant and countless industrial warehouses. Junk cars and overgrown foliage encircle the property, now guarded by several dogs...and a rooster
Although the portico above the main entrance has collapsed and the rear sun porch appears to be next, the home's basement has a much more contemporary feel. Several years ago, Halberian contracted a several million dollar renovation of the basement to feature a billiards room, a pub for entertaining, and ah hem, a large Roman bath.
Within the home, Halberian has amassed a collection of antiques likely worth more than the home itself--including 17th Century Italian furniture, Oriental rugs, a 1,000lbs Whitney chandelier, ancient maps, as well as canons and suits of armor.
Despite Halberian's reported interest in preserving the home, we found this listing
where the home is listed as a potential "corporate headquarters, community facility or WAREHOUSE".
How about we all chip in to make it the new WLA Headquarters?!
Here is a great slideshow
from the NY Times on the Steinway Mansion where most of these pictures came from.
To read more about the mansion, check out these great articles: