February 20th 2014
The New York Observer
Home to diplomats and financial titans of yesteryear, Hollywood types and captains of industry, 1 Sutton Place South, a Candela structure dating to 1926, has ample reason to cling to tradition. “This is a very, very selective building,” June Gottlieb, a broker at Warburg Realty who has done work in the building, recently told The Observer. “It always has been. It still is. It always will be.” While other old-world co-ops like River House have relaxed once-unforgiving interview processes and begun to allow financing on purchases, 1 Sutton Place has remain unchanged. That all transactions at the building take place in cash reflects and perhaps facilitates the quiet and unflashy preferences of residents. “There is still a very elegant, understated stock of people in this building. They want to stay under the radar.” Not even the most reclusive co-op owner can hide from city records, though, and before long, the buyers of a unit in the “A line”—the building’s fanciest—last listed for $14 million and newly in contract, will be revealed. (Unless 1 Sutton does the unheard of and permits the buyer to use a limited liability corporation.)
For now, though, we will have to content ourselves with ogling some of their new stuff. Located roughly a third of the way up the building’s 14 stories, the apartment features 60 feet of East River frontage, “soaring ceilings” and 34 windows, which admit “extraordinary,” streaming light, according to the listing held by John Burger of Brown Harris Stevens. Its current six-bedroom configuration reflects the A-line’s palatial accommodations, which, in their original imagining, included four servant’s rooms, Ms. Gottlieb said. Also on hand are a 22-foot formal dining room, a wood-burning fireplace and a trio of Juliet balconies.
Despite its grandeur, 1 Sutton Place is not the best place for everyone—and the co-op board would no-doubt agree. “These apartments don’t sell quickly; you have to have a lot of patience.” Ms. Gottlieb said. “It is one of relatively few buildings left in Manhattan that still has summer work rules. You have to go with their flow.” Residents’ reluctance to adjust their sensibilities is such, Ms. Gottlieb said, that the co-op board would be unbothered if a unit were to stay on the market for weeks, or even months.
“Life has changed,” Ms. Gottlieb reflected. “The world has changed, and most people don’t have four live-in servants.” But the building has yet to change its standards. “And they won’t any time soon.”