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Heiress Huguette Clark's apartments hit the market, listed at $55 million

Brown Harris Stevens

The view from one of reclusive heiress Huguette Clark's three apartments, 12W, on the top floor of 907 Fifth Avenue by Central Park. At right is the pond where Stuart Little, the fictional mouse, sailed boats in the E.B. White classic. Clark occupied this apartment from the 1920s until just after her mother died in 1963. She then renovated her mother's apartment on the 8th floor and moved into it. She left in 1992 for a hospital, and died in 2011 at age 104.

NEW YORK —The three New York City apartments owned by the mysterious heiress Huguette Clark have been listed for sale, with a total asking price of $55 million, even as the legal contest over her $400 million estate is just beginning.

"Butterfield 8 - the exchange number found on the old dial telephone - sets the tone for what this apartment represents: timeless grace; high style and prime location," the listing brokers wrote in their description, marketing the apartments as a time capsule from New York's Gilded Age. The apartments are listed by Brown Harris Stevens, an exclusive affiliate of Christie's International Real Estate.

The apartments will need significant work. They are described as "a diamond in the rough."


The three apartments cost the reclusive heiress to a Montana copper fortune $28,500 a month in co-op fees, or $342,000 a year, while she lived for two decades in New York hospital rooms. Huguette Marcelle Clark has been the subject of a series of reports on msnbc.com about her vacant properties and the management of her fortune. When she died last May at age 104, she owned three apartments at 907 Fifth Avenue, at 72nd Street, overlooking Central Park's Conservatory Water, the sailboat pond where the mouse Stuart Little sailed in the E.B. White story, near the statute of Alice in Wonderland.

Her three apartments have a total of 42 rooms. Two of her apartments make up the entire eighth floor, or about 10,000 square feet, with another 5,000 square feet in an apartment that occupies half of the top floor, the 12th. (She also owned an oceanfront estate in Santa Barbara, Calif., with an estimated value of $100 milliion, and a country home in New Canaan, Conn., which has been on the market for $24 million.)

No photos of the inside of the apartments are available yet — they are still being cleared of her property, including her collections of dolls and fine paintings.

But floorplans were released by the brokers at Brown Harris Stevens. And the listings are here, for apartment 8E, apartment 8W, and apartment 12W.

Here are the three apartments:

Apartment 8W, listed at $19 million, is where Huguette Clark lived from 1964 until she moved out in 1992 to a hospital, leaving the furnished apartment without an occupant. With 5,000 square feet of space, this apartment has 100 feet of frontage on Fifth Avenue and 10 rooms, including a sitting room that is 20 by 26, and an entry gallery that is 12 by 37. There are "expansive views above the trees of Central Park through 9 enormous windows."

Brown Harris Stevens

Apartment 8E, listed at $12 million, has no frontage on Central Park, but has 12 rooms and 5,000 square feet. "The extraordinary windowed gallery, 47 feet by 13 feet, with beautiful herringbone floors, opens to the 29-foot corner living room; the library; the reception room and the formal dining room. All rooms are generously proportioned and flooded with light through enormous windows. The ceilings are high; the walls are expansive and in great condition - an art collector's dream."

Brown Harris Stevens

Apartment 12W, on the market for $24 million, also has 5,000 square feet. Huguette Clark and her mother, Anna, moved here in the 1920s. The daughter lived here from her divorce in 1930 until 1964, shortly after her mother died. It has 14 rooms with most of the main rooms looking west at Central Park. "The apartment stretches the full length of the Fifth Avenue facade of the building, offering over 100 feet of frontage on the Avenue and exceptional views of Central Park and the West Side skyline. Light streams through the nine oversized windows on the Fifth Avenue exposure. The magnificent 37-foot gallery features 11-foot ceilings, stone door surrounds, linen-fold panel doors and beautiful herringbone floors. From the corner master bedroom, one enjoys views over the model sailboat pond all the way north to the George Washington Bridge. While one needs to envision the apartment brought up to date for today's lifestyle, the bones are here for a unique and fabulous residence."

 

Brown Harris Stevens

The view from 8W, a view that Huguette Clark gave up for the last 20 years of her life.

Earlier estimates by real estate agents put the value of the apartments at about $70 million, $15 million more than they were listed for. The value of the two apartments on the 8th floor would increase, the brokers said, if the co-op board allowed them to be combined.

When the apartments sell, some of the money will be used to pay estate expenses, with the rest will be held for the eventual winner of the legal battle.

Clark signed two wills when she was 98. The first will left nearly everything to her family, the children of her father's first marriage. The second will, signed just six weeks later, was more detailed, excluding her family entirely and making plans for an art museum in her California oceanfront home (with $100 million in real estate, $100 million in artwork, and $10 million in cash), and leaving about $36 million to her nurse ($27 million after taxes), a $40 million Monet to the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, with smaller gifts to a godchild, her doctor, her attorney, her accountant and others. The family has accused Clark's nurse, attorney and accountant of colluding, while the attorney and accountant have said that Clark's wishes were expressed specifically in the second will.

Clark and her mother moved into the building in 1927 or 1928 after the death of Huguette's father, the former Sen. William Andrews Clark, in 1925. The mother and daughter moved down Fifth Avenue from the family's enormous home, with 121 rooms at 962 Fifth Avenue, which was being demolished. Just a five-minute walk away, the Italian palazzo-style apartment building at 907 Fifth Avenue was designed by renowned architect J.E.R. Carpenter.

It had the most expensive apartments in the city when it opened in 1915. The head of Standard Oil, Herbert L. Pratt, rented the entire 12th floor. As The New York Times tells it, the architect, "Mr. Carpenter, who was described as 'the father of the modern large apartment' in New York City, was one of the building’s first residents. In the 1920s, he lived alongside oil barons, a tinplate king, a president of the New York Stock Exchange, and a Russian prince." After Pratt moved out, the Clark mother and daughter moved into the 12th floor. The mother later moved to the 8th floor. After she died in 1963, Huguette Clark moved down to 8, leaving 12 for storage of her dollhouses and other furnishings.

Guests enter the limestone building through a canopy-protected doorway on 72nd Street into a lobby with a coffered ceiling and a striking stone staircase. Amenities include full-time doormen, a full gymnasium and a landscaped rooftop garden.

Photos of other apartments in the building are availble in a previous story, You can move into heiress Huguette Clark's building, for $25 million.

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Reporter Bill Dedman is continuing to report on the Clark story, and is writing a nonfiction book about the Clark family. If you have information, you can reach him at bill.dedman@msnbc.com.

Previous stories in the Huguette Clark mystery series on msnbc.com:

William Andrews Clark Memorial Library

The young copper heiress Huguette Clark with one of her dolls. She died in May 2011 at age 104. Her apartments, said to be the largest in New York City, are now for sale.

Archive of all stories, photos and videos.

Photo narrative, "The Clarks: An American story of wealth, scandal and mystery," Feb. 26, 2010.

Printable version of the photo narrative, Feb. 26, 2010.

Clark family notes and sources, Feb. 26, 2010.

Investigative report, part one, "At 104, the mysterious heiress Huguette Clark is alone now: Relatives are kept away. Only her accountant and attorney visit. Who protects HuguetteClark, with 3 empty homes and no heirs?" Aug. 19, 2010.

Investigative report, part two, "Who is watching Huguette Clark's millions? Reclusive heiress's assets are sold by two advisers, one an accountant with a felony conviction. Another elderly client signed over his property to the same accountant and attorney," Aug. 20, 2010.

"Criminal probe begins into the finances of reclusive heiress Huguette Clark: Manhattan DA's Elder Abuse Unit is on the case. The same unit prosecuted the Brooke Astor case; Clark has about four times the wealth," Aug. 24, 2010.

"Report sparks welfare check on heiress Huguette Clark," Aug. 25, 2010.

"Generosity of an heiress: four homes for a nurse, gifts for attorney's family," Sept. 1, 2010.

"Huguette Clark, the reclusive heiress, has signed a will, attorney says," Sept. 2, 2010.

"Family of copper heiress asks court to protect her from attorney, accountant," Sept. 3, 2010.

"Attorney for 104-year-old heiress defends his handling of her finances," Sept. 7, 2010.

"Judge leaves pair under investigation in control of heiress Huguette Clark's fortune," Sept. 9, 2010.

"Huguette Clark, the reclusive copper heiress, dies at 104," May 24, 2011.

"Family excluded from Huguette Clark burial," May 26, 2011.

"Heiress Huguette Clark's will leaves $1 million to advisers," June 22, 2011.

"The 1 percent of the 1 percent: How Huguette Clark's millions were spent," Nov. 19, 2011.

"A $400 miillion twist: Huguette Clark signed two wills, one to her family," Nov. 28, 2011.

"Tax fraud alleged in estate of heiress Huguette Clark; accountant resigns," Dec. 21, 2011.

"Nurse, in line to inherit millions, battles family of heiress Huguette Clark," Dec. 22, 2011.

"Judge bounces attorney and accountant from estate of heiress Huguette Clark," Dec. 23, 2011.

"Book coming on reclusive heiress Huguette Clark and her family," Feb. 3, 2012.

"You can move into heiress Huguette Clark's building, for $25 million," Feb. 6, 2012.

 "Family of heiress Huguette Clark claims fraud by nurse, attorney, accountant," Feb. 15, 2012.