By Roland Li
The Vilcek Foundation, which promotes awareness of U.S. immigrants in the sciences, arts and culture, has purchased 21 East 70th Street for $15.5 million, according to city records.
Officials at Vilcek declined to comment.
The Foundation is currently located at 167 East 73rd Street, a building it purchased for $6.9 million in 2006, according to city records.
The seller of 21 East 70th Street was Felicie Balay, an art gallery owner and wife of the late art dealer Roland Balay. The property was formerly occupied by Hirschl & Adler Galleries, according to a listing by Jed Garfield and Matthew Pravda of Leslie J. Garfield & Co. The property had an asking price of $22.5 million.
The building is adjacent to Knoelder & Co., another art gallery, and on the same block as the Frick Museum. The 9,200 s/f, five-story building was built in 1920 and is 22 feet wide. It is zoned for residential or commercial usage.
“We had a good amount of interest,” said a spokesman for Leslie Garfield & Co., who said that the Vilcek Foundation would be renovating the entire building and eventually using it as a new office.
“I think it’s set up well for the Vilcek’s use,” he said.
In a separate listing, Leslie J. Garfield’s Matthew Lesser is currently marketing 232 East 63rd Street, a six-story, 9,100 s/f townhouse, for $27 million. The property has been renovated extensively over the last four years.
Lesser said that a lack of supply was boosting the townhouse market, and buyers were particularly interested in fully renovated properties.
City records show that Rocky Aoki, founder of Benihana restaurants, was the former owner of 232 East 63rd Street. Aoki passed away in 2008.[