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Rockefeller family's Manhattan apartment listed at US$11.5m

[NEW YORK] A Fifth Avenue co-op that belonged to former US vice-president Nelson Rockefeller, and has remained in his family for nearly 60 years, is seeking a new owner.

The four-bedroom unit spanning the 15th floor of 812 Fifth Ave was listed for sale Wednesday for US$11.5 million. The 3,990 square foot (371 square metres) apartment, acquired by Rockefeller in 1963, is now owned by his son, Nelson Rockefeller Jr, according to public records.

"Own a full floor of American history on Fifth Avenue," reads the listing by broker Clayton Orrigo and his team at Compass, touting a 295 square foot terrace overlooking Central Park.

The apartment comes to the market at a time when luxury sales are struggling amid the global pandemic and a migration of well-heeled New Yorkers out of the city. In August, there was only one signed contract for a Manhattan co-op priced at US$10 million or higher, according to a report by appraiser Miller Samuel and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate. At the same time, co-op listings in that price range climbed 42 per cent.

"The bulk of activity right now in the market is below US$2 million," said Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel. "Activity is much weaker at the high end of the market. That same apartment today would not get what it would have a year ago."

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Orrigo, the listing agent, said would-be buyers who are staying local are shopping for opportunities they might not have had otherwise.

"People are saying 'I want a trophy, I believe in New York in the long run, and I can get it now,'" he said in an interview.

The elder Rockefeller once connected the apartment to a unit he owned at an adjacent building, through a small flight of steps, according to the listing. After his death in 1979, the apartments were separated. The unit for sale was owned by his second wife, then transfered to their son in 2017.

"The historical pedigree is interesting," Orrigo said. "I think owning 75 feet on Central Park is more interesting - and rare."

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