This Art Deco imbued structure was designed by renowned architect, Rosario Candela and Arthur Loomis Harmon. The 18-story structure, located at 740 Park Avenue, is clad in limestone and features a fluted, two-story base. Striking granite door surrounds at the main entrance and the side street entrance with an address of 71 East 71st Street, are flanked with substantial foliated shafts supporting finials.
Above the third, ninth and 11th floors, stringcourses provide horizontal definition to the structure. At the 14th floor, the building sets back; each setback is highlighted with an iron railing. Decorative urns, vertical lines, and floriated patterns add to the fine detailing of the façade. There are 31 residences in the building ranging in size from nine to 34 rooms. Most of the apartments are duplexes and feature exceptionally high ceilings, fireplaces, and rooms and hallways of grand proportions. The building was developed by James T. Lee, developer and grandfather to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. In 1936, John D. Rockefeller Jr. moved into one of the penthouses in building. In Rockefeller’s day, the inhabitants of 740 Park Avenue were largely industrialists and landowners. Today, the building is dominated by hedge fund billionaires and private equity types. According to New York Magazine, Saul Steinberg, billionaire and former owner of the Reliance Insurance Group sold apartment 15/16 B in 2000 to Blackstone Group CEO, Stephen A. Schwarzman, for slightly above or below $30 million, reportedly the highest price ever paid on Park Avenue at the time. According to a 2009 article in The New York Observer, John Thain, the former chief executive of Merrill Lynch, and now second in command at Bank of America, owns one of the lesser penthouses in the building. The apartment had been owned by the late philanthropist, Enid A. Haupt. As further noted in a 2008 article in The New York Observer, Courtney Sale Ross, Time Warner creator Steve Ross’ widow put this apartment on the market “quietly” for $60 million. As noted in Wikipedia, other individuals who have called 740 Park Avenue home include: Janet Lee Bouvier, Walter Chrysler’s three children, William Harkness, Samuel Bronfman, Ronald Perelman, Elinor Dorrance (Campbell Soup heiress), Frank Gould, Winston Lord, (head of the Council on Foreign Relations and a Pillsbury heir), David H. Koch (occupies an 18-room duplex on the fourth and fifth floors said to have been purchased in 2005 for $17 million), Ronald Lauder, (son of Estée Lauder and brother of Leonard Lauder), Steve Ross (late CEO of Time Warner) , Thelma Chrysler Foy (automobile heiress), Arthur and Joseph Santry (CEOs of Combustion Engineering) and Vera Wang, (inherited a 10th and 11th floor duplex from her father, C.C. Wang). For further information on 740 Park Avenue: Author Michael Gross published a detailed book on the building and its history, 740 Park: The Story of the World’s Richest Apartment Building.