Songwriting Socialite Denise Rich Tops NYC Market With $65M Listing

Denise Rich's penthouse boasts 20 rooms, many with a stunning view.

Denise Rich is looking to downsize. SOURCE: New York Post

Talk about hitting the high note. That’s exactly what one of the most successful songwriters has done with her decision to downsize and sell her soaring Fifth Avenue penthouse.

With 20 rooms, 3 kitchens, 11 bathrooms and wrap-around terraces — one of which was hosed over for a house party that called for a regulation-sized skating rink — it’s a luxurious and sprawling triplex that trumps even the highest of living standards of the Big Apple’s socialite set.

Add to it the fact that its owner is Denise Rich, herself a shoe heiress and the ex-wife of a Swiss financier Marc Rich — the man who got a controversial and last-minute pardon from outgoing President Bill Clinton — it’s no wonder that news of the $65 million Manhattan real estate listing has raised the volume, and the ceiling, in New York City real estate circles.

The penthouse, which has been the epicenter of Rich’s sensationally well-connected world of musical collaboration, political fundraising and charitable enterprise — now rings in as the most expensive co-op for sale in New York.

It is a fascinating void being filled, given that in late 2011, an $88 million apartment at 15 Central Park West that belonged to former Chase founder Sandy Weill was sold to Russian fertilizer billionaire, Dmitry Rybololev, who thought it was a good place to park his 22-year-old equestrian daughter, and some of his cash.

While Weill’s $88 million apartment sale was the result of the former financier’s fall from grace, Rich’s decision to sell is strictly personal. The mother of two grown daughters who live in Europe — she lost a third daughter to leukemia in 1996 — Rich told the New York Post that she no longer needs the space.

It’s no wonder, though, that Rich vouched for the memories and experiences she has had living at 785 Fifth Avenue. Music industry titans like Stevie Wonder, Celine Dion and Patti LaBelle have been some of the many guests of the woman whose songs have been performed by Aretha Franklin, NeYo and Daughtry.

According to Corcoran Group, which holds the alluring listing, Rich’s triplex:

The largest-ever offering of a Penthouse on Fifth Avenue is the epitome of luxury and grandeur …

The upper level is home to the grand salon and the most amazing views of Central Park and the Manhattan skyline to be found. The room has beautiful striated marble floors, 11′ ceilings and custom mahogany doors.

The chef’s kitchen is adjacent to the dining room, which can accommodate seated dinners for 22 and has views stretching from Grand Army Plaza to Columbus Circle and all of Central Park.

A library of custom-milled Fiddleback mahogany boasts one of the two fireplaces and a private terrace. The Master Suite is also on this floor with a gas fireplace, two full en-suite bathrooms, sitting room and closets beyond imagination.

The lower level is comprised of six bedrooms, large media room, professional recording studio, billiard room, two kitchens and a complete gym overlooking Central Park. A private roof terrace on the top floor is the perfect spot for a grand gathering.

Truly incomparable. Pied-a-terre and international purchasers welcomed.

Rich said she intends to buy a smaller New York apartment home, where she will continue to be a major player in New York social and philanthropic circles. In addition to other charities with which she is associated, Rich started The Gabrielle Rich Leukemia Research Foundation in 1996.

But her reputation in the music and social circles could not be dented by her ex-husband’s travails. According to this remembrance by David Patrick Columbia’s New York Social Diary shows what kind of life Rich has had in that stunning New York apartment:

The first time I ever heard about Denise Rich was a number of years ago at Christmastime. It was in reference to a holiday party she gave at her triplex penthouse apartment overlooking Central Park. She had had the terraces surrounding her apartment flooded for the event, and hired professional figure skaters to dance around on the ice for the benefit of the hundreds of guests who were cozy and toasty inside looking out. It was one of those moments where the most sophisticated New Yorkers were momentarily astonished. Knowing her as I do now, I would guess she was inspired to stage a deeply nostalgic re-creation of one of those moments of winters of her own growing up in central Massachusetts where snow and ice-skaters dominated the landscape.