JP Morgan backs renown art dealer’s foray into real estate

JP Morgan Chase Bank has provided a $33.6m loan backing the repositioning of a group of Manhattan buildings owned by the Wildenstein family, a dynasty of international art dealers.

JP Morgan Chase Bank has provided a $33.6m loan backing the repositioning of a group of Manhattan buildings owned by the Wildenstein family, a dynasty of international art dealers making a move into commercial real estate.

740 Madison, under construction
740 Madison, under construction

The family recently combined the ground level space of three townhouses at 740 Madison Avenue, 23 and 25 East 64th Street in the Upper East Side neighborhood, creating a 24,000 sq ft store that was leased in December to luxury fashion brand and retailer Bottega Veneta.

The financing also included the partial assumption of a previous $33m mortgage on the properties and a group of neighboring buildings.

The renovation project and the leasing of the space marks a foray into real estate for the Wildensteins, under the name Wildenstein Realty Corp. The conversion of the five-story, former commercial buildings will create a mix of commercial and residential space and was undertaken by David Wildenstein, the son of Guy Wildenstein, president of the Wildenstein & Co. art business.

An oil painting by Hubert Robert from a previous Wildenstein exhibit
An oil painting by Hubert Robert, from a previous Wildenstein exhibit

The buildings neighbor the Wildenstein & Co. art gallery and headquarters at 19 East 64th Street, which opened in 1932. The dynasty of French Jewish art dealers, stretching back five generations, is understood to be one of the most prestigious in international art.

The lender has a history of financing the property, dating back at least to 1987, when it provided a $1.2m mortgage on 740 Madison (as Chase Manhattan Bank, pre-dating the 2000 merger with J.P. Morgan & Co.). The firm declined to comment on the terms of the loans.

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