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Landmarked Midtown house sells for $7.3 million

Posted On: 06-10-2015

By Darrell Hofheinz Daily News Staff Writer

Built in the Roaring ’20s, a Mediterranean-style house at 233 Clarke Ave. has sold for $7.3 million after sparking a debate this spring over whether it deserved landmark status.

In March, the Town Council decided the Midtown house should, indeed, be added to the landmarks list, voting 3-2 to do so over the objections of its owner, antiques dealers and decorator Milicent Calicchio, known as Lee. Her attorney had told the Landmarks Commission the previous month that Calicchio feared the house would be more difficult to sell if it were landmarked.

Her fears proved unfounded. Via a deed recorded June 4, Calicchio sold the seven-bedroom house to a married couple — New York City attorneys Gwendolyn Robosson Fragomen and Austin Fragomen. They are happy with the landmark designation, which protects the house’s street-side facades from significant alteration, Austin Fragomen said Wednesday. The Fragomens will be carrying out a restoration, just as they did with their 1870s-era New York townhouse, he added. The couple also owns an 1895 oceanside home in Bay Head, N.J.

Calicchio, who like the Fragomens has ties to New York City, paid $900,000 for the Clarke Avenue house in 1990, property records show. She extensively reworked the floor plan, she said last year in a Daily News article about the house.

The property had been on the market for more than two years and was last listed by Sotheby’s International Realty agent Cristina Condon at about $7.5 million. The house has 6,094 square feet of living space, inside and out.

“There is nothing unique about this house,” attorney Ron Kolins, representing Calicchio, told the council three months ago. “So many things have happened to this two-story box.

”But the town’s historic preservation consultant, Emily Stillings, argued that although the house had been altered over the years and was not as grand as other landmarked houses of its era, it was still noteworthy. “I believe if you want to preserve the character of the town you need to look at preserving homes similar to this,” Stillings told the council before it upheld the recommendation of the Landmarks Commission.

Agent Suzanne Ainsley, also of Sotheby’s, acted on behalf of the buyers, who are avid sailboaters and active on the regatta circuit. Austin Fragomen is CEO of the law firm Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy LLP, where his wife is a partner.

 

Source: Darrell Hofheinz, June 10, 2015, Palm Beach Daily News

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