3,000 Sq. Ft. Upper East Side Co-op Sells for $2.7M | NYC Co-op Apartment Sales
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3,000 Sq. Ft. Upper East Side Co-op Sells for $2.7M

John Geary, III and Medora Smith Bross Geary just paid $2.7 million for an enormous 10-room pre-war co-op apartment buyer at 520 East 86th Street in Yorkville one Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

Pre-war co-ops of this size rarely come to market, and when they do, they usually go into contract quickly. Considering the size, location, and amenities of this apartment, the price for this Yorkville cooperative was a real bargain. A smaller apartment on the 14th floor in the same co-op sold for $3.785 million nearly two years ago.

John Geary is an analyst at the White Elm Capital edge fund. Medora, also known as ‘Dolly’, works as a grant writer for Goodwill Industries in New York city. The couple were married in 2003.

The seller was Francis Bessenyey, the heir of 19th Cenutry cooper magnate Marcus Daly, an Irish immigrant who headed westward in 1861 from New York in 1861 to make his mining fortune in Montana. With financing from wealthy backers like William Randolph Hearst, Daly was instrumental in creating the Anaconda Copper Mine through the the Anaconda Copper Mining Company, generating millions for himself and his investors.

Anaconda’s mining operations heavily polluted roughly 300 square miles of the surrounding area in Montana. Bought by the Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) in 1977, now a unit of BP (formerly known as British Petroleum), the former Anaconda mining area in Montana is one of the largest Superfund environmental cleanup sites in the country. In effect, it is a toxic asset.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:

The processing facilities at the site were developed to remove copper from ore mined in Butte from about 1884 through 1980. Milling and smelting produced wastes with high concentrations of arsenic, as well as copper, cadmium, lead and zinc. These contaminants pose potential risks to human health, to life in nearby streams, and to plants and animals in adjacent lands over some 300 square miles. In addition to the millions of cubic yards of tailings, furnace slag, flue dust, and square miles of soil contaminated by airborne wastes, millions of gallons of ground water have been polluted from wastes and soils. Arsenic is the primary COC and drives the remediation.

You can learn more about the devastating effects of the former Anaconda mining operations, the health and environmental hazards in this January 2009 EPA document.

Curiously, despite the potentially toxic environmental and health hazards that seller Francis Bessenyey’s relative Marcus Daly was instrumental in starting in Montana, Bessenyey appears to have chosen to stay there after selling his 520 East 86th Street co-op apartment. His wife, Eva Barcza Bessenyey, recently passed away in December 2009.

The doorman attended building is pet-friendly, and located just steps away from Carl Schurz Park and Gracie Mansion.

The apartment comes complete with it’s own environmental hazard, a wood-burning fireplace.

Warburg realty brokers Evie Muller and Jean Toedter had the exclusive listing for the sale. Their listing suggests that the apartment needs a little TLC; buyers are seduced into thinking that they can “return this remarkable residence to its gracious elegance.”

In addition to the fireplace, the apartment has another extremely rare feature: a loggia next to the master bedroom. It’s a wonderful place to read bedtime stories to the kids, or drink your coffee while reading the Times early in the morning.

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1 Ann Baranowski { 01.19.10 at 2:14 pm }

I think you meant William R. Hearst, not Hearts.

2 Anonymous { 01.19.10 at 2:38 pm }

Also, a little hypocritical, isn’t it, that your coop just made tons of money off those evil, nasty people…maybe you should send those of us who are still living in Montana, in the largest Superfund Site in the US some of the money that you made!

3 Co-op Board { 03.15.10 at 1:30 am }

Thanks, Ann.

4 Co-op Board { 03.15.10 at 1:53 am }


The co-op doesn’t really make big money from Francis Bessenyey’s sale of his NYC apartment . Bessenyey, the seller, did.

If the co-op a legal ‘flip tax’ that makes owners pay when selling their apartments, then the co-op have funds to put into the building’s financial reserves towards capital expenses (e.g., replacing the boiler or roof) or recurring expenses (e.g., building workers’ salaries).

Montana residents can always explore whether they may have any legal claims against another property owner for contaminating their property, or a Montana mining company for any health-related injuries that they may have suffered while working in a company’s mines (e.g., mesothelioma claims by asbestos miners, arsenic poisoning, bronchogenic carcinomas).

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