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REAL ESTATE AND BUILDERS NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 27, 1913 I THE FRONTIER FOR MILLIONAIRES' HOMES The Deadline at 96th Street Has Been Reached—Will It Be Passed ?—Reminis- | cence of the Old Fifth Avenue—When the Millionaires First Began to Build There. j ■■■■llllllllllllllilllllllllillllllllllllllB FIFTH avenue in the Nineties is hardly less sparsely settled than it was in the Fifties forty years ago. The two sections and the two periods can very profitably be compared, the one as the prototype of the other. A photograph taken at S4th street in the year 1877, thirty-six years ago, shows tliree of the corners still va¬ cant. St. Luke's Hospital occupied the lilock between S4th and SSth streets. There were still many vacant lots there¬ abouts, although there had been con¬ siderable building in that memorable era of real estate speculation which be¬ gan in 1868 and continued until the panic of 1873. In thc fashionable district between of the next year numerous residences were building for millionaires in the district, and naturally there were some merchant builders in a position to fol¬ low the lead of those whose investments were giving tone to the neighborhood and guaranteeing the success of the op¬ erations. It thus happened that there was an appearance of something like prosperity in that part of the city. The So-Called Deadline. From Col. Ruppert's house northward there is a long succession of beautiful sites for millionaires' mansions waiting for the builders. Either we have no more speculators of equal courage to those who operated in the lower Fifth 92d to 96th street was very inactive, and, although it was in strong hands, the prices were steadily reduced, until about a year ago, when a very distinct revival of interest appeared in that neighbor¬ hood. During the past year there have been a number of very prominent purchases, especially in the vicinity of 93th and 96th streets. In 96th street the first impor¬ tant improvement took place when Ogden Codman built his new 40-foot residence. Shortly after this, Judge Gerard bought a 40-foot lot on Fifth avenue, between 94th and 9Sth streets, and he was quickly followed by Miss Brice, who purchased a 30-foot lot be¬ tween 9Sth and 96th streets. The residence of Felix M. LOOKING .NORTH ON FIFTH AVENUE FROM 92D STREET. Warburg at the north corner ot 92d Street, the home ot Col. Jacob Ruppert at the south corner ot 03d Street, and Mount Sinai Hospital in the distance. Madison and Fifth avenues, 42d and S9th streets, three hundred and fifty of the choicest lots were still unimproved when the panic arrived. Many of these passed slowly into the hands of wealthy families and a few strong, conservative builders. The Rockefeller Purchases. Collis P. Huntington picked up choice parcels during this period. When John D. Rockefeller bought from Mr. Hunt¬ ington, in 1884, his dwelling and stable in S4th street on a frontage of 162 feet, he no doubt considered it i "hazardous undertaking," like some of his other in¬ vestments. William Rockefeller now has one of those corner lots at S4th street. He paid Joseph Vanderpool only $50,000 for it in 1876. At the pres¬ ent time he is assessed for $1,056,000 for 50x225- ft., e.xclusive of the house. During the centennial year business aflfairs began to brighten and by the first avenue sections, or else conditions are different up here, on the new frontier. An Interesting Study. The northward tendency of the fine private house business has been a most interesting study during the past fifteen years. When Pease & Elliman sold Mr. Carnegie the property at 91st street and Fifth avenue many of the most promi¬ nent real estate men in the city assured them that Mr. Carnegie had never pur¬ chased the property for his own use, al¬ though the firm knew to the contrary; and it was also said that anyone who bought on the strength of Mr. Carnegie building a residence for his own use would lose a lot of money in this dis¬ trict, which at that time was covered with the poorest sort of irnprovements. During the next two years property in¬ creased in value by leaps and bounds, and, in fact, kept on increasing until about 1905. For awhile the section from The buying in the side streets then showed very great strength, the first important purchase being made by Ernesto G Fabbri, who married a daughter of the late Elliott F. Shepard. He purchased 100 feet on the north side of 95th street, 150 feet east of Fifth avenue. On the westerly 50 feet of this plot he will buijd a very handsome resi¬ dence, similar in character to those erected on the north side of 92d street by Mr. Hammond and Mr. Burden. Immediately west of Mr. Fabbri Pease & Elliman then sold SO feet to Mrs. .A.mory S. Carhart, of Tuxedo, and Mrs. Carhart now has under construction a very handsome SO-foot residence, which will be one of the finest residences of its size in the city. Mrs. Carhart, Mr. Michael Van Beuren, and some other friends then purchased the 100 feet on the south side of 95th street, which was held in one plot and was unrestricted.