Russian oligarch with ties to Putin is building NYC's biggest mansion

Roman Abramovich has started construction on the sprawling 31,500-square-foot estate in the midst of a visa battle and criminal investigation in Switzerland

We’ve all heard the saying, “Go big or go home,” but it seems that Russian-Isreali billionaire Roman Abramovich has chosen to do both. The steel tycoon is set to build the biggest single-family home in Manhattan, dwarfing the New York’s governor’s and mayor’s mansions by 11,500 square feet.

Roman Abramovich (Photo credit: ArticleBio.com)

Abramovich, who built his $11.7 billion fortune through investments in the steel and gas industries, has begun work on his 31,500-square-foot mega-mansion after years of steadily buying up properties along East 75th Street — starting with the purchase of 11 East 75th for $29.7 million in Oct. 2014.

He then purchased 15 East 75th, 13 East 75th and 9th East 75th for a total of $60.8 million over the next two years.

The New York Landmarks Preservation Commission in November 2017 provided the final approval, which combines townhomes on 9, 11, and 13 East 75th. The 15 East 75th Street townhome has been axed from the six-story floor plan that architect Stephen Wang exclusively provided to the New York Post. 

“New York residential design hasn’t seen this kind of luxury since the old, sprawling family mansions of Andrew Carnegie and Otto Kahn,” design and architecture magazine editor Sasha Josipovicz told the Post.

“It’s a perfect balance of form and function. It’s built like a palace but there are also a lot of intimate, family spaces.”

Wang’s blueprint includes 12 bathrooms, 5 bedrooms, two studies, five walk-in closets, two pools, an art gallery atrium, and a 17-foot-wide staircase that goes all the way up to the fourth floor. It also features two kitchens, a wine cellar, a roof garden, and the most stunning feature of all —  four-story glass wall along the backside of the property that looks down on a 30-foot-deep Japanese-style rock garden.

Beyond its extravagance, the home has garnered attention because of its owner, who has ties Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to a report by The GuardianAbramovich has been a long-time supporter of Putin, allegedly gifting him with a $50 million yacht before his first presidential election win in 2000 and selecting Kremlin cabinet members.

In the aftermath of the 2016 election where talk of Russian interference ran amok, New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio expressed worries about the influx of Russian oligarchs snapping up some of the city’s most expensive real estate in order to launder money.

“I see Russian oligarchs as a problem,” De Blasio told Buzzfeed in an Oct. 2017 interview. “It manifests here as a lot of people with ill-gotten gains buying a lot of property, and I don’t like it one bit. I wish I had a specific law or approach to defend it.”

In what some said was an attempt to protect his assets in the midst of an investigation by the Swiss government over money laundering and other criminal activities, Abramovich in September transferred the properties to his ex-wife Dasha Zhukova for a combined total of $90.5 million.

Construction has already begun on the mansion. However, a completion date has not been made public.

Email Marian McPherson.