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Waterfall Gallery Gets Booted from Waterfall Mansion

Residents of the neighborhood most likely recognize the intricately patterned wrought-iron doors of 170 East 80th Street (between Third and Lex), but may not have known that a waterfall surrounded by a revolving exhibition of famous artworks — including those by Picasso, Chagall, and Warhol — occupied the space behind them. Now, the lavish townhouse is being handed over to a commercial mortgage lender in lieu of a foreclosure.

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In 2008, the 1899 carriage house was purchased for $8.5 million by Kate Shin, a Wall Street and real estate mogul and former child opera star. Previously, it was owned by D.D. and Leslie Tillett, a husband-and-wife textile design powerhouse whose patterns are featured in the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum and were worn by Jackie O., Greta Garbo, and Harry Truman.

According to the Robb Report, Shin enlisted architect Toshiko Mori to help her in a $20-million, four-year renovation that resulted in a space that housed the extravagant gallery in addition to a six bed, six-and-a-half bath residence with a full spa/gym, 1,000-bottle wine cellar and 2,000-square-foot terrace and garden.

But the distinguishing characteristic of this address is the waterfall. Twenty-two feet high, the wall of cascading water is a feature Shin added because, according to the gallery’s site, “growing up in Korea, every childhood home where she lived featured a waterfall.”

The gallery opened its doors in 2014, hosting art shows and other high-profile events. Shin says she initially saw the property as an investment and did list it several times since completing work. Although reports vary, The Real Deal reports that it was first listed in 2015 for $39 million and then again in 2021 for $34 million. Citing the devaluation of art due to the pandemic, Shin again listed the property in 2022, dropping the ask to $22 million.

ACRES, a commercial mortgage lender, sued Shin in 2021 for failure to make loan payments, owing an estimated $22 million on the property. The Real Deal reports that Shin signed over the deed to ACRES this month in lieu of foreclosure, with a $34.4 million valuation on the property, saying she prefers “to cut losses now from the property and refocus on our Waterfall art business brand and gallery,” which she’s aiming to relocate.


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  1. t-bo January 31, 2024

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