This NYC home comes with an unusual backyard perk — and the property just sold for $14M

This NYC home comes with an unusual backyard perk — and the property just sold for $14M

In the upscale enclave of the West Village, a notable townhouse has changed hands, drawing attention not only for its storied past but also for its distinctive features, most notably a contentious treehouse addition. Formerly owned by David Byrne, the frontman of Talking Heads, the property at 50 W. 12th St. fetched a considerable sum of $14 million, slightly below its initial asking price of $15.5 million, as first reported by Curbed.

Constructed in the Anglo Italianate style and dating back 170 years, the rowhouse spans an impressive 21 feet in width. Boasting five woodburning fireplaces, a private roof terrace, and a spacious interior encompassing 5,000 square feet, the residence presents an attractive package for prospective buyers. Notably, nestled within its grounds is a unique addition: a circular cedar treehouse suspended ten feet above the ground in the backyard.

Richard Orenstein of Brown Harris Stevens, the listing agent, remarked on the treehouse’s distinctive appeal, describing how it captivated visitors, especially children, during showings. Originally installed by the seller, artist Melinda Hackett, to provide an engaging space for her children, the treehouse adds an extra layer of charm to the property, reminiscent of a genie’s bottle with its draped sheets and pillow seating.

Despite its endearing qualities, the treehouse has not been without controversy. A neighbor’s complaint regarding the structure’s lack of building permits and its location within a historic district initially raised concerns. However, Hackett ultimately received approval from the city to retain the treehouse, largely due to its discreet placement, shielded from street view.

As the property changes hands once more, there are uncertainties regarding the fate of the beloved treehouse. Louise Phillips Forbes, representing the anonymous buyer, hinted at potential renovations, suggesting that the future owner may not prioritize the maintenance of the whimsical structure. While the house’s character and charm are appreciated, it appears likely that changes may be in store for the iconic backyard addition.