Virtu’s Viola Cuts Price for New York Home to $98 Million

It hasn’t been high-frequency trader Vincent Viola’s best year.

His trading firm, Virtu Financial Inc., shelved plans for an initial public offering amid the furor stirred up by author Michael Lewis’s “Flash Boys,” a critique of the industry published in March. His hockey team, the Florida Panthers, won only a third of its games last season.

Now he’s cut the offering price for his six-floor, 19-room Manhattan townhouse, nine months after putting it on the market. The home, described in a real estate listing as exuding the “ultimate in sophistication and grandeur,” was reduced last week to $98 million from $114 million, according to property website StreetEasy.com.

The decision coincides with intense scrutiny of firms like New York-based Virtu, which use computers to automatically place trades for stocks, futures and other assets in tiny fractions of a second. Besides the firestorm spurred by Lewis’s best-selling book, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is investigating allegations that high-frequency traders have unfair advantages in the $24 trillion U.S. stock market.

Alan Sobba, a spokesman for Virtu, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment on the price reduction.

Should Viola’s home at 12 E. 69th St. sell at the reduced price, it would still be among the priciest deals ever in the city. In 2012, former Citigroup Inc. Chairman Sanford Weill sold his penthouse condominium for $88 million, the most expensive completed purchase of a New York residential property.

Panic Room

Since then, two contracts have been signed at more than $90 million each for condos at Extell Development Co.’s newly built One57 skyscraper in Midtown. A penthouse at nearby 432 Park Ave., under construction, found a buyer at $95 million.

Viola gutted his Upper East Side property, which was built in 1884, according to Corcoran Group, the brokerage handling the sale. It features “soaring 12-32 foot ceilings, palatial entertaining space, the finest European-imported materials and state-of-the-art systems,” which “make it an unrivaled modern-day trophy home,” according to a listing on Corcoran’s website. The current owners “spared no expense on an exquisitely detailed renovation, including a panic room.”

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