The Mysterious History of Les Wexner House

Les Wexner, the billionaire founder of retail giants like Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works, made his fortune selling affordable lingerie and personal care products to the masses. However, his own lifestyle was anything but ordinary. Wexner spent lavishly on real estate, amassing a portfolio of properties that captured public attention for their size, opulence and mysterious histories. Of all Les Wexner House, two stand out for their grandeur and controversy – the New Albany compound and the Manhattan townhouse. These landmark properties offer a window into the enigmatic world of Wexner and reflect the enduring fascination with his legacy.


Leslie “Les” Wexner has been a towering figure in American retail for decades. As the founder and CEO of companies like The Limited, Victoria’s Secret, and Bath & Body Works, Wexner helped shape shopping malls and forever changed the landscape of intimate apparel and beauty products.

With a net worth estimated at over $7 billion, Wexner could afford luxuries on a grand scale. He became renowned not just for his business acumen but also for the lavish real estate he acquired across the country. From his Ohio compound to his Upper East Side townhouse, Les Wexner House properties attracted media coverage for their staggering price tags, impressive designs, and air of mystery.

Of all Wexner’s real estate, perhaps none captures the public imagination more than the majestic New Albany estate and the Manhattan townhouse that was transferred in contentious circumstances to Jeffrey Epstein. These two properties in particular highlight fascinating yet troubling aspects of the tycoon’s legacy.

II. The New Albany Compound

One of Les Wexner House most famous properties is the monumental compound he built in New Albany, Ohio. Situated on a stunning 300-acre estate about 15 minutes outside Columbus, the home spans approximately 55,000 square feet of living space.

Constructed over 7 years in the 1990s, the limestone mansion includes amenities like a bowling alley, full movie theater, indoor and outdoor pools, and a 10,000 square foot master bedroom suite. There is also a detached ice rink on the grounds that was modeled after Rockefeller Center.

The estate made headlines for its staggering cost, estimated at $47 million. When completed in 1995, it was considered the most expensive private residence ever built in Ohio. Architects and designers were flown in from around the world to realize Wexner’s vision.

The result was an architectural showpiece, melding Old World European style with modern technological innovations. Crystal chandeliers, Italianate fountains, French limestone, and Spanish wrought ironwork dazzled visitors.

At the same time, state-of-the-art electrical, security, and heating systems were installed to cater to Wexner’s every need. There was even an underground tunnel system to allow household staff to move about unseen.

Given its grandeur and connection to Wexner’s retail empire, the New Albany Les Wexner house became something of a local legend over the years. While Wexner closely guarded his privacy on the grounds, the estate was partially opened to Architectural Digest magazine, which featured it in a lavish 1991 spread.

For many in Ohio, glimpses of the New Albany property fed fascination with the mysteries of Wexner’s inner world. It remains a monumental symbol of his wealth and refined tastes.

III. The Manhattan Townhouse

While the New Albany compound may be Wexner’s most famous residence, the Manhattan townhouse he once owned is certainly the most infamous. Located at 9 East 71st Street on the Upper East Side, the seven-story townhouse has a dark and controversial history.

Wexner purchased the property in 1989 for $13.2 million. The neo-French Renaissance home occupied 20,000 square feet and was originally built in 1932 for socialite Anne Harriman Vanderbilt.

After acquiring the stately townhouse, Wexner spent millions more on renovations overseen by architect Thierry Despont. As with his other homes, Wexner’s goal was to transform the house into an oasis of European splendor and modern convenience.

However, Wexner reportedly only stayed at the Manhattan property for a couple of weeks total over the decade he owned it. The townhouse sat unused most of the time.

Then, in 1995, Wexner apparently gifted the townhouse to Jeffrey Epstein. This transaction remains shrouded in mystery, with no public transfer of title records. By 1996, Epstein had taken up residence there, though his name was not officially connected to the property.

How Epstein gained possession of the townhouse – assessed at nearly $20 million – without any paper trail remains murky. The entire affair has fed speculation about Wexner’s relationship with Epstein.

The townhouse would soon become ground zero for Epstein’s depraved activities. During his ownership, hidden cameras were installed in every room to record graphic acts involving minors. The house featured unusual amenities, such as its own heated sidewalk to melt winter snow.

Though Wexner was never implicated in any of Epstein’s crimes, the links between the two men continue to raise questions. The opaque transfer of the Manhattan townhouse exemplifies this uneasy legacy in Wexner’s real estate history.

IV. The Les Wexner House Renovations and Interior Design

To understand the grandeur of Les Wexner House vision for his homes, it helps to examine the extraordinary renovations and interior design of the properties. No expense was spared to deck out both the New Albany compound and the Manhattan townhouse in the height of luxury.

Together with his wife Abigail, Wexner oversaw extravagant makeovers that drew on art and furnishings from around the world. Designers like Thierry Despont, Peter Marino, and John Stefanidis worked on the homes. Hundreds of craftsmen labored onsite to realize Wexner’s desires.

For the New Albany estate, every room was planned down to the smallest details. A circular marble staircase with wrought iron balusters greeted visitors in the two-story foyer. Floral carpets from Istanbul and Parisian chandeliers adorned the living spaces. The oak-paneled library housed thousands of books as well as Chippendale furniture.

The attention to luxury was just as evident at the Manhattan townhouse. This property featured imported French limestone mantels, intricately carved mahogany doors, and a red lacquer music room. The dining room was based on a James Tassie design with lapis lazuli walls.

Les Wexner House appeared numerous times in Architectural Digest and other publications. In 1994, the Manhattan townhouse was featured on the magazine’s cover. For high society, the designs showcased Wexner’s exquisite taste and pulled back the curtain on his private sanctums.

V. The Controversies and Speculations

However, not all the attention received by Wexner’s real estate has revolved around lavish amenities. Both the New Albany compound and the Manhattan townhouse have been the subject of controversies, rumors, and conspiracy theories over the years.

The size of the New Albany property alone has raised eyebrows, leading to questions about what Wexner might be doing on such a massive, heavily secured private estate. There has been media speculation about clandestine additions or underground facilities on the grounds.

Even more concerning is how the Manhattan townhouse figures in conspiracy theories regarding Jeffrey Epstein. The shadowy circumstances around how Epstein obtained the property from Wexner has fueled conjectures of cover-ups and criminal activity.

Given that the townhouse was confirmed as a venue for Epstein’s exploitation of minors, many have wondered if Wexner had any knowledge of what went on there after he “gave” the home to Epstein. While Wexner has denied any involvement in Epstein’s crimes, doubts linger in some corners.

Of course, many of the theories regarding Wexner’s real estate stray into unproven conspiracy territory. But the confirmed details alone—such as the enormous New Albany estate—add to the air of intrigue surrounding the properties. Both the mansion and the townhouse continue to bear the weight of their uncertain histories.

VI. The Legacy and Ongoing Interest

Despite the controversies, Wexner’s homes remain landmarks reflecting his vast wealth and dedication to luxury. For architects and interior design aficionados, the properties are icons representing the pinnacle of craftsmanship and style.

Both homes were designed and built at the peak of Wexner’s fortune in the 1990s, when he could realize decadent visions without limits. They encapsulated a moment in time for him.

For these reasons, there is still significant interest in Wexner’s real estate even today. The New Albany estate is periodically covered by media outlets whenever glimpses behind the gates are allowed.

Meanwhile, the Manhattan townhouse was most recently in the news when Epstein’s executor placed it on the market in July 2021 for $65 million. The public fascination is testament to the powerful hold these properties have on our imaginations.

It seems unlikely that the air of mystery around Wexner’s homes will dissipate anytime soon. Both properties will in all probability continue to be cited for their architectural merits and their links to one of history’s most controversial figures, Jeffrey Epstein.

Perhaps fittingly, Wexner himself has now faded from public view after stepping down from L Brands in 2020. The homes he lavished such attention on join the man in an uncertain legacy. Their future place in history remains as opaque as the circumstances surrounding their pasts.

VII. Conclusion

The New Albany compound and Manhattan townhouse offer a window into the rarefied world of retail billionaire Les Wexner. By studying the history of these properties, insights emerge about Wexner’s desires, relationships, and controversies.

Few other private Les Wexner House in America have attracted such fascination. As architectural achievements, their grandeur is undeniable. But unanswered questions swirl around the more sinister activities that may have taken place behind closed doors.

Wexner’s real estate ambitions underline his paradoxical nature. He projected an image of all-American business acumen, wealth, and philanthropy. At the same time, his connections and properties point to potentially unseemly associations and secrets.

For Ohio, the New Albany estate is both a source of pride and unease, representing both Wexner’s contributions and need for privacy. In New York, the former townhouse provokes darker thoughts tied to Epstein’s criminality.

In the end, these landmark estates encapsulate the enduring interest with their original owner and all that he represents. Their legacies seem bound to shadowy uncertainty as much as architectural magnificence. The full truth of what transpired within the walls of Wexner’s homes may never come to light.

Roger Angulo
Roger Angulo
Roger Angulo, the owner of, curates a blog dedicated to sharing informative articles on home improvement. With a focus on practical insights, Roger's platform is a valuable resource for those seeking tips and guidance to enhance their living spaces.