The Market

A plea for Pete Campbell to become a landlord

By Virginia K. Smith | April 6, 2015 - 1:59PM 

Don Draper has his brooding, boozy charms, but for us, Mad Men has always been, in large part,  all about Pete Campbell.  (Trudy: Please come back!) So obviously our ears perked up during last night's mid-season premiere when Pete started complaining about losing a large chunk of his money from the McCann Erickson buyout to taxes, saying,  "To hang onto it I might have to buy an apartment building, but then I'd have to be a landlord." To which we say: Do it!

While we were tempted to roll our eyes at Pete's one-percent problems, he did have a conundrum: tax rates at the time would have been a hefty 70 percent for a single filer in Pete's income bracket, as tax blog Don't Mess With Taxes points out (compare that to today's 39.6 percent rate). As for prices, here's one for comparison — 33 Fifth Avenue, a 15-story apartment building in Greenwich Village, changed hands in 1969 for $850,000. Though that's a big chunk of the McCann Erickson windfall, as we all know, buying New York property around that time would turn out to be a very lucrative game, albeit one with a long wait for a payout. (Per the Furman Center's research,  overall city prices increased 250 percent in between 1974 and 2006.) But let's take this one step further: a full-on Pete The Landlord spinoff:

Think about how good this could be! Pete sputtering around dealing with contractors, plumbers, and difficult tenants, and maybe even teaming up with Peggy (who also owns a brownstone with tenants in place) for advice on the small-time landlord side hustle. And we all know how well it goes when he tries to do handyman work himself:

If anyone needs us, we'll be working on a spec script to send over to AMC.


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