The inside scoop on New York real estate
From New York City to Westchester County and the Hamptons, we've covered the last of 2012's most exclusive real estate deals.
Noth: Featureflash/Shutterstock.com; bushnell: marion ettlinger
Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick recently flipped their Greek Revival townhouse at 20 East 10th Street in Greenwich Village for almost $25 million (Debbie Korb of Sotheby’s was the agent on the sale). The couple paid $18.995 million for it just last year, and after completing some minor renovations never actually moved in. The five-story home features seven working fireplaces, a tiered garden, a library, and multiple walk-in closets that would make Carrie Bradshaw blush. Parker and Broderick, who currently live in an apartment at 302 West 12th Street, recently made more real estate news when it was reported that they were purchasing two adjacent townhouses on State Street in Brooklyn Heights. If combined, the structures would total 7,000 square feet, but there’s no word on whether the couple has officially closed on the deal.
In other Sex and the City–related real-estate gossip, new divorcée Candace Bushnell has listed her two-bedroom Greenwich Village co-op at 45 East 9th Street for $2.8 million with the boutique firm Ann Weintraub Ltd. The move comes after SATC creator Bushnell’s highly publicized divorce from her dancer husband, Charles Askegard. Situated in a 1925 doorman building, the apartment features a sunken living room equipped with a wood-burning fireplace, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a large formal dining room. After moving, Bushnell will no longer be able to borrow sugar from Mr. Big, a.k.a. fellow SATC alum Chris Noth, who also lives in the building. —Mary Wheeler
so, huguettes what?
The battle over the $400 million fortune of reclusive heiress Huguette M. Clark rages on, but the liquidation of her enormous real estate portfolio is moving right along. The three Manhattan apartments owned by Clark, who died last year at 104, are eventually expected to net their asking price of roughly $55 million. The grandly detailed prewar apartments are located at 907 Fifth Avenue, a 1915 limestone building between 72nd and 71st streets. A 12th-floor apartment, which overlooks Central Park, has sold for $25.2 million, slightly more than its $24 million ask. The fate of the other two apartments, located next to each other on the eighth floor, is less clear. Unit 8E, asking $12 million, is no longer listed for sale, per the website of brokerage firm Brown Harris Stevens. Unit 8W, asking $19 million, is in contract.
Le Beau Château, Clark’s estate in New Canaan, Connecticut, has sat unoccupied for years and is still up for grabs, priced at $15.9 million (down from its original 2009 ask of $24 million). A French-style manor on 52 bucolic acres, it is zoned for subdivision and can accommodate up to nine new houses, according to listing agent Barbara Cleary of Barbara Cleary’s Realty Guild. “It’s really a very attractive price,” she says. “We have people interested, but the banks don’t finance that kind of development.”
The daughter of a U.S. senator from Montana who was once one of the richest men in the country, the enigmatic Clark owned tens of millions of dollars in real estate, art, and even dolls, but spent her last two decades in a hospital. During her lifetime and in her will, she gave millions of dollars to her nurse and other household staff. Family members have been challenging Clark’s will, and any money raised from the sale of her assets will not be disbursed until a judge approves a resolution to the dispute. —Christina Lewis Halpern
Bachelor days are over for Sean “P Diddy” Combs—at least when it comes to real estate. The music mogul recently put his Midtown bachelor pad at 30 West 56th Street on the market for $8.5 million. (Rick Kelly of Prudential Douglas Elliman has the listing.) Combs transformed the three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath apartment into an over-the-top one-bedroom crib, converting the other bedrooms into a media room and a wet bar/piano room. (Also looking to vacate the Park Imperial Building is his neighbor Deepak Chopra, who recently listed his two-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath apartment for $3.6 million.)
Former child star Tatum O’Neal has re-listed her two-bedroom, two-bath Manhattan condominium at 175 East Broadway for $1.645 million. The 1,435-square-foot unit in the Forward Building has been on and off the market for the past four years (the troubled actress bought it for $1.425 million in 2006). Tim Cass of Corcoran has the listing.
Actor Matthew Modine, most recently seen in The Dark Knight Rises, has put his one-bedoom, two-and-a-half-bath apartment at 420 West 25th Street on the market for $2.29 million. Modine purchased the 1,668-square-foot duplex for $1.73 million four years ago and hasn’t been camera-shy about promoting its sale: He appeared in and provided the voiceover for a Halstead Property video used to market the apartment, which has a terrace and garden and overlooks the High Line. Halstead senior vice president Mark D. Friedman has the listing. —M. W.
Modine: Rena Schild/Shutterstock.com; Combs: Dooley Productions/Shutterstock.com
Spa culture is the latest amenity of luxury living, and tony New York buildings are laying it on thick. 20 Pine The Collection, in the financial district, recently held an “Afternoon of Health,” during which a nutritionist and representatives from Organic Avenue, trendy yoga clothing chain Lululemon, and fitness empire Complete Body & Spa were set up in a model residence to offer consultations and tastings. “Wellness is the truest luxury,” says Lori Ordover, a sales and marketing consultant for the building. “In addition to offering the ultimate in luxury and design, 20 Pine also boasts an array of resort-style benefits and a health-centric culture that’s essential for New Yorkers leading fast-paced lives.” Meanwhile, the Residences at 400 Fifth Avenue, atop the five-star Setai hotel, is now offering its luxury-condo dwellers spa services and recently hosted an event with vbeauté, the luxury women’s skincare line, touting healthy living and beauty regimens. Not to be outdone, the fitness center at TF Cornerstone’s Chelsea Centro at 200 West 26th Street boasts on-site nutritionists and trainers. —Barbara Thau
BEEKMAN PLACE BEAUTY
The Ellen Biddle Shipman residence, a fully restored six-bedroom townhouse with a rooftop garden at 21 Beekman Place, has been listed with Paula Del Nunzio of Brown Harris Stevens for $48.75 million. Shipman, who studied landscape architecture under Charles A. Platt, was one of the 20th century’s most prominent garden designers, with a client roster including Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, DuPonts, Mellons, Roosevelts, and Astors. In 1925, she completely overhauled the 1910 home, even changing the brownstone to redbrick. “This house is like being in the country in the middle of one of the world’s most vibrant cities,” says Del Nunzio. “It is exquisitely renovated, with 21st-century systems and staggering views of the East River and New York Harbor.” A high wrought-iron and copper-topped fence surrounding the main entrance is just one of the recent improvements made to the townhouse; other additions include a conservatory, two planted terraces, and parking spaces for four cars. Buyers looking for seclusion are in luck, as the house is only one of two private Manhattan residences that front the East River. —M. W.
& HUDSON VALLEY
Gilded Age architect and McKim, Mead & White principal Stanford White is best known for such iconic New York structures as the Washington Square arch, the Century Club, the Metropolitan Club, and grand homes built for various Whitneys, Astors, and Vanderbilts. But more infamously, the extravagantly mustachioed White, who had a penchant for teenage showgirls, was better known for a scandalous tryst that led to his murder. White had a dalliance with 16-year-old Evelyn Nesbit, a Lolita-like beauty who called him “Stanny” and later went on to marry millionaire Harry Thaw, a coke and railroad heir. Jealous of his wife’s prior affair with White, Thaw shot the architect in the face point-blank on top of the (then) Madison Square Garden, which White himself had designed.
Despite the controversy behind White’s death, his stature as an architect has hardly been diminished. This summer, the nearly 16,000-square-foot 1902 townhouse he designed for banker Henry Cook at 973 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan sold for $42 million. On 18 acres in Piermont, overlooking the Hudson River in Rockland County, the 15,000-square-foot 1892 McKim, Mead & White manse known as the Lord’s Castle is on the market for $8.5 million (recently reduced from its original $9.5 million ask). Replete with a dramatic turret, a grand staircase, ornate moldings and paneling, coffered ceilings, 15 fireplaces, and several features not referenced in real estate ads since, oh, the 1920s (a dumbwaiter, a walk-in ice box, and an outbuilding dedicated to laundry called the “wash house”), it was, strangely enough, once owned by Henry Thaw, a half-brother of White’s murderer. Richard Ellis of Ellis Sotheby’s International Realty in Nyack has the listing.
Meanwhile, in the Westchester County city of New Rochelle, a house called Four Chimneys—built in 1938 by McKim, Mead & White for one of the firm’s attorneys (the founding partners were all dead by this point)—is listed for $5.4 million. The current owners of the whitewashed brick estate, beautifully sited on Sheldrake Lake, have added a handsome wing housing a master suite and thoroughly restored the interiors, now measuring nearly 9,000 square feet of flat-out fabulousness. Sporting types, they’ve also injected some fun into the place, adding an infinity-edge pool, an indoor basketball court, an outdoor sport court, and a putting green. Gay Rosen of Houlihan Lawrence in Larchmont has the listing.
White fans might also be interested in a historic Larchmont waterfront parcel called Premium Point. White designed the 21,000-square-foot redbrick home in 1890, and it was substantially renovated in 1994, though recent photos depict empty rooms, chilly-looking marble hallways, and a façade that resembles an elementary school. Apparently “taxes are being grieved” on the $9.9 million property, which is being handled by Betty McMillan of Coldwell Banker in Larchmont. —Diane di Costanzo
TRUMPED UP CHARGE
A cool $17.5 million is the price tag that Blaine Trump, ex-sister-in-law of Donald, has slapped on the white-columned 9,000-square-foot Millbrook manse she once shared with Trump’s brother, Robert. When they were married, the couple invested in top toys like a 16-seat home theater, a wine room, a pool, a tennis court, a horse barn, and a carriage house. Although the home sits on nearly 200 acres, Robert Trump has reportedly bought a place just 10 minutes down the road with a woman he had an affair with while still married to Blaine. Too close for comfort, perhaps? It seems so: Blaine Trump is moving back to the city, having just purchased a duplex co-op in the Gainsborough building on Central Park South, which had been listed for $4.475 million. Adam Hade of Houlihan Lawrence in Bedford has the Millbrook listing. —D. C.
A converted brick carriage house at 1 Remsens Lane in Muttontown is on the market for $2.25 million. Originally part of the 62-acre Julian Ripley estate, the three-bedroom house, built around 1928, was designed by architect Guy Lowell and features a massive double-height living room with antique wood beams and original parquet flooring imported from Versailles. The house also comes with a 50-foot cloverleaf pool and pool house on its still-considerable five acres. —B. T.
2012 GOES OUT WITH A BANG
If you didn’t see any of your friends in real estate last August, it was because they were spending more time in their Range Rovers ferrying around customers than sunning on the beach. “August is typically a dead time, and people don’t want to waste their final month of the season looking at properties,” says John McHugh, vice president and associate broker with Sotheby’s International Realty. “But this past August was very busy, which led to a lot of activity and closings during the fall.”
According to the Long Island Real Estate Report, 2012’s top transactions occurred during the first four months of the year, ranging from the sale of 322 Meadow Lane in Southampton for $28.5 million to 171 Great Plains Road, also in Southampton, for $24 million.
Corcoran senior vice president Tim Davis personally handled ten sales over $10 million in 2012. “We started to set new pricing at the high end this year,” he reports, “and we had buyers waiting in the wings and sellers more realistic about selling,” though many sellers still held out for bigger deals. Davis is also on track to claim the top transaction of the year: His listing at 160 Ox Pasture Road in Southampton Village, which has an asking price of $49 million, is in contract—and it’s not even on the ocean. Designed by Grosvenor Atterbury in 1915, the 18,000-square-foot mansion was renovated to perfection by former Esprit executive Juergen Friedrich, who reportedly paid
$8.5 million for the property pre-renovation in 2002. It sits on nine acres and features 12 bedrooms, indoor and outdoor pools and a tennis court, and an illuminated fountain.
In the past year international buyers from Asia, Russia, and South America have become serious competition for the hedge funders who typically seek out premium Hamptons properties. “You’re seeing $80 million–plus transactions in New York City, and those people have no problem buying second or third homes here,” says McHugh. “Once you buy your 10,000-square-foot duplex in the sky, you’ll want a weekend place where you can enjoy the beach.”
Instant gratification is still the name of the game, and turnkey properties and new construction are in demand. Consider the recent Saunders sale of luxury property developer Jay Bialsky’s 260 Jobs Lane for $23.15 million, pre-completion. Bialsky spared no expense on the choice two-and-a-half-acre Mecox Bay parcel with tennis, pool, and private dock. Coming up next year are two more Bialsky projects (all have been listed with Saunders’s Terry Cohen): a 7,690-square-foot traditional on three acres in Sagaponack for just under $22 million and an 8,000-square-foot barn-style contemporary in Bridgehampton, already in contract for just under $12 million.
Not that it matters all that much at the high end, but anyone who borrows money to buy a Hamptons dream home is benefiting from the historically low interest rates. Davis just did a deal on a $2 million property whose buyer was able to finance at an adjustable 2.5 percent. “Even if you’re paying a little bit more than you want to,” he says, “you can borrow at such a low rate that you can afford to pay more. Buyers have incredible borrowing power right now.” —Heather Buchanan