Upper East Side
HAMPTONS LAND GRABBER NABS THREE MORE APARTMENTS AT 625 PARK AVENUE. According to real estate sources, Ira Rennert, the Humvee magnate who is building a 25-bedroom waterfront monstrosity with a multistory garage in Sagaponack, has decided he needs a little elbow room in Manhattan as well. Mr. Rennert recently purchased three apartments on the fourth floor at 625 Park Avenue for a combined price of $4.395 million. He already lives in another apartment in the building.
Mr. Rennert managed to keep a low profile until plans for his 100,000-square-foot compound were revealed and the East End power-weekenders went screaming to the media. Most of the stories since then have gone like this: Mr. Rennert’s closely held Renco Group produces Humvees and steel and processes magnesium; in the process it devastates the landscape by producing a lot of pollution. Likewise, Mr. Rennert’s house, which will be as long and wide as a football field, is going to defile the potato fields. And on top of that, he’s an observant Jew and a champion of Benjamin Netanyahu (he had Mr. Netanyahu to dinner at his 625 Park co-op). Neighbors fear that he is planning to use the house and its guest bedrooms for weekend-long religious retreats as per Jewish law, which does not allow people to travel on the Sabbath.
Certainly 625 Park–a building where nothing gets done without the approval of Henry Kravis, who lives in the penthouse–isn’t going to allow religious sleepovers. The three new apartments used to make up a 12-room apartment, which had been divided. The original apartment had four bedrooms, five baths, five maids rooms, a library, a dining room and three wood-burning fireplaces. Presumably Mr. Rennert plans to rejoin the apartments. A spokesman for Renco didn’t return calls by press time.
432 East 87th Street
Five-bed, five-bath, 7,200-square-foot town house.
Asking: $999,000. Selling: $1.15 million.
Time on the market: seven months.
THEY’RE GONNA RIP ITS FACE OFF. Since this property, located between First and York avenues near Gracie Mansion, was being used by the sellers as office space, it will require a gut renovation to turn it into a one-family home. “It’s going to be stunning,” said the broker, Deanna Dittman. “They’re changing everything, including the exterior.” The buyers are a youngish couple, and the renovations are still in the design stages, according to their contractor, Eduard Malushi. But he expects to begin work by the end of July. Note to construction team: Don’t mess with these folks; there’s a lawyer and an accountant in the house. Broker: Halstead Property Company (Deanna Dittman, Chester Gelband).
Upper West Side
275 West 96th Street
Two-bed, two-bath, 980-square-foot condo.
Asking: $425,000. Selling: $415,000.
Charges: $509. Taxes: $386.
Time on the market: two months.
KEEPING IT REAL. “People who are not New Yorkers still say, ‘I don’t want to go above 86th Street,'” said broker Hilary Rovins. “But the real New Yorkers don’t have a problem.” This high-rise building (pool, gym, laundry room) was made to order for the husband and wife (self-proclaimed real New Yorkers) who snagged it. He’s a college administrator (though not at Columbia); she works in public health. They’ll have city views from their terrace, but only enough space to accommodate a “Munchkin-sized” table and chairs, according to Ms. Rovins. Broker: Bellmarc Realty (Hilary Rovins); Prudential/M.L.B. Kaye International Realty (Michelle Rogers).
45 West 67th Street
One-bed, one-bath, 526-square-foot condo.
Asking: $279,000. Selling: $275,000.
Charges: $266. Taxes: $228.
Time on the market: 10 days.
STALKING THE REEBOK CLUB. “He wanted to be within a two-block range of the Reebok Club. He had limited time with his job, and he loves that gym,” said Corcoran broker Wendy Stark of the Wall Street money manager who bought this alcove studio near Lincoln Center. “He didn’t even want to cross Broadway. So we really concentrated on that area.” This building is a luxury condo, about a decade old, and is “very upscale and new.” So the buyer will be perfectly convenient to his free weights. What does he do at the gym? “He pumps,” said Ms. Stark. “He’s got some muscles.” Broker: Corcoran Group (Wendy Stark, Samantha Reiss).
25 Central Park West (Century)
Two-bed, two-bath, 1,686-square-foot condo.
Asking: $1.005 million. Selling: $1.15 million.
Charges: $1,395. Taxes: $681.
Time on the market: two months.
AND THE APARTMENT GOES TO … NEW LINE’S MICHAEL LYNNE. Joining Federal judge Kimba Wood and philanthropist Annaliese Soros in this Art Deco condo building that runs from 61st to 62nd streets is Michael Lynne, president of New Line Cinema. In the case of this condo, real estate sources said the negotiations went to sealed bids–meaning that there were so many competitive offers that the potential buyers had to submit their best offers in sealed envelopes. Mr. Lynne, the highest bidder, won. Despite the bidding rat race, brokers familiar with the deal described the selling price as a “steal.” The place has six rooms: In addition to the beds and baths, it contains a formal dining room, living room and maid’s room. Mr. Lynne’s 28th-floor acquisition might be simply a pied-à-terre for the Los Angeles-based studio executive. A spokesman at New Line Cinema had no comment.
West 28th Street near Seventh Avenue
One-bed, one-bath, 1,050-square-foot prewar co-op loft.
Asking: $325,000. Selling: $305,000.
Maintenance: $777; 58 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: one month.
RETREAT OF THE CHELSEA NATIVE. A couple of years ago, Richard Laermer, author of Native’s Guide to New York and president of RLM, publicist for much of New York’s cyberbusiness community, tried to abandon Chelsea and move to the defiled bucolic potato fields of the Hamptons full-time. The man he lives with reluctantly agreed and, after buying a place in Southampton, they downscaled into a one-bedroom rental on Seventh Avenue. “About five months later, we looked at each other and said, ‘Why am I working this hard to live in a tenement?'” said Mr. Laermer. So he told his broker he wanted a loft–but it had better not be in Chelsea, where he’d been living for 17 years, watching its transformation from an ill-lit, dangerous-seeming, semi-abandoned area to the pricy and teeming neighborhood of young professionals it is today. This loft, which is technically one block outside of Chelsea in south midtown, was the first place he saw. It’s in a six-story, 12-unit building. The seller, who was the apartment’s first owner, had renovated it, albeit not to Mr. Laermer’s standards (“The fixtures were very fratty”). It has 11 1/2-foot ceilings, original casement windows, one bedroom and a study. The only thing wrong with the building is the lobby, which “looks like a West L.A. drug den,” said Mr. Laermer, but the co-op board assured him that they planned to renovate it just as soon as they could get the several interior designers in the building to stop bickering over what should be done. Esthetic reservations aside, the couple bid successfully at the end of March and tried to speedily conclude the deal. But there were delays. “We lived at the Paramount Hotel for a week,” Mr. Laermer said. On July 8, three months into the odyssey, the deal finally closed. Mr. Laermer walked over to the empty apartment, sat in the Jacuzzi and breathed a sigh of relief. “We consider it beachfront property,” he said, referring to the West Side park currently being built, which promises a beach at 30th Street. But more immediately, it’s only 205 steps to his office. He counted. Broker: Bellmarc.
East 11th Street near Fifth Avenue
One-bed, one-bath, 2,100-square-foot prewar co-op.
Asking: $825,000. Selling: $795,000.
Maintenance: $808; 35 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: three months.
A GARDEN VARIETY REVIVAL. Eight years ago, this garden-level apartment, in a 27-foot-wide, 1848 Greek Revival town house, was bought by an artist. The artist just sold the apartment for $795,000, but not before making it her masterpiece. Before her, the owner had lived in this apartment for 50 years, and hadn’t opened the windows in 20; when the artist tried to let in a breeze, the windows just fell out. The ceilings had fallen in, there were gaping holes in the floor, and the back garden looked like something out of the House of Usher, according to broker Steven Hauser. Still, there were things worth fighting for: There are three fireplaces, none of which work, but there’s a beautiful marble mantel over the one in the living room; a big 40’s-era, glass-doored pantry; a grand dressing salon, a study and formal entrance foyer. There are french doors leading into the garden, which the artist plowed $20,000 worth of flowering plants into. She also replaced the casement windows that fell out. Her work done there, the artist jumped ship, moved out of town and is going on to her next artisan project. Broker: Susan Penzner Real Estate (Steven Hauser); Sotheby’s International Realty.
45 West 10th Street (Peter Warren)
Four-bed, 2.5-bath, 2,400-square-foot postwar co-op.
Asking: $1.495 million. Selling: $1.495 million.
Charges: $2,700; 62 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: one week.
JUST SHOOT ME. The husband and wife who bought this penthouse are photographers: he of supermodels for W and other fashion magazines, she of objets d’art. And they’re planning to get the place ready for its close-up. They’ve hired architect West Chin of FTF Design Studio (broker Linda Gertler described him as “very hip”) to do a few cosmetic renovations: walls, floors, appliances and so on. In terms of decorations, the buyers will stick to “the warmth of country with lines of modernism,” said Mr. Chin. In September or October, they’ll bring their little girl, their dog and their furniture into the renovated pad. “She liked the fact that the [previous] owner, who was a psychologist, had brought up her family there. So the vibes were right,” said Ms. Gertler. Besides the ample space inside–this penthouse is a combination of two apartments that were joined in 1970–the photographers can also host chichi parties for fashion types on their 550-square-foot wraparound terrace with near-Parisian views of the surrounding rooftops between Fifth and Sixth avenues. Broker: Corcoran (Linda Gertler); Halstead (Andrew Phillips).
39 N. Moore Street
2,000-square-foot prewar condo loft.
ANOTHER TRIBECA TREMOR IN KEITEL VS. BRACCO. Harvey Keitel, the paunchy and often distressingly naked actor who helped make TriBeCa safe for the fabulous by moving into this duplex loft in 1994, has just sold the apartment for $901,500. The sellout came as part of the ongoing real estate dispute with his ex, Lorraine Bracco, with whom he broke up six years ago. The apartment has 1,400-square-feet of rooftop space and extensive outdoor plantings; its walk-in closet is said to be able to accommodate “two cars.” He paid $995,000 for it when it was new. On July 10, the Daily News ‘ Rush & Molloy reported that Mr. Keitel’s loft was being “transferred” to Ivan Boesky’s daughter, Marianne, who already owns a 2,000-square-foot loft in the building one floor below Mr. Keitel’s, for which she paid $795,000 in 1996. MTV Networks’ chief executive, Thomas Freston, owns a 2,800-square-foot apartment in the building, for which he paid $713,000 in 1994. Mr. Keitel currently resides on Franklin Street, although the Daily News has him moving to a $1.8 million, 4,500-square-foot loft on Hudson Street. His lawyer, John Vassallo, was not available for comment.