Ron Delsener, the concert promoter, recently expanded his East Hampton real estate holdings by purchasing two acres adjoining property he already owns on Middle Lane. At the end of December, Mr. Delsener–who co-chairs Delsener Slater Enterprises Inc., which represents New York-area venues–and his wife, Ellin Delsener, paid $2.283 million for a two-acre parcel of land at 15 Middle Lane, adjoining 3.6 acres they already own on the exclusive strip that runs parallel to the ocean.
Hamptons real estate sources speculated that the Delseners would probably tear down the existing structures–a three-bedroom house, an adjoining two-bedroom guest house and an unheated guest cottage. The two acres were once part of a large estate that dates back to the 1800’s. “There is nothing there architecturally,” said one broker. The asking price was $2.4 million.
In the 1970’s, the property was separated from the 11 acres to the north on Hither Lane, where Wall Street arbitrageur Jeff Tarr finished building a 10,000-square-foot house with a separate gatehouse last year. The Delseners bought their main house, a brown-shingled structure with a windmill, in the early 1980’s; since then, they have purchased two adjacent parcels–one of which they sold in 1997 for $1.6 million. With their most recent purchase, the Delseners’ property holdings on Middle Lane total 5.6 acres.
The Delseners, who were guests at Alec Baldwin’s and Kim Basinger’s gathering of checkbooks for President Clinton last summer, have been part-time residents of the Hamptons for years. Mr. Delsener sits on the board of the Guild Hall, an East Hampton museum and arts center, for which he has arranged multiple, high-profile performances, including a Billy Joel gig in 1996. The Delseners did not return calls seeking comment.
Upper East Side
19 East 88th Street
One-bed, 1.5-bath, 1,150-square-foot prewar co-op.
Asking: $495,000. Selling: $475,000
Charges: $1,062; 65 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: eight days.
MAKEOVER FOR A 40-YEAR-OLD. When interior designer Joan Halperin first saw this one-bedroom apartment just off Fifth Avenue, it was a mess. “I’ve certainly never sold anything in this kind of terrible condition,” said Ellen Monness, a broker with Fox Residential Group, who represented Ms. Halperin. There was one wall that was completely worn through to the exterior brick, said Ms. Monness. Also as obvious was the old plumbing, chipping paint and antique appliances. The apartment’s previous tenant, a woman who died last year in her 90’s, had rented the residence for over 40 years, first from the building’s developer and later from a businessman who bought the apartment and collected rent on it. Luckily, Ms. Halperin is well suited to cope with the crumbling apartment unit. She has renovated another unit in the building for a client. “I didn’t want to pay for what somebody else had done and then have to rip it all out, anyway,” said Ms. Halperin, who owns Joan Halperin/Interior Design. Construction is under way, and Ms. Halperin hopes to take up residence by April. Her main undertaking: creating a more open space where the living and dining rooms once were and making the bathroom look larger by putting the bathtub width-wise under the window, rather than lengthwise and perpendicular to the window. She’s improvising as she goes along. “It’s the first time I’ve done a job where I really didn’t have everything on paper ahead of time,” she said. “I’m treating myself in a way I wouldn’t dare treat a client!” Broker: Fox Residential Group (Ellen Monness and Susan Grossman); William B. May Company (Nancy Marshak).
15 West 53rd Street (Museum Tower)
Two-bed, 2.5-bath, 2,248-square-foot condo.
Asking: $1.475 million. Selling: $1.46 million.
Charges: $1,611. Taxes: $1,656.
Time on the market: three years.
TWO FEWER 20-YEAR-OLDS WITH A $500,000 PAD OF THEIR OWN. For broker Patricia Cliff, who handled multiple simultaneous sales in January in the Museum Tower, the condominium high-rise next to the Museum of Modern Art, this deal was a bit like a game of Monopoly. A couple originally interested in this high-floor, two-bedroom apartment was looking for a pied-à-terre , but they decided they preferred the one-bedroom layouts in this building. Another couple, a husband and wife with no children who had lived in the building for 10 years, traded in their 1,917-square-foot two-bedroom apartment for this one that is 331 square feet larger. But when they found out the renovations would cut into opera season-when the suburban couple who bought their old apartment insisted on being moved in-they consulted Ms. Cliff, who had an idea. The original clients who opted for the one-bedroom layout had bought two of them, five floors apart: a 1,200-square-foot apartment for $552,000 for them and a 973-square-foot apartment for $483,000 for their two kids who are away at college most of the time. Ms. Cliff’s arrangement was bad news for the coeds: While the renovations are under way, Couple No. 2 will rent the college kids’ apartment from Couple No. 1. Hope the kids negotiate a suite at the Plaza. Broker: Douglas Elliman (Patricia Warburg Cliff); Corcoran Group (Linda Stillwell).
22 West 15th Street
One-bed, 1.5-bath, 800-square-foot postwar condo.
Asking: $419,000. Selling: $390,000.
Charges: $468. Taxes: $490.
Time on the market: four months.
FORMERLY THE HOME OF A WHOPPER. Three years ago, a Burger King executive bought this one-bedroom duplex for $255,000. He was a bachelor, and the somewhat unusual space-a loftlike master bedroom suite overhanging a living room with 17-foot ceilings-suited him. But last year, his flame-broiling masters relocated him to South Florida. He sold the place to a single female stockbroker looking to upgrade from her one-bedroom rental. She fretted over the price-and looked at many other apartments-but in the end, the fantastic views settled her mind: The World Trade Center cuts a dashing view in the middle of her floor-to-ceiling window. Broker: William B. May (Mitchell Speer); Charles H. Greenthal Residential Sales (Bobbie Gitter).
105 West 13th Street (Greenwich Towers)
Two-bed, two-bath, 1,100-square-foot postwar co-op.
Asking: $395,000. Selling: $360,000.
Charges: $1,269; 53 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: five months.
THERE’S A BARTENDER IN THE HOUSE Cocktail hour at Cafe Loup, the bistro next door to this co-op building, is apparently very popular with Greenwich Towers residents. After a doctor toured this two-bedroom apartment at the end of October, he repaired to the restaurant’s bar for a quick conference with a couple of friends. According to broker Kitty Sorell, the doctor was giving up his full-service high-rise rental near Lincoln Center for something with the more charming qualities of Greenwich Village. The layout offers a nearly prewar feeling since the bedrooms are off a long hallway. Because the place needed some repairs-a paint job, new appliances and bathroom fixtures-the doctor was able to knock $35,000 off from the asking price. Broker: Corcoran (Kitty Sorell).
Washington Place near Sixth Avenue
Four-story town house.
Asking: $1.1 million. Selling: $1.2 million.
Time on the market: two years.
STELLA’S THE NEW TENANT. Of the 300 prospective buyers who sized up this down-at-the-heels brick town house, only February Vogue cover girl Stella Tennant had the vision to see its potential. Ms. Tennant, who recently had a son, was living nearby with her husband, David Lasnet, when she discovered this 1833 building. The house had been owned for 30 years by a family from Connecticut who rented it out to two tenants: an eye doctor, who was paying $900 in rent for the first floor, and a group of five struggling-artist types who collectively paid $2,500 a month for the top two floors. After several years of having such a sweet deal, the artists weren’t exactly thrilled when they heard they would be losing the roof over their heads. They devised a couple of strategies for warding off potential buyers: posting signs in the stairwell that said “Dope Deals Are Down on This Block” and letting their dog soil the floors pretty much everywhere. When Ms. Tennant showed up one afternoon about a year ago, she was able to see through the muck. The house has two skylights, a garden in back and great original detail on the third and fourth floors. To the relief of the listing broker-who had been saddled with the house for two long years-Ms. Tennant made an offer. The sale took about seven months to close. Ms. Tennant had no comment. Broker: Halstead Property Company (Eileen Robert); Eychner Associates (Deborah Straubinger).
Butter Lane near Scuttle Hole Road
Asking: $725,000. Selling: $690,000.
Time on the market: 18 months.
SLEEPERS AUTHOR WANTS BACK INTO THE HAMPTONS Writer Lorenzo Carcaterra and his wife Susan Toepfer, People magazine’s executive editor, recently decided to give the Hamptons a second chance. In December, the couple bought this shingled, five-bedroom Bridgehampton house, built in 1993, which adjoins an agricultural reserve near the Atlantic Golf Club, north of the Montauk Highway. “We just kind of wanted to give it a try,” said Mr. Carcaterra, who is putting the finishing touches on his second novel, Gangster . The couple, who have two children, had been hanging out in the Hamptons since the 1980’s, when they briefly owned a house in Sag Harbor. “It was kind of barren, and we just loved it,” Mr. Carcaterra said of the East End in those days. “It was nice, and then we sold, and then we rented, and it got too crazy, and we got out of it. Frankly, I don’t know why we got back in it.… If I have to go at 3 A.M. to King Kullen to get some milk, that’s not a good thing. And I’ll have to fight, like, Ken Auletta for it.” One local resident described Butter Lane as “middle-class horse farm country.” A Hamptons broker said that the most noted feature of the properties near Mr. Carcaterra’s new house is that rock star Billy Squier lives in the neighborhood. “You buy these places in wintertime. You have no idea what they look like in summer.” said Mr. Carcaterra. “Right now, it looks like In Cold Blood country.” He said his biggest worry was not what the place will look like in the harsh light of summer, but rather the traffic on Route 27. “The Friday-Monday thing? I don’t have to do that, thank God,” he said of the ride to and from Manhattan. “Either that, or I just put it in park and write on the L.I.E. Rather than buy a house, I should buy, like, Exit 31.”