Sony Music Entertainment’s chief executive, Tommy Mottola, and pop diva Mariah Carey divorced last year, but they may be reunited on Central Park West, where Mr. Mottola has just purchased three condos for just under $8 million and Ms. Carey has signed an almost $9 million deal for the apartment of Barbra Streisand.
In February, Ms. Carey, who has been romantically linked in the press to everyone from Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter to rap guru Sean (Puffy) Combs to Latin singer Luis Miguel, signed a contract to purchase Barbra Streisand’s duplex penthouse at the Ardsley, 320 Central Park West, near 92nd Street, for a little under $9 million. The deal is not yet final.
In early April, Mr. Mottola, who is still paying $25,000 per month for the apartment he shared with Ms. Carey at 1049 Fifth Avenue, on 86th Street, bought three different apartments in the Century, 25 Central Park West, near 62nd Street, for what real estate sources estimated to be just under $8 million.
Mr. Mottola’s various other properties, all of which he kept after the divorce, have provided him with quite a headache in the last year. Shortly after the couple split last spring, he sold their sprawling, 51-acre estate in upstate Bedford to Triarc Companies chief executive Nelson Peltz for $20.5 million. Shortly thereafter, he became embroiled in a drawn-out debate with the town authorities of Southampton, L.I., over the building of a dock at his beachfront estate in the nearby village of North Haven. Then, in March, he put the beach house on the market for $9.75 million–only to discover a few weeks later that a repair project on the Route 114 Short Bridge, scheduled for Labor Day, would cause traffic delays en route to his house, possibly making it difficult to sell the property.
To purchase the three condos in the Century, a high-rise condominium, Mr. Mottola approached directly the apartments’ owners, a Morgan Stanley executive named Madhav Dhar, who had two of the units, and a Douglas Elliman broker named Robbie Browne, who had one apartment in a neighboring line. (Mr. Browne and Mr. Dhar paid between $1 million and $1.4 million per unit originally.)
A source familiar with the deal said that Mr. Mottola intends to knock down the separating walls between the apartments, providing for a 200-foot-long terrace overlooking Central Park, and a “dramatic entertainment space.”
The screening room, that trademark of the Beverly Hills mansion, is now overshadowing the Hamptons social scene too. It seems that summer evenings on the East End of Long Island are now spent silently leaning back in a stadium seat in dark rooms filled with friends or colleagues. If you’re lucky, your host might let you smoke.
The very un-Hollywood designer Ralph Lauren constructed a windowless cottage on his oceanfront property in Montauk at the end of last summer. The building, which features a kitchen with a popcorn maker, cupboards stashed with candy and a refrigerator replete with sodas, houses a state-of-the art screening room that accommodates up to 15 people, according to a Hamptons broker familiar with the house. “I could die there” or “live there forever,” said the source.
The addition of a screening room would have stopped Land Rovers in their tracks a few summers ago. Not anymore. The screening room as an over-the-top Hamptons accessory–reserved for those in the “industry”–is over. According to local brokers and architects, the construction of projection-equipped rooms ranging in capacities from 15 to 100, is becoming de rigueur among the sprawling estates of the Hamptons.
“There’s so many Hollywood types … and budgets have grown,” said Sean Mulligan, an architect with Peter Cook in Southampton, who is currently designing a screening room for “somebody in the music business.” Mr. Mulligan added: “You could spend $200,000,” a figure which other architects in the area also quoted as in the ballpark for most Hamptons screening rooms.
Until recently, these star chambers were the property of only a select few: director-producer Barry Sonnenfeld (in Amagansett), former Sony Corporation of America president Michael Schulhof (the 10-seat screening room in his guest house living room in East Hampton is equipped with popcorn maker, candy and a bar), actors Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger (in Amagansett), art dealer Larry Gagosian (at his house, Toad Hall, in East Hampton), and financier Ronald Perelman (at the Creeks, his estate in East Hampton). Mr. Sonnenfeld and Mr. Schulhof both have high-tech double-track systems to view unfinished films.
Now Hollywood outsiders want them, too. According to a source, “complete movie freaks” Leonard Harlan, president of the merchant banking company Castle Harlan Inc., and his wife, Fleur Harlan, who was formerly married to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, installed a 15-person screening room last year. And Ira Rennert, chairman of Renco Group Inc., has plans for a 240-seat screening room for Fair Field, his behemoth under construction in Sagaponack.
“Status symbols in the Hamptons are becoming more and more difficult to come by,” said Steven Gaines, author of Philistines at the Hedgerow: Passion and Property in the Hamptons . “Eons ago, it was tennis courts, then it was basketball courts. Now it’s becoming screening rooms.”
One source familiar with several of the screening rooms said the owners with Hollywood ties still have the distinction of screening first run movies, instead of standing in line with the Steven Spielbergs at the local United Artists theaters–where new films almost always sell out on weekends.
In Wainscott, one of the Hamptons’ most infamous screening rooms is for rent again this summer. Goose Creek, the enormous mansion of agent-producer Bryan Bantry, which boasts a 110-seat room that the owner has even rented to Peggy Siegal for press events, is still available for $560,000 for the whole season or $200,000 a month. “When there are filmmakers out there, they can run dailies,” Mr. Bantry said. “Like 20 directors live within a four-mile radius of my house.”
For sale on Bay Lane in Bridgehampton is a 25-room house, with a screening room, for $8 million, through Allan M. Schneider Associates. Peter Hallock, president of Allan M. Schneider, would not discuss the listing, but added that screening rooms are very popular. “I think a lot of people building houses today are putting them in.” Mr. Hallock, who lives on South Main Street in Southampton, is adding a small home theater of his own. “I’m doing a drop-down screen with a projection TV in what would be a family room,10 he said.
“I’m working on one right now where they’ve literally built an addition onto the house for this room,” said Greg Garland, president of Sensoryphiles, an audio-visual subcontractor based in Water Mill, L.I. Mr. Garland said that requests for home screening rooms are swiftly on the rise. Just for the proper audio-visual equipment, a home screening room costs at least $25,000, he said. And that’s for a modest system. And on the high end? “There is no high end,” he said.
Additional reporting by Julie Lipper.
Upper East Side
610 Park Avenue (Mayfair Regent)
Two-bed, 2.5-bath, 2,089-square-foot prewar condo.
Asking: $2.9 million. Selling: $3 million.
Charges: $1,459. Taxes: $1,793.
Time on the market: four months.
THE OUT-OF-TOWNER GRIFT. This corner apartment in the former Mayfair Regent Hotel on 65th Street was purchased in January for $2.492 million by an Indonesian businessman, who put it right back on the market for $2.9 million. Maybe he’d heard about another buyer in the same building who flipped his apartment recently and made $1 million. That sense of a seller’s market may have been lost on the out-of-town couple with grown children, who looked at 24 different apartments before overbidding on this one. The couple paid $100,000 more than the asking price for this 2,089-square-foot condo. Broker: Douglas Elliman; American Real Estate Group (Mika Sakamoto).
Upper West Side
165 West 66th Street (Lincoln Terrace)
One-bed, one-bath, 1,000-square-foot postwar co-op.
Asking: $325,000. Selling: $350,000.
Charges: $1,011; 52 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: three weeks.
CO-OP GETS PRODUCER’S FINANCING. A radio deejay lived in this one-bedroom apartment near Amsterdam Avenue until he moved to Westchester. At that point, he sublet the space to his musician aunt, who recently passed away. It’s on the 19th floor, where views are good and street noise faint, but the place needed a complete makeover before the deejay could try to sell it. So he did a little sprucing up: He replastered, refinished the floors and put a coat of fresh paint on the walls. Before long, three parties were dueling over it. Then it came down to a doctor and a retired film producer, whose winning bid was $25,000 over the asking price. That’s one less indie film we’ll have to endure. Broker: Corcoran (Jim Gricar).
575 Sixth Avenue
One-bath, 1,300-square-foot prewar loft co-op.
Asking: $575,000. Selling: $562,500.
Charges: $1,174; 55 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: two months.
PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN GLASS BEDROOMS. Along with multitudes of other Manhattanites, the single doctor who sold this apartment was swept away by minimalist chic. His was an especially bad case; three years ago, when he bought this loft near 16th Street, he did almost nothing to it. The only accouterments, in fact, were a basic dining-room table and chairs, a cabinet for the television, and a glassed-in box that served as the master bedroom. Perhaps surprisingly, the loft sold very quickly–more so than an apartment in the same line that had been renovated into two bedrooms. “People really liked the apartment that was more open and less fluffed up,” said Gil Neary, who was representing the doctor. A cinematographer in his 30’s bought the apartment for $562,500. He had been renting a place on Park Avenue in the East 30’s but wanted to live in a loft, preferably farther downtown. The only thing he’ll change is add a little realism (plaster) to the glass-walled bedroom. Broker: D.G. Neary Realty (Gil Neary); Douglas Elliman (Natasha Sinkov).
83 Jane Street
Four-story town house.
Asking: $2.45 million. Selling: $2.15 million.
Time on the market: eight months.
ALEXANDER HAMILTON’S DEATHBED. Alexander Hamilton was brought to this neck of the woods to die after his 1804 duel with Aaron Burr in Weehawken, N.J. At that time, the site was a stretch of farmland owned by William Bayard, a New York merchant and friend of Hamilton. When Hamilton was shot in the abdomen on July 11, he was transported across the river to Bayard’s farmhouse, since he was too weak to return to his own house in what is now called Washington Heights. Thirty-six hours later, surrounded by family and drugged up with laudanum, an opiate, he died. Over the next several decades, Bayard’s children sold off parcels of the farmland along what would become Jane Street between Greenwich and Washington streets, resulting in many of the Greek Revival town houses that stand there today. In its present incarnation, this 1853 house is a multifamily dwelling with an owner’s duplex on the first two floors, and two full-floor apartments with differing layouts above. The sellers put the house on the market last spring for $2.6 million, but having had no major renovations since the 1970’s, it didn’t sell right away. In July, the price was lowered to $2.45 million, and it was claimed shortly thereafter by buyers who intend to return the building to its roots: a one-family residence. Broker: Douglas Elliman (Frank Lemann and Sylvia Morton).