Geffen O.K.’s Marci Klein’s $1.7 Million Duplex-to-Be

Marci Klein, co-producer of Saturday Night Live and daughter of über-designer Calvin Klein, has a remarkable frontman in her property dealings: Dreamworks SKG co-founder David Geffen, a trustee of Calvin Klein’s family trust, of which his daughter is the principal beneficiary.

Late last year, Ms. Klein purchased two separate apartments in Mr. Geffen’s name in the American Thread Building, a condominium at 260 West Broadway, near Beach Street, for $1.7 million. The apartments, each containing two bedrooms and measuring about 1,400 square feet, are located on top of one another and could easily be made into a duplex. The sales closed in August and December.

Robert Di Paola, the lawyer for the trust, said that although Ms. Klein bought the condos with her own money, she used Mr. Geffen’s name for “reasons of privacy.” Mr. Di Paola, a partner with Rubin, Rubin & Di Paola in Manhattan, added that there are three primary trustees on the Klein family trust: Mr. Geffen; Richard Martin, president of finance and administration at Calvin Klein; and Deirdre Miles-Graeter, the company’s vice president of corporate affairs.

Mr. Geffen, who is a longtime friend of Mr. Klein’s, has had a reason to be involved with the family’s business dealings. In 1992, he spent $62 million buying the outstanding debt of the designer’s then-struggling business, Calvin Klein Inc., and gave Mr. Klein several years’ grace period to repay the principal. But this time around, through an assistant, Mr. Geffen denied any financial involvement or owning any apartments in the American Thread Building.

Undaunted by a $4.5 million price tag and the prospect of presumably calling Mr. Geffen’s name into service again, Ms. Klein and her father were still apartment-shopping in late February, when they toured a third apartment in the American Thread Building. According to a source familiar with

the property–the penthouse–Ms. Klein was considering purchasing it in order to connect it with the one she owned below, in which case she probably would have sold the lowest unit. But she never went through with the deal.

Meanwhile, Mr. Klein, whose real estate dance card seems perpetually full, has rented a house on Flying Point Road in Water Mill, L.I., for the summer. The designer recently made $8.5 million in selling his penthouse at 55 Central Park West, a co-op near 66th Street, to TVT Records president Steve Gottlieb; last August, he bought the dome apartment in the Police Building, a co-op at 240 Centre Street in SoHo, for $1.8 million. He also keeps a room at the Mercer hotel.

SOUTHAMPTON, L.I.

BANCROFT AND BROOKS: THE ORIGINAL HAGGLERS? Actress Anne Bancroft and her husband, director Mel Brooks, may have become fixtures of the Southampton scene–dining all over town–but they only recently put down roots there. In February, the couple paid W magazine editor Etta Froio $900,000 for a cottage on Meadow Lane.

The property, one of three houses that Ms. Froio owns on the same road, was on the market for $995,000–significantly more than the couple paid. Asked about the sale, she said, “No comment.” Maybe Ms. Bancroft and Mr. Brooks just wore her out; real estate sources said they have been searching for nearly a year for the right Southampton property. But it is more likely, said one local broker, that the negotiability had to do with some work the house needed.

Since the 1980’s, Ms. Bancroft and Mr. Brooks have owned a house in Lonelyville on Fire Island–where stormy weather and sea erosion have taken tolls on many oceanfront properties. The couple’s new house is a two-story structure with four bedrooms and three and a half baths that sits on Shinnecock Bay. Opting not to buy a place on the ocean may be a result of their experience on Fire Island.

UPPER EAST SIDE

1361 Madison Avenue

Two-bed, three-bath, 1,700-square-foot prewar co-op.

Asking: $650,000. Selling: $605,000.

Charges: $1,357; 38 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: six months.

THE PENALTY FOR A PESKY SUBLESSEE IS $45,000. Two years ago, the couple who owned this apartment near 95th Street were told that the big jobs were in Philadelphia. So they moved, but held tight to this 1,700-square-foot Carnegie Hill co-op. Then they were told that the big cash was in New York real estate, so they put the apartment on the market for $650,000. But their sublessee stood in the way. A young investment banker and his events-planner wife would not be stopped by the tenant’s supposedly crowded schedule, however. They negotiated several visits to the seven-story building–with its Old World moldings and a gracious lobby–and the persuasive couple got the apartment for $605,000. Broker: William B. May Real Estate (Suzanne Sealy); Brown Harris Stevens (Fritzi Kallop).

200 East 69th Street (Trump Palace)

Three-bed, 3.5-bath, 2,145-square-foot condo.

Asking: $2.975 million. Selling: $2.575 million.

Charges: $2,103. Taxes: $2,416.

Time on the market: seven months.

THE HONEYMOON’S ON TRUMP. In the midst of renovating their Fifth Avenue co-op, an engaged couple decided they wanted a total change of scenery. It seems that they were less interested in proximity to Central Park than to the Stairmaster, affordable Italian food and $9.50-a-pop movie theaters. They combed the Upper West Side until another idea came to them: stay put. Not on Fifth Avenue, but in Trump Palace, where they were renting a place during the renovations. It took some aggravating negotiations, but they eventually haggled the owners of this three-bedroom, 2,145-square-foot condo down $400,000 to $2.575 million. Back to the drawing board. Broker: William B. May Real Estate (Joanne Greene and Margery Hadar); Trump Corporation (Rana Hunter Williams).

Park Avenue near 63rd Street

Three-bed, three-bath, prewar co-op.

Asking: $1.695 million. Selling: $1.65 million.

Charges: $2,369; 39 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: six weeks.

JUDGMENT DAY WILL BE A PIECE OF CAKE. In three months of home-hunting, a retired couple from New Jersey saw more than 50 properties. They weren’t moving, just looking for a fourth home; they’re already residents of Florida, California and New Jersey. The two-bedroom apartment they were drawn to could have caused them a lot of heartache–it’s an Upper East Side co-op with a hard-nosed board. But their business and philanthropic contacts were enough to secure the appropriate letters, and they breezed in–for $1.65 million, that is. Broker: Halstead Property Company (Lauren Muss).

UPPER WEST SIDE

185 West End Avenue (Lincoln Towers)

One-bed, one-bath, 865-square-foot postwar co-op.

Asking: $325,000. Selling: $320,000.

Charges: $952; 50 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: two months.

DAYTRIPPERS TURNED LOW BIDDERS. Two women from Sunnyside, Queens, and their dog were novices in the Manhattan real estate game when they put in a low bid on an apartment they wanted and lost it to another buyer. Armed with that experience, they approached broker Tina Eichenholz before making another attempt at property ownership. Because of the dog, they wanted to look at condos, where a board of owners was not likely to object to pets. Instead, on their fourth or fifth appointment, the women ran across this one-bedroom, 865-square-foot co-op in a Lincoln Towers building at 185 West End Avenue. It’s on a high floor, and the building’s sponsor was selling it after years of having a rent-stabilized tenant. This time around, the women bid just $5,000 below the asking price of $325,000. They’re learning. Broker: Corcoran Group (Tina Eichenholz).

CHELSEA

365 West 19th Street

Two-bed, 1.5-bath, 1,000-square-foot co-op.

Asking: $425,000. Selling: $405,000.

Charges: $986; 65 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: three weeks.

THINGS LOOK BROWN ALL OVER. Apparently, brown is out. According to broker Gil Neary, every buyer he brought around to this 1,000-square-foot brownstone apartment near Ninth Avenue was turned off by its light, medium and dark brown tones and other 1970’s-era accouterments. “When I walked in, I knew immediately that this was what I was looking for,” said John Bennett, a partner at Proun Space Studio, an architectural modeling and animation firm in the West Village. “It’s in bad condition, and it’s got this kind of interesting architectural style. It’s very 70’s, very brown–brown tile, green fixtures and then all the wood. It’s very–I’m sure the words Brady Bunch were already used.” (Indeed, for weeks, Mr. Neary had been using those very words with potential buyers.) “It’s really pretty ugly, in a way,” continued Mr. Bennett. “But I could tell it was an architect who designed it. There was an idea in the plan and stuff. It’s a project.” Mr. Bennett said he’s not going to move in until he redesigns the place, installing new floors, replacing doors, renovating the bathrooms and losing some of the more bizarre wood details. Broker: D.G. Neary Realty (Gil Neary); Douglas Elliman (Matthew Riley).

GREENWICH VILLAGE

808 Broadway (Renwick)

Two-bed, two-bath, 1,400-square-foot prewar co-op.

Asking: $429,000. Selling: $407,000.

Charges: $1,457; 52 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: one month.

INTERNET BUYER FORCES COUPLE ONE STEP CLOSER TO LOS ANGELES. Late one morning, broker Eva Zurek was pacing the floor of the Corcoran Group’s East 21st Street office lamenting a broken deal when the telephone of another Corcoran broker, Jane Cibener, rang. It was a man who had seen one of Ms. Cibener’s apartment listings on the Internet. Although the listing in question was already spoken for, Ms. Zurek’s newly available space was very similar. “I said, ‘Why not take a look at it with Eva?'” Ms. Cibener said she told the man. “Turns out, his wife was free, too.” The couple met Ms. Zurek at the apartment, a two-bedroom unit in the Renwick, on Broadway near West 11th Street. Within half an hour, they had made an offer of $407,000. The sudden deal was bad news for the couple who sold it–they wanted $429,000 and, oh yeah, they have to move to Los Angeles. Broker: Corcoran Group (Eva Zurek and Jane Cibener).