John Kluge, Richard Feigen in $7 Million House Swap

Communications magnate John Kluge agreed to purchase the duplex apartment of art dealer Richard Feigen at 953 Fifth Avenue for $7 million in May. Meanwhile, Mr. Feigen has signed a contract to purchase the maisonette apartment at 960 Fifth Avenue, just one block north, at 77th Street, for $6.5 million.

“I got married recently, and my wife has twin daughters, and we have two dogs,” said Mr. Feigen, 68, who owns an eponymous gallery on West 20th Street in Chelsea and has lived in the duplex for 20 years. “I’ve been looking around New York for larger apartments–and it’s not easy.”

Mr. Feigen, who resides primarily in Bedford, N.Y., refused to comment on his contract with Mr. Kluge, the chairman of Metromedia International Group Inc., saying that the sale was in the “preliminary” stage. Brokers said Mr. Kluge still has to be approved by the co-op board of 953 Fifth, a small building with only seven units, which one described as “a town house that grew too much.” Mr. Feigen’s nine-room duplex is strikingly narrow, but it has three bedrooms.

Mr. Kluge already owns a penthouse atop Metromedia’s headquarters at 215 East 67th Street, near Second Avenue, according to his publicist. But he spends much of his time on a 10,000-acre estate in Charlottesville, Va., with his companion Maria Kutner, a former masseuse.

“Every apartment I’ve looked at has considerably more space,” said Mr. Feigen, who began his real estate search several months ago, looking at apartments in 10 Gracie Square and 765 Park Avenue, among others, before signing a deal at 960 Fifth.

Mr. Feigen is also still awaiting approval by the co-op board–and he is seeking entree into one of the city’s premiere buildings, a 1927 Rosario Candela design. Claus von Bülow lived there for years; socialite Anne Bass, whom Mr. Feigen dated in the late 1980′s, lives there now. The building is known for its private dining room called the Georgian Suite, which caters solely to residents. If Mr. Feigen were to get in, he said, he’d be “spending more time in the city.”

The co-op board may be swayed by the fact that Mr. Feigen also has found a buyer to pay just over $12 million for his longtime uptown office and exhibition space–a town house at 49 East 68th Street. He purchased the house in 1989 for $6 million and put it on the market for $12.95 million in January and eventually reduced the asking price to $12.5 million. Since opening his Chelsea gallery in 1997, Mr. Feigen said, “we do very few exhibitions uptown.” He is looking for smaller office space in the

neighborhood.

“For certain things, you want traffic. For our business, we don’t want traffic.”

SAGAPONACK, L.I.

JOY BEHAR’S VIEW FROM THE HAMPTONS. Joy Behar, the 56-year-old co-hostess of ABC’s The View , doesn’t only plug her new book Joy Shtick over coffee and danish with Barbara Walters and Star Jones. Starting this summer, she’ll be able to hawk it in the Hamptons, where she and her 27-year-old daughter, ceramic artist Eve Behar, bought a cottage on Northwest Path in Sagaponack for $412,000 in May.

The mother-and-daughter house is a barn-style structure built in 1985 and redesigned by Jack Monahan, the architect famous for his so-called “Zodiac Homes,” who passed away last December. Monahan’s trademarks were double-height ceilings and brick fireplaces–both of which are features of the three-bedroom house.

The Behars purchased the house from a couple of antiques dealers who had a shop in nearby Southampton. The dealers first put their house on the market last fall, asking $525,000; the ambitious price was lowered to $455,000, then to $425,000. The Behars were able to take another $13,000 off.

According to local brokers, the two women made a smart buy. “Sagaponack North is a very hot area,” said Simon Harrison, a broker at Harbor Cove Realty familiar with Ms. Behar’s house. “South of the highway, prices went through the roof, and north of the highway land is inexpensive.… And it’s not that crowded–you can avoid the majority of the traffic.”

UPPER EAST SIDE

16 East 96th Street

Two-bed, two-bath, 1,550-square-foot prewar co-op.

Asking: $629,000. Selling: $618,000.

Charges: $1,028; 52 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: two weeks.

ATTORNEYS RELUCTANTLY FORGO TRIBOROUGH BRIDGE VIEW FOR CENTRAL PARK. Two young attorneys were renting an apartment on the Upper East Side when they decided they needed an investment. Since the wife commutes to Long Island every day, she told their broker they wanted a two-bedroom apartment on East End Avenue–from which she could hop in the car and head over the Triborough Bridge to work. (Never mind that her husband works in midtown.) The couple was quickly outbid on several apartments on their favored street and had to widen their target radius. Not long after, they were 10 blocks north and peeking around this Carnegie Hill building at 16 East 96th Street, near Madison Avenue, which their broker, Rhea Stein, in a great exaggeration, calls “the East Side Dakota.” Constructed in 1904, the building has intricate ceiling moldings and window borders with floral detail. The seller, who had lived there for five years, had made a few alterations, like running speaker wires through the wall. He was moving west, so the two attorneys moved north. Broker: Halstead Property Company (Lauren Cangiano); Corcoran Group (Rhea F. Stein).

245 East 93rd Street

Three-bed, three-bath, 1,560-square-foot condo.

Selling: $750,000.

Charges: $742. Taxes: $711.

Time on the market: one day.

THE MOST AFFORDABLE $700,000 APARTMENT. Often, when a client says “I want to pay about $700,000,” what a broker hears is “I will pay significantly more than $700,000 to get what I want.” That was the case with this soon-to-retire female doctor and her broker Toby Gamsu. When they started working together, the doctor presented Ms. Gamsu with a list of musts: three bedrooms, three baths, excellent views, a large terrace in a condominium in Carnegie Hill. “It was ridiculous,” Ms. Gamsu said she told the doctor. Nevertheless, the broker knew of an apartment that fit those parameters–but it had been on the market three or four years ago. Like a duteous broker, Ms. Gamsu asked her colleague to inquire whether the owner–who had been renting out the space since purchasing it–would sell it for $750,000. Like we said, the broker knew the doctor would be willing if the owner was. An that’s the way it happened. Broker: William B. May Company (Toby Gamsu).

TRIBECA

122 Chambers Street

One-bed, one-bath, 1,700-square-foot prewar co-op.

Asking: $525,000. Selling: $525,000.

Charges: $1,025; 54 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: 25 weeks.

A CO-OP BOARD IN IT FOR THE MONEY. A lawyer and an investment banker–a very 90′s New York merger–conducted their property search the hard way: through the classified ads. One Sunday, they came across a tempting listing in The New York Times : TriBeCa loft, maple floors, tin ceilings, semiprivate roof garden. But when they called to get more information,

they discovered the loft was located on Chambers Street near Broadway, and wrote it off because they didn’t want to live with the noise of Chambers Street commotion. A few Sundays later, another listing caught their eye: “Live for Free in 2005,” it read, above a description of a TriBeCa loft. The apartment turned out to be the very same Chambers Street noise trap. But this time when they called, they were told that starting in 2005, the apartment owners would split the revenue from leasing out the commercial space on the ground floor. When the couple agreed to at least tour the apartment, they met the seller, an artist who was moving north to Connecticut and was eager to make a deal–she had already dropped the price from $589,000 to $525,000. So the couple signed up and bought earplugs. They claim the din isn’t so bad after all. Broker: Corcoran (Sharon Thompson and Viviane El-Yachar).

BROOKLYN HEIGHTS

129 Columbia Heights

Two-bed, 1.5-bath, 850-square-foot prewar co-op.

Asking: $385,000. Selling: $385,000.

Charges: $400; 50 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: two days.

WANTED: HOME FOR TIMES BEST SELLERS. A New York Times copy editor in his 50′s recently purchased his first apartment: a late-19th-century co-op near the Brooklyn Promenade, with waterfront and Manhattan views. He had lived around the corner in a brownstone rental apartment for about 25 years. For now, the copy editor will move into the larger bedroom and use the smaller, 10-by-10-foot bedroom as a library with a desk, reading chair and, of course, many shelves. But as his collection grows, the rooms’ occupants may have to switch places. As long as there’s space for the books, he said, he’ll never move again. Broker: William B. May (Lynn Yellin).