Just four months after David Dechman, a partner at Goldman, Sachs & Company, spent $6 million on a Park Avenue penthouse, fellow Goldman executive Richard Friedman has decided to capitalize on I.P.O. euphoria. Several weeks ago, Mr. Friedman spent more than $13 million on new digs uptown, according to real estate sources.
For Mr. Friedman, Goldman’s co-head of merchant banking and the chairman of AMF Bowling Inc., the seven-figure purchase represents quite a step up, propertywise. His last home purchase, according to real estate records, was the 1988 acquisition of a fourth-floor condo unit in 30 East 85th Street. The three-bedroom apartment, which set Mr. Friedman back $1.055 million when he bought it 10 years ago, is now on the market for $1.75 million, real estate sources said, and may be a bit of a tough sell. “It’s so low,” said one broker familiar with the 2,500-square-foot space. “Half of it faces the back of the building and noisy Madison Avenue.”
By contrast, Mr. Friedman’s new apartment-until recently, the abode of Mandalay Pictures chairman Peter Guber-is a 5,200-square-foot affair on Fifth Avenue in the East 70′s. Brokers familiar with the full-floor unit describe it as a 15-room property that has been reduced to nine rooms, with three large bedrooms, six-and-a-half baths and an exercise room. The apartment is “absolutely Art Deco,” said one source familiar with the space.
Mandalay’s Mr. Guber, whose main office is in Los Angeles, first put the co-op property on the market in March 1998 at an asking price of $18 million, with an option to buy the furniture. In recent months, the price was reduced to $15 million-prompting Mr. Friedman to enter into a more than $13 million contract that included some furnishings, according to real estate sources who said the sale should be finalized in late June, pending co-op board approval.
NEW OWNER CAN PLAY HIS MOZART LOUD, VERY LOUD. After two years of living it up in Murray Hill, rock musician Lenny Kravitz has sold his three-story town house at 157 East 35th Street for $1.76 million, according to real estate sources. Since the sale was finalized on May 12, Mr. Kravitz has been espied looking at houses uptown, but has not yet gone into contract, according to sources.
Built in 1890 for sculptor Malvina Hoffman (she studied under Rodin), the house is located between Third and Lexington avenues and overlooks a planted private courtyard called Sniffen Court. Brokers familiar with the property said Mr. Kravitz bought the place for $1.485 million in 1996, with the idea that he could live and work there. Eventually, the ground floor became a recording studio, wallpapered with a black soundproofing fabric, and the two-car garage became half parking facility, half disco.
“There was not an ounce of light in the whole downstairs,” said Nan Schiff, who represented the house’s buyer, a businessman and his family. “It was covered in black fur.” The buyer had spent his real estate search driving around the city with a list of for-sale properties, looking for the right house. Since he was concerned about being had in the sellers’ market, the idea of purchasing a place that needed renovations intrigued him-especially if it involved a discount on the asking price. With bedrooms that had been made into offices and windows covered over by the “fur,” Mr. Kravitz’s brick town house was exactly the place: After five months of languishing on the market, the businessman negotiated almost $500,000 off the asking price.
Since the house will be getting $1 million worth of renovations over the next year, the buyer has moved from his old place on 14th Street to a Kips Bay rental apartment, from which he can closely supervise his contractors. Reached for comment, Andrea Lucas, who represented Mr. Kravitz, would only say, “It’s a one-of-a-kind house.”
A spokesman for Mr. Kravitz confirmed the sale, but was unaware of his current property search. “He spends most of his time in Miami now, but he’s currently on tour in Europe, and coming back to America in mid-August,” she said. Mr. Kravitz’s Miami residence is a house on the water in South Beach, she added.
UPPER EAST SIDE
115 East 86th Street
Two-bed, three-bath, 1,900-square-foot prewar co-op.
Asking: $875,000. Selling: $875,000.
Charges: $1,793; 45 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: one month.
COUPLE GOES ABROAD, AND A ROOM VANISHES. A lot can change in a few years, as this couple learned when they returned from an overseas stint to face the sellers’ market in Manhattan. Their last place had been a seven-room apartment on the Upper East Side, which they sold for about $900,000 in 1995; this time around, they paid almost the same price for a co-op unit with one less room. Disappointed as they were with the neighborhood’s raging property values, they stepped up to the plate and were the first bidders to offer the full asking price. For $875,000, they’ve now got a two-bedroom apartment in a 1927 building near good schools for junior. They’re already in the midst of scraping floors and painting walls. Broker: Halstead Property Company (Barbara Wilson).
UPPER WEST SIDE
311 West 97th Street
Two-bed, 1.5-bath, 1,300-square-foot prewar co-op.
Asking: $515,000. Selling: $480,000.
Charges: $906; 55 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: three months.
SING FOR YOUR SUPER. A self-described “wimp” and his wife are selling this six-room apartment between West End and Riverside Drive, located in a building respected for being in fiscal, and physical, order. Scott Leonard, a 33-year-old lead singer of a five-man a cappella musical group called Rockapella, and his wife and young’un are moving to Florida (Grandma will baby-sit). Rockapella appeared regularly on the PBS television series Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? and more recently in a Folger’s “The best part of waking up …” commercial. The Leonards broke into show biz as a two-person group at Disney World in Orlando, Fla.: He sang, she danced. The Mouse moved them to Tokyo, where they worked at the theme park’s Japanese satellite. Mr. Leonard read a help wanted ad for Rockapella, and saw his ticket back to the States. “I always wanted to move to New York, but I didn’t want to go there without a job, because I’m a wimp,” he explained. When the tips got big, Mr. Leonard and his wife moved from a New York City rental into this co-op, where they renovated the kitchen and baths, painted the walls and converted the maid’s room into a studio. Next stop: Tampa. If it gets too hot, the Leonards still have a rental on 76th Street and Amsterdam Avenue. Broker: Bellmarc Realty (Merope Lolis and Mary Jo Palumbo).
409 West 21st Street
Two-bed, one-bath, 950-square-foot prewar co-op.
Asking: $439,000. Selling: $400,000.
Charges: $525; 50 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: five months.
APARTMENT MAKES MAN GO WEAK IN THE KNEES. Knee surgery forced this sexagenarian bookseller to move out of this brownstone co-op between Ninth and 10th avenues. Although he had put money into renovating the kitchen just last year, the bum knees made it increasingly hard to handle the four flights of stairs to his top-floor apartment, and he decided to opt for an elevator building instead. The place was a bit of a tough sell: Even roof access couldn’t attract a buyer at $489,000, so the seller eventually lowered his asking price to $439,000. At that point, a financial guy and his fashion-industry wife were willing to negotiate. They wanted prime Chelsea space in which to start a family and, being in their late 20′s, they’re still spry enough to handle the uphill climb. Broker: Bellmarc (William Norman).
45 Greene Street
Two-bed, two-bath, 2,170-square-foot condo.
Asking: $1.2 million. Selling: $1.2 million.
Charges: $588. Taxes: $482.
Time on the market: two months.
WELL, IT MATCHES HIS TOQUE! Thanks to its white walls and empty space, brokers dubbed this SoHo condo a “vanilla box.” The building’s sponsor has been offloading apartments here one by one since early 1998, when the place was converted from a factory into living space. As a result, the properties are furnished with the bare, certificate-of-occupancy-required essentials: Toilet. Sink. Kitchen counter. The bachelor restaurant-owner who bought this apartment viewed it as something of a tabula rasa for his decorating dreams. Hailing from Jericho, L.I., this was his first Manhattan property buy, but he was no rube: When another bidder skipped town without signing a contract first, the restaurateur served up a higher offer, and- bon appétit !-it was his. Broker: Douglas Elliman (Louise Phillips).
Last week, Manhattan Transfers erroneously reported that designer Tommy Hilfiger had purchased art from Acquavella Galleries Inc. Mr. Hilfiger did not in fact buy art from the gallery. The Observer regrets the error.