Mariah Carey’s Make-Your-Own, $9 Million, Penthouse Triplex

TRIBECA

No Central Park West co-op board is going to stand between Mariah Carey and a penthouse triplex. Weeks after being rejected by the board of the Ardsley, where she offered to buy Barbra Streisand’s three-tiered penthouse for $8 million, Ms. Carey is throwing $9 million at a new condominium development at 90 Franklin Street, where she is fashioning a downtown version.

According to several brokers, in late June the singer signed a contract to purchase two apartments, including the $5.5 million duplex penthouse and the $3.5 million apartment directly below it, in the former commercial building that is expected to open to homeowners next year.

“She did go to contract in late June,” said Cindi Berger, a publicist for Ms. Carey. But Ms. Berger denied that the price was a cumulative $9 million.

Since her March 1998 divorce from Sony Music Entertainment chief executive Tommy Mottola, Ms. Carey has been scrutinizing residential properties in earnest. That fall, she looked at 8 East 80th Street, a $9.9 million town house belonging to gym owners Lucille and Bob Roberts, but opted not to make an offer. Shortly thereafter, her nearly $8 million bid on Ms. Streisand’s co-op–a penthouse near 92nd Street–was accepted.

With as many as eight bedrooms (depending on how the space is used), 3,000 square feet of exterior space, and multiple working fireplaces, the Central Park West apartment befitted a multiplatinum pop singer. But the deal was not to be. After keeping Ms. Carey on the line for half a year, the co-op board at the Ardsley rejected their potential buyer in early May, leaving her to resume her real estate meanderings.

Over the next several weeks, Ms. Carey looked at various properties, including a condo redevelopment project at 9 East 64th Street, where the singer’s neighbors would have included Ivana Trump and Seagram Company Ltd.’s chief executive, Edgar Bronfman Jr. A source familiar with Ms. Carey’s search said she was also considering bidding $8.5 million for the Roberts house.

But the diva abandoned her uptown options for a make-your-own penthouse triplex at Franklin Tower, a 17-story condo redevelopment near Church Street that started life in 1931 as the Corn Exchange Bank. According to real estate sources, Ms. Carey entered into a contract for the building’s $5.5 million penthouse in late June. The deal–which won’t be finalized until the completion of construction–is for a 5,000-square-foot full-floor unit, with an additional 600 feet of duplex space above. By late 1999, when work on the building is slated to be finished, the penthouse will include four bedrooms, 4.5 baths and, of course, a Sub-Zero refrigerator. Ms. Carey is also in contract for $3.5 million on the full-floor unit below the penthouse, sources said–bringing her total expenditure to $9 million.

Brokers at Stribling & Associates, which is marketing Franklin Tower, would not comment on the pending sale.

258 Broadway

Two-bed, two-bath, 1,600-square-foot prewar co-op.

Asking: $725,000. Selling: $685,000.

Charges: $1,595; 64 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: three weeks.

RETURN OF THE QUICKIE. For broker Wayne Burkey, who represented the seller of this apartment near Warren Street, this was one of the quickest deals in history. The buyers, he said, “were literally in there for five minutes” before they decided to make an offer. The young couple were making their first real estate purchase together. They wanted to be downtown, and time was of the essence–they wanted to be settled in before they married and went off on their honeymoon. The wife will be commuting to the midtown offices of Town & Country magazine, where she sells advertising; the husband will be right around the corner from the investment bank where he trades stocks. Over a cup of coffee at Starbucks with their broker, Jana Kolpen, the couple worked out their offer: $685,000–which despite being significantly below the asking price is still the highest price ever paid in the building. The place had been totally renovated by its prior owner, a composer, and he made a handsome profit on it: more than $250,000, according to Mr. Burkey. Broker: Bellmarc Realty (Wayne Burkey); Douglas Elliman (Jana Kolpen).

UPPER EAST SIDE

Engaged or not, actress Ellen Barkin and financier Ronald Perelman are now practically living together.

According to real estate sources, Mr. Perelman rented a two-bedroom apartment for the blond beauty just two doors down from his residence and corporate headquarters in June–about a month after he gave her a canary-yellow diamond ring. The two-bedroom apartment at 26 East 63rd Street, a 13-story building called The Leonori on the corner of Madison Avenue, rents for $7,950 per month and is conveniently located just a few steps away from Mr. Perelman’s town house at 36 East 63rd Street and the offices of his holding company MacAndrews & Forbes, located at 38 East 63rd Street.

Howard Rubinstein, a publicist for Mr. Perelman, had no comment on the rental.

One broker described Ms. Barkin’s new address as a “kind of a crappy building.” The apartment is on a low floor and has 11-foot ceilings, an eat-in kitchen and some prewar details like pocket doors. (Club Macanudo is in the lobby and socialite Carroll Petrie is listed as one apartment owner.) It’s a starter kit compared to the Waldorf Towers, at 301 Park Avenue, where Mr. Perelman’s ex-wife Patricia Duff and their daughter, Caleigh, are set up in an apartment that rents for $30,000 per month.

On the other hand, location is everything. The Lowell Hotel is the only thing between Mr. Perelman’s Beaux-Arts town house at 36 East 63rd Street, which he bought for $4.75 million in 1981, and Ms. Barkin’s apartment building, which is on the corner of Madison Avenue. MacAndrews & Forbes, Mr. Perelman’s holding company, has occupied No. 38, the town house next door to his residence, since 1986; that building cost him $2.15 million.

One broker said Ms. Barkin had been looking at properties downtown, but suddenly called off the search. “She wanted a rental downtown,” said the broker. Maybe she’ll get a millennium wedding instead.

200 East 90th Street

Three-bed, three-bath, 1,800-square-foot postwar co-op.

Asking: $725,000. Selling: $695,000.

Charges: $2,047; 62 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: three months.

CANCER SURGEON’S EX-HOME GOES UNDER THE KNIFE. Two factors beleaguered the owner selling this apartment: the building’s shaky fiscal status following its bankruptcy filing in 1997 and the fact that no renovations had been made since 1974. Luckily, a new sponsor took control of the building near Third Avenue last year, putting its finances back into shape. Regarding the second, there was no relief: A couple of lawyers with two children successfully knocked $30,000 off the asking price. Even so, the seller, a prominent cancer surgeon, was relieved. While the buyers redo the doctor’s old place, he’ll be forwarding his mail to 85th Street, where he has found a smaller version. Broker: D.J. Knight & Company (Jody McDermott); Ashforth Warburg Associates (Eva Fabray).

125 East 84th Street

Three-bed, two-bath, 2,100-square-foot prewar co-op.

Asking: $995,000. Selling: $995,000.

Charges: $2,053; 49 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: four months.

THIS YEAR’S MODEL: $205,000 CHEAPER. After 40 years in this apartment near Lexington Avenue, a former model passed away a year ago and left it to her estate to sell. The initial asking price–$1.2 million–turned out to be a little too ambitious. After three and a half months of marketing, the estate opted to lower the price by $205,000, and the offers started rolling in. The sale came down to competitive bidding between a youngish doctor and another party, both of whom initially low-balled. Knowing there was someone else vying for the property, the doctor stepped up to a full-asking bid, crushing the competition. His sister lives in the neighborhood and just renovated her own apartment, so he already has a contractor. Broker: Corcoran Group (Pamela Barnes-Moses and Marcia Kapp); Douglas Elliman (Eileen Perez).

UPPER WEST SIDE

Riverside Drive near 114th Street

Two-bed, one-bath, 1,100-square-foot prewar co-op.

Asking: $335,000. Selling: $315,000.

Charges: $714; 22 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: one month.

STEPHANOPOULOS GETS A NEW NEIGHBOR. Dear George: You don’t know me, but I have been just on the other side of the wall, lo, these three years. Now I am off to find a mentor of my own; I will be studying under one of the great pianists of Italy. (The book possibilities will be slightly more limited–but, hey, they have great sex lives, too, right?) I am passing my apartment–next door to yours–on to a single woman. (She got me down to $315,000.) She plans to use the second bedroom as an office. She claims she’s never heard of you. Just wanted to give you a heads up. Broker: Corcoran Group (Pat Palermo and Marisa Chaves).

WEST VILLAGE

13 West Ninth Street

Four-story town house.

Asking: $1.695 million. Selling: $1.25 million.

Time on the market: three months.

BANKERS TRUST BACHELOR STEALS HOUSE OF STYLE. This house was presented to a young bride and her husband as a wedding gift in the 1950’s. Her father paid $40,000; the couple lived there and collected rent from six different rental units in the building for 40 years. The real cash cow was the parlor-floor unit, which has been occupied by Carolina Herrera, daughter of the fashion designer with the same name, and fashion designer Marie-Anne Oudejans, according to Thomas Delavan, the Bankers Trust private banker who just bought the building. He will now occupy that apartment, having acted faster than either fashionista, who both regretted not bidding on the town house when it went on the market. Gabby Karan, daughter of designer Donna Karan, and the elder Ms. Herrera also came looking. But Mr. Delavan, who was living in a nearby Village studio, offered $1.25 million (the aged bride and groom wanted $1.695 million) and will continue to collect from the tenants, who include a holistic doctor, a photographer and an entrepreneur in his 20’s. Broker: Douglas Elliman (Brad Ingalls).

Additional reporting by Sam Charap.