Duff Prices Park Avenue Residences; The Ex, Too

In the never-ending child-custody battle between Ronald Perelman and his third wife, Democratic Party cheerleader Patricia Duff, one of the biggest remaining questions seems to be where Ms. Duff will reside.

For months, Ms. Duff and her daughter, Caleigh, have been camping out in an apartment in the Waldorf Towers, at 100 East 50th Street. Mr. Perelman contributes $12,000 of their $30,000-per-month rent. But brokers said Ms. Duff has been eyeing something more permanent. In mid-July, she toured several apartments, including a $2.895 million co-op at 1125 Park Avenue near 90th Street. According to the August issue of Vanity Fair , Ms. Duff’s lawyers have been arguing that “it’s important for Caleigh to live at least as well as her half-sister Samantha.” Samantha is the child Mr. Perelman had with television correspondent Claudia Cohen. Ms. Cohen and her daughter live in an apartment at 778 Park Avenue that Mr. Perelman purchased for almost $8 million in 1994, and also in a house on 8.5 acres in East Hampton.

Ms. Duff apparently liked the three-bedroom Park Avenue property enough to begin inquiring about who was on the co-op board through her broker, Kathy Sloane. (Ms. Sloane, a Democratic Party loyalist, is also currently advising First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton on a potential move to New York.) But Ms. Duff did not make an offer before the apartment went into contract with another buyer. Ms. Sloane did not return a call for comment by press time.

Meanwhile, real estate sources said, Mr. Perelman has been following his ex-wife around the city, getting estimates on Ms. Duff’s potential lodgings through his own brokers. Mr. Perelman has worked in the past with Alice Mason and Leslie J. Garfield, each of whom heads an eponymous firm. But recent speculation has singled out Nancy Candib, the Brown Harris Stevens broker who represented Mr. Perelman in his 1996 purchase of 11 East 82nd Street, a $10 million town house he bought for Scott Sassa, who at the time was running Mr. Perelman’s Marvel Entertainment Group Inc. An associate at Brown Harris Stevens said Ms. Candib was traveling and could not be reached for comment.

One high-end broker with knowledge of Ms. Duff’s search said that $3 million isn’t far off-target for the right Upper East Side accommodations. “Two-point-five to $3.5 million would get a pretty nice Park Avenue co-op,” the broker said.

UPPER WEST SIDE

311 West 97th Street

Three-bed, 2.5-bath, 2,100-square-foot prewar co-op.

Asking: $625,000. Selling: $614,000.

Charges: $988; 58 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: three weeks.

FROM THE MOON TO THE EARTH. A couple living on West 78th Street employed broker Delia Stewart to find them an apartment with a view in a doorman building. Strangely, they became enamored of a ground-floor apartment in a building on West 97th Street without a doorman. The trade-off: It’s a duplex with a garden. Their bid for $11,000 less than the asking price was accepted without delay. Then they had one more little favor to ask of their broker: The West 78th Street co-op board had rejected the buyer of their old apartment, could she whip up another? Just like that, Ms. Stewart secured a contract close to the asking price of $445,000 in a last-minute open house. Everybody wins. Broker: Corcoran Group (Mark Schoenfeld); Bellmarc Realty (Delia Stewart).

UPPER EAST SIDE

330 East 80th Street

Three-bed, three-bath, 1,600-square-foot prewar co-op.

Asking: $443,000. Selling: $443,000.

Charges: $1,530; 50 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: one month.

WHAT WAR OF THE ROSES WROUGHT: $250,000 DEAL. “This apartment would normally sell in the $700,000 range,” are maybe the worst words a broker can say to someone who has just agreed to sell the place for $443,000. But according to Randi Good of Bellmarc Realty, the three-bedroom apartment was in fairly sorry shape cosmetically. Still, two young attorneys from Murray Hill who are expecting their first baby got a terrific deal. The apartment had been owned for 20 years by a couple with a child who merged a two-bedroom unit with a neighboring studio. The couple has since divorced and their daughter, now in her 30’s, was living there during the week. All seemed to be going perfectly until a series of delays almost interfered with the young couple’s plan to move in before their due date. The co-op board held onto the couple’s application for a month before setting an interview date; the closing was held up until the seller moved an entranceway that wasn’t handicap-accessible,

a condition that’s required these days as apartments change hands. Despite that, the couple is now in the process of repainting and floor-sanding–and the baby’s holding tight. Broker: Bellmarc Realty (Lisa Strobing; Randi Good).

220 East 73rd Street

Two-bed, two-bath, 1,243-square-foot prewar co-op.

Asking: $655,000. Selling: $632,500.

Charges: $1,507; 50 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: one month.

AND THIS IS THE WEDDING’S ROOM. A newly married couple had been living in a one-bedroom rental on East 72nd Street and wanted enough room to unpack their wedding gifts. So they set about finding a sunny prewar apartment with lots of storage space for extra linens, silver, glassware.… They found a place in the Bing & Bing building at 220 East 73rd Street, between Second and Third avenues, which was being abandoned by a couple with one child and expected twins, who had outgrown the space themselves. They had completely renovated the property, so nothing was needed in the way of repairs. While they’re still child-free, the buyers will use one bedroom for an office and study. The new husband just graduated from Columbia Business School. Broker: Corcoran Group (Wendy Sarasohn; Barbara Freehill).

250 East 65th Street

Three-bed, three-bath, 1,800-square-foot condo.

Asking: $825,000. Selling: $875,000.

Charges: $1,019. Taxes: $550.

Time on the market: five days.

OCTOGENARIAN INVENTED THE CONFERENCE CALL. In a three-way conference call, the price of this three-bedroom apartment at 250 East 65th Street soared to $50,000 above the asking price, topping off at $825,000. The winner turned out to be an octogenarian who had raised a family on Long Island. She had saved her pennies and was not to be discouraged: She ponied up extra in order to snag the property, an apartment in a high-rise between Second and Third avenues with a gym and landscaped rooftop. In its last incarnation, the building was a luxury rental, and this apartment is one of the first to be sold off by the sponsor in several years. Even though the space needs some work, its value surpassed the seller’s wildest dreams: The three-bedroom pad was originally priced under $800,000. Broker: William B. May Company (Silvana Mander); Bellmarc Realty (Laura Matiz).

GRAMERCY PARK

60 Gramercy Park North

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

Asking: $539,000. Selling: $539,000.

Charges: $1,092; 50 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: three weeks.

CHEF MAKES A KILLING. A mere three years after buying this Gramercy Park apartment on 21st Street between Lexington and Park avenues, a Manhattan chef walked away from the property $200,000 richer. He had paid $320,000 and, despite having made only minor renovations, this summer’s real estate market enabled him to make a relative killing. The buyer was an investment banker in her 30’s who edged out another buyer–who had offered $535,000 but never signed his contract–by offering $4,000 more. Broker: Corcoran Group (Mark Schoenfeld).

FLATIRON DISTRICT

4 West 16th Street

One-bed, one-bath, 1,250-square-foot prewar co-op loft.

Asking: $550,000. Selling: $525,000.

Charges: $1,370; 60 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: three months.

THE FINANCIAL LADY IS SINGING. Four different deals came and went before this apartment off Fifth Avenue finally sold. For broker Gabriella Winter, it was a spate of discontent. When she first agreed to sell the place in August 1998, she thought it would go in a heartbeat. “It had a really wonderful karma,” said Ms. Winter, whose client was in the technology industry and was moving to Amsterdam. With lovely vaulted ceilings, a trendy location and lots of sunlight, the apartment was put on the market for $565,000. But with the stock-market correction last August, the price was lowered to $525,000, then again to $499,000. The first suitor was a divorced dad who loved the place but backed out of his contract because his college-age daughter who visits him on odd weekends didn’t take to it. Then, a single woman with an all-cash offer was rejected by the co-op’s board. Another buyer had cold feet around Christmas, forcing the property to languish in the dead-of-winter market until February, when a single guy in advertising was also rejected–after a three-month waiting period. Within hours, Ms. Winter was showing the place to a single woman. She agreed to pay $525,000 and the board decided to take a chance on her. Broker: Corcoran Group (Gabriella Winter).

WEST VILLAGE

329 West Fourth Street

Four-story town house.

Asking: $1.995 million. Selling: $1.98 million.

Time on the market: one month.

DOCTOR MAKES FINAL HOUSE CALL. In 1977, a doctor bought the parlor floor of this four-story, 1827 Federal-style town house on West Fourth Street between 12th and Jane streets. Over the next several years, he bought out the owners of the three other apartments in the building. Still, he kept the other units intact, living in the garden duplex with his wife and son and using the upper levels for office space and staff accommodations. “The units suited them perfectly,” said broker Sylvia Morton, who represented the doctor back when he purchased his first apartment. But after two decades, he was apparently tired of commuting to his office uptown. The doctor sold the house for $1.98 million to a family of three who will not be satisfied with just the lower two floors. The doctor is moving into another town house on the Upper East Side. Broker: Leslie J. Garfield & Company (Leslie Garfield); Douglas Elliman (Sylvia Morton).