At long last, media baron Rupert Murdoch has a new home for his new wife. According to real estate sources, the News Corporation chief, who in June married girlfriend Wendy Deng, a former executive with his Asian satellite-television conglomerate, has finalized his $6.5 million purchase of a triplex penthouse loft at 141 Prince Street near West Broadway.
The sale followed months of negotiations with the building’s co-op board, which was concerned about the mogul’s renovation plans and their potential to disrupt neighbors, according to brokers. He signed a contract to purchase the 6,000-square-foot triplex apartment on Jan. 25 and finally gained ownership in early September. Louis Meisel, the board president, has denied that there was any controversy.
In the midst of Mr. Murdoch’s negotiations with the Prince Street bigwigs, the media chief put his previous home, a co-op at the Hampshire House Hotel at 150 Central Park South that he shared with first wife, Anna Murdoch, on the market for $5.5 million. According to one broker familiar with the property, Mr. Murdoch–who has been living with Ms. Deng in SoHo’s Mercer Hotel since October 1998–put the Hampshire House apartment on the market quietly last May, then more seriously last month.
“He’s getting serious now because he closed on Prince Street,” said the source.
The Prince Street penthouse has five bedrooms, five baths, a 1,000-square-foot living room and a 3,000-square-foot rooftop terrace.
The Central Park South co-op, which is situated between Sixth and Seventh avenues, has views of the park from the 24th floor, two baths, a library and a grand entrance gallery. The maintenance is $7,293. Through his publicist, Howard Rubenstein, Mr. Murdoch had no comment.
Guggenheim Director Installs in TriBeCa
In his 11 years as director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, former Williams College professor Thomas Krens has helped the art museum grow tentacles–expanding from its landmark Frank Lloyd Wright home on Fifth Avenue to SoHo, Berlin and Bilbao, Spain. In August, Mr. Krens and his wife, fabric and textile designer Susan Lyons, themselves set out for TriBeCa, spending $2.35 million for a triplex penthouse at 45 Warren Street. The couple will move from their current address at Fifth Avenue and 17th Street.
According to a broker close to the deal, the 52-year-old Mr. Krens’ new condominium, which boasts 1,600 square feet of terrace space and a number of skylights, is “heavenly.” The 4,200-square-foot apartment, between Church Street and West Broadway, has three bedrooms, two full and two half-baths, a long dining space for entertaining and a sun room on the top floor that will probably be used as an office. A publicist for the Guggenheim confirmed the sale but would not comment further.
Mr. Krens’ architect, Tom Hut, co-owner of Hut Sachs Studios, said the place only required a little renovation. “It’s very light-filled and very simply done,” said Mr. Hut. “What we’re doing for him is just sort of accommodating his uses to it–some slight modifications of the rooms and whatnot. It’s quite minor.”
One priority, Mr. Hut said, was to make way for a few pieces of art–the key word being few. “We’re definitely lighting the walls for placing art, but it’s not going to be a museum down there. I think he made that clear to us,” said the architect.
The apartment was being sold by a couple of Texans who were planning to move to town; they spent a little over $2 million for the property in June 1998. When their plans to move north fell through, they put the apartment back on the market–largely unaltered–for $2.5 million. It sold quickly, according to the broker, for $150,000 beneath the asking price, still making the Texans a six-figure profit.
Despite its more than 80-block distance from Guggenheim headquarters at Fifth Avenue and 89th Street, Mr. Krens’ new address places him within a stone’s throw of the SoHo Guggenheim at Broadway and Prince streets, and well within range of the burgeoning Chelsea art scene.
SUDDENLY SINGLE BROOKE SHIELDS GETS U.N. PAD FOR ALMOST $700,000. Brooke Shields has suddenly settled down.
Since her April divorce from U.S. Open champion Andre Agassi, the actress has been apartment-shopping all over Manhattan. In early August, she finally settled on a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment just north of the United Nations in the low East 50’s overlooking the East River. She paid almost $700,000.
Known as gracious and elegant herself, Ms. Shields wanted something similarly understated (are you listening, Puff Daddy?) and got it. The prewar building, on a quiet block, is a doorman co-op with–note to stalkers–very good security. The owner of the apartment, a divorced woman, sold her place because she was leaving the country. Her apartment was on the market for just over a month before Ms. Shields came along.
For years the actress owned a town house nearby, which she sold a few years ago. She also has a place in Los Angeles, where her television show, Suddenly Susan , is taped. The new 1,400-square-foot apartment will serve as an occasional nest. It has been renovated, with a state-of-the-art kitchen, marble baths and southern exposures.
300 East 54th Street
One-bed, two-bath, 1,000-square-foot-co-op.
Asking: $450,000. Selling: $450,000.
Charges: $1,220.39; 60 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: one week.
LONG ISLAND REFUGEE FINDS NEW PERCH TO WATCH RERUNS A divorced college professor who teaches business decided to move into the city from Long Island now that her daughter is off at college. She got a 17th-floor apartment with 1,000 square feet, a balcony, panoramic views and an eat-in kitchen (for those Swanson frozen-dinner, Chicago Hope evenings at home). The fellow who sold this apartment, a cosmetics merchandiser, bought a bigger place near Gramercy Park; he had lived in the apartment for about two years. Building amenities include a doorman, a large rooftop swimming pool, a garden and a health club. Broker: Bellmarc East (Anthony Miller).
Upper West Side
12 West 72nd Street (Oliver Cromwell)
Three-bed, 2.5-bath, 2,000-square-foot prewar co-op.
Asking: $1.15 million. Selling: $1.075 million.
Charges: $3,230; 62 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: three weeks.
WITNESS CHAPPAQUA EMPTY OUT. This grand duplex, which occupies the 23rd and 24th floors of the Oliver Cromwell, built in 1927, was used as a rental; the owner never lived in it. After making some major renovations, he decided to sell. The apartment sat pristine but unsold for about a year at a higher price, but as soon as the price was dropped this summer, the sale took a matter of weeks. It has a formal dining room, central air conditioning, marble bathrooms, beamed ceilings, a kitchen with granite counters and wood cabinets, and gorgeous views of the park. The buyers are an attorney and his wife from Westchester, who, for all we know, moved away to escape the impending Clintons. Broker: Corcoran Group (Lisa Lippman; Lois Peerce).
60 Riverside Drive
Three-bed, three-bath, 1,700-square-foot co-op.
Asking: $925,000. Selling: $946,000.
Charges: $1,492; 40 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: one week.
FORCED TO LIVE IN DREADFUL L.A. The couple selling this apartment moved in less than a year ago. Now, because of a job, they’re very reluctantly moving to Los Angeles, leaving behind a clean, well-lighted place with a terrace, and resplendent park and river views. A fair amount of money had been put into renovations: Previous owners had combined a two-bedroom apartment and a studio to give it three bedrooms, and the current sellers had the closet doors replaced, the floors
refinished and the lighting fixtures changed. They considered holding on to the apartment but realized it might be better to simply let go, make some moola and head west. More than a few people were falling over each other to snap this place up, so the haggling went into a sealed-bid situation. The victorious buyers, probably still gloating, both work in the finance industry, have no children and moved from another (smaller) apartment in the same neighborhood. Broker: Corcoran (Ms. Lippman).
111 Fourth Avenue
One-bed, one-bath, 800-square-foot co-op.
Asking: $425,000. Selling: $425,000.
Charges: $1,030; 50 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: 2.5 weeks.
LADIES IRON THINGS OUT FOR $425,000. A former knitting factory renovated for residential rentals in the 1970’s, this building went co-op in 1980. It has two rooftop decks, a doorman, central air conditioning (included in the maintenance fees) and laundry facilities on every floor. The woman who lived in this ninth-floor apartment is a former executive at the management consulting firm McKinsey & Company who served on the building’s board of directors; she very reluctantly gave up her place to attend business school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her apartment, like all the others in this building near 12th Street, is a duplex with 14-foot-high ceilings and 10-foot-high windows. The corner apartment, one of the building’s largest, is essentially all glass. The owner was a bit obsessive about ironing and had a special board installed in her kitchen, which the buyer loved, along with everything else. Her bid was put in an hour after she saw the apartment. This sale, broker Miriam Sirota said, is yet another case of what she calls the 111 Fourth Avenue Effect, which occurs immediately upon entering any of the apartments at this address. Symptoms include eyes popping out of one’s head and jaws dropping. Broker: Bellmarc Realty (Miriam Sirota); Douglas Elliman (Philip Altland).
One-bed, two-bath, 1,700-square-foot co-op.
Asking: $318,000. Selling: $335,000.
Charges: $1,478; 50 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: one week.
RETURN FROM BROOKLYN, BUT NOT IN TIME TO RETURN TO 212. This apartment went on the market at the beginning of the summer, when the weather was hot and sales were even hotter. The buyers had been looking for some time and were eager to make their purchase; they had certain space requirements but couldn’t afford what they wanted in, say, the Village or SoHo. This place, located near the financial district, is an open, bi-level loft in a prewar renovated building with a concierge. Each loft in the building has a unique layout. This one, on the ninth floor, has just fair light since there are so many tall buildings in the area. No doubt this transplanted couple from Brooklyn is just thrilled to be back in 212–oops, make that 646–sunlight or not. Broker: Benjamin James Associates (Camille McKinley).
2 Charlton Street
Two-bed, two-bath, 1,100-square-foot co-op.
Asking: $645,000. Selling: $645,000.
Charges: $979; 54 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: three weeks.
NEW ENGLAND BOY FINDS HIS POSTWAR PALACE. On a tiny street just below Greenwich Village at the edge of SoHo is this doorman building, with delectable apartments inside and a lovely common-use garden. The sellers are a semi-retired couple who worked in advertising; they’re moving to California to soak up the sunshine and inhale some fresh air. The buyer is a single man, New England born and bred, who works as a Government attorney. He lived previously in the Flatiron district, and really, really wanted this place as soon as he saw it. Alas, there was one offer submitted ahead of his. Fate intervened: The early bidders withdrew their offer at the last minute–they totally couldn’t deal with the postwar thing (the building went up in the mid-60’s). They decided instead to spend more money and go prewar in the West Village. Whatever. So the broker called back the lawyer’s broker immediately, and he’s now very happily ensconced in his new digs. The 14th-floor apartment has panoramic, picture-postcard views, especially breathtaking at night. Even the kitchen has a window. Broker: Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy (Deborah Gimelson).