A week after a judge threw out her demand that her ex-husband buy her a Manhattan town house or co-op, Patricia Duff signed a contract to purchase the maisonette apartment at 830 Park Avenue for $3.25 million, according to real estate sources. In fact, Ms. Duff’s price was accepted on Dec. 6, two days before Justice Franklin Weissberg of State Supreme Court in Manhattan granted her one-eighth of the child support she was suing Ronald Perelman for; she waited another week to sign the contract.
“I’ve been looking at several different things, but I have nothing to say about that,” said Ms. Duff. “I had to live with security guards for three years. I finally got that overturned, and now I can, you know, try to find a permanent home. I’m looking for something close to my daughter’s school.”
According to sources, the infamous divorcée, who has been searching for a new residence for about five months, has finally found her way around the co-op board of a top-tier building. Democratic Party fund-raiser Alan Patricof and his wife, Susan Patricof, have lived at 830 Park Avenue for years and are expected to pave the way for Ms. Duff, who has worked in Democratic administrations and campaigns, including campaign liaison to celebrities for Gary Hart, and founded Show Coalition, a West Coast organization that brought the film community and their money into politics in the 80′s and 90′s.
“She thinks she can live in the building because Alan Patricof lives there,” said one high-end broker. Mr. Patricof, the co-chairman of the Manhattan-based Patricof & Company Ventures Inc., did not return a call for comment.
Though Ms. Duff would technically still have to undergo a board interview, other brokers said the issue is probably already settled. “My guess is that she probably would get in because Susan and Alan Patricof have been in the building for a long time, and they probably have a lot to say about who moves in,” said one broker. “And they probably would have prescreened her.”
The 3,500-square-foot duplex apartment Ms. Duff is poised to buy contains nine rooms altogether, including three bedrooms, a maid’s room, a full dining room, a double-size living room, a library and two fireplaces. The apartment went on the market in mid-October for $3.2 million; Ms. Duff’s accepted offer was $50,000 more.
The search has been a long one for Ms. Duff, who with her daughter, Caleigh, is currently living in a $30,000-a-month suite at the Waldorf Towers, 100 East 50th Street at Park Avenue (a $12,000 portion of the rent has been paid by Mr. Perelman). She looked at many apartments during the child support trial she entered into with her ex-husband, “most of which would not have board approval attached to them,” said one broker. She toured addresses like 52 East 72nd Street and Nos. 521 and 525 Park Avenue–all of which are condominium buildings, which do not have boards that interview potential new residents.
“She’s been in the papers for firing 30 lawyers,” said another broker, summarizing the way a board might look at her. “Why take a chance? Who’s fired 30 lawyers? Even [Mr. Perelman] doesn’t do that.”
Not only is 830 Park a co-op, it’s a fairly tough one to infiltrate. However, sources said, Ms. Duff, who has a history of supporting Democrats like the Clintons, would seek reprieve in Mr. Patricof, a venture capitalist who knows Ms. Duff.
The co-op board president of 830 Park, attorney Earl Nemser, would not comment on Mr. Patricof’s influence in the building. “The composition of the board is not a public event,” he said. “We require, as most do, adequate financials, and it’s a building where we keep very high standards.”
Mr. Perelman did not return calls for comment.
The Murdochs of Downtown?
LACHLAN JOINS THE CLAN IN SOHO, WITH A LOFT. Lachlan Murdoch, who spends as much time on transcontinental plane trips as he does on solid ground, has a new Manhattan address, just a few blocks from his dad, News Corporation chief Rupert Murdoch, and his kid brother, James Murdoch. In mid-October, Lachlan finalized a $3.564 million purchase of a spanking-new apartment at 285 Lafayette Street, an address becoming increasingly popular with artists and media types.
Real estate sources describe Mr. Murdoch’s new apartment as having four bedrooms, four baths and a gourmet kitchen. Measuring 3,290 square feet inside, the loft-style space–one of 21 new condominiums that have been developed during the last year over a traditional, artist-in-residence rental building between Prince and Houston streets–also boasts a private terrace of 1,855 square feet. David Bowie and Iman occupy the entire floor above Mr. Murdoch’s; Patrick McEnroe and Melissa Errico are three floors below. The asking price was $3.5 million.
Mr. Murdoch was traveling in Australia and was not available for comment.
It’s been a busy year for the second-eldest child in Mr. Murdoch’s brood, who is rapidly emerging as the heir apparent to his father’s sprawling media conglomerate. In February, the 28-year-old Mr. Murdoch was named senior executive vice president of News Corporation, placing him in charge of the company’s United States print operations, which include the New York Post and Harper Collins Publishers. He also oversees a vast media empire in Australia, comprising 132 newspapers, a film studio and the country’s leading pay-television operator. Six weeks after his promotion, Mr. Murdoch married supermodel Sarah O’Hare at his family’s Australian estate near Canberra.
When on his native soil, Mr. Murdoch occupies a $5 million house, surrounded by palm trees and outfitted with a swimming pool and a rock-climbing wall, in the Elizabeth Bay neighborhood of Sydney. And in New York, he’ll now be within walking distance of his father, who in September spent $6.5 million on a penthouse apartment at 141 Prince Street with his new wife, former News Corporation executive Wendi Deng, and his brother James Murdoch, an executive vice president with the family business, who last year bought a $1.325 million town house at Downing Street, near Houston Street.
UPPER WEST SIDE
342 West 85th Street
One-bed, 1.5-bath, 819-square-foot prewar condo.
Asking: $325,000. Selling: $365,000.
Charges: $660. Taxes: $345.
Time on the market: two days.
819 SQUARE FEET, THE HARD WAY. Brokers stopped returning the calls of the book editor who bought this apartment. Her messages stated that she wanted high ceilings, a working fireplace, a dining room, a powder room and outdoor space–all in a brownstone, of course. Her budget: $400,000! Amazingly, she enjoyed the last laugh. She found this Upper West Side condo, located between Riverside Drive and West End Avenue, which has bay windows, 12-foot-high ceilings, the fireplace and powder room she wanted, and even a small terrace off the bedroom. She did have to get into a bidding war–but at least she won. Broker: Corcoran Group (JoAnne Douglas); Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy (David Hickox).
UPPER EAST SIDE
19 East 88th Street
Two-bed, two-bath, 1,500-square-foot prewar co-op.
Asking: $975,000. Selling: $1.025 million.
Charges: $1,260. 52 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: 12 weeks.
A LIFE STYLE ON EXHIBIT. In Carnegie Hill, you won’t walk past an Old Navy, J. Chuckles or Leather Master–thanks largely to the strict neighborhood association. You’ll find only museums, specialty food shops, top schools, expensive restaurants and upscale clothing stores. And Central Park, of course. So no surprise that there were multiple bids on this 12th-floor apartment. The buyers had looked for a year before finding this place, so they weren’t about to let it go. The apartment has a park view from both of its bedrooms, a sunken living room and a washer and dryer. It also has custom-designed, Art Deco-style doors, courtesy of the sellers, who moved to a bigger apartment elsewhere in the city. The landmark building, at the corner of East 88th Street and Madison Avenue, was built in 1936 and offers a full-time doorman and rooftop garden. Broker: Corcoran Group (Dorothy Greiner).
370 East 76th Street
Two-bed, two-bath, 1,275-square-foot co-op.
Asking: $495,000. Selling: $485,000.
Charges: $998. 45 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: three weeks.
WAKE UP! IT’S TIME TO DECORATE! The weary buyer, moving to the city from Princeton, was exhausted from apartment searching by the time he saw this place. He had seen co-ops and condos all over Manhattan, and was ready to give up. What got him to buy this place was the size and the neighborhood. Though it doesn’t offer any views, the apartment is big, has plenty of closets and a renovated kitchen and bathrooms. There are also low maintenance fees and a rooftop pool. At last, he can finally relax. He’s home! Broker: Douglas Elliman (Sandra Syms); Bellmarc Realty (Anthony Miller).
116 East 63rd Street
Three-bed, three-bath, 1,825-square-foot prewar co-op.
Asking: $1.195 million. Selling: $1.1 million.
Charges: $1,746; 43 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: two months.
WHAT’S IN THE WATER? A couple with a Labrador retriever and two children are lucky enough to be cramming themselves into this pad, in the heart of the Upper East Side’s finest town houses. They had been renting an apartment nearby. Lucky for them, this building is pet-friendly. Though they themselves are not in an old house, they’ll be putting a lot of renovations into their apartment in a 10-story building, circa 1913. Their new home faces south, overlooking the gardens of nearby town houses, and it has a working fireplace. They’ll gut-renovate the kitchen, refinish the floors, scrap the windows and paint the whole place. They hope to move in–and fit in!–by Christmas. Broker: Corcoran Group (Charles Russell); Stribling (Katie Roddie).
21 East 10th Street (Wordsworth)
One-bed, one-bath, 680-square-foot prewar co-op.
Asking: $335,000. Selling: $325,000.
Charges: $425; 46 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: six months.
SINGLE GUY JILTS ANOTHER FOR THIS CUTIE. This is the exact center of the downtown apartment-hunter’s universe. Still this one-bedroom apartment sat on the market for six months. It has abundant sunlight, nine-foot-high ceilings, hardwood floors, windows in the kitchen and the bathroom, a decorative fireplace and three closets. The building, built in 1937, is pet friendly, has a live-in super and impeccable finances (no mortgage, low maintenance fees). So what was the problem? Well, there were two. The apartment needed a complete renovation, as everything there was original and unretouched. The kitchen is galley style. And the renter occupying the place had so much stuff–books, piles of paper and furniture–that it looked even smaller than it is. As soon as the tenant vacated, a single guy who’d looked around for quite a long time withdrew an offer elsewhere and bought this place. Broker: Corcoran Group (Dale VanDyke, Julie Owen).
108 Reade Street
One-bed, 1.5-bath condo loft.
Asking: $1.15 million; Selling: $1.1 million.
Charges: $360. Taxes: $300.
Time on the market: two weeks.
STAIRWAY TO THE HONEYMOON. After the birth of their first child, the owners of this 1,850-square-foot penthouse loft, with 18-foot-high ceilings, a new kitchen, a working fireplace and a 500-square-foot mezzanine bedroom overlooking the living room, decided to leave the city. It may well have been the bedroom–with a staircase leading to the private roof space, which is decked and planted, and offers stunning views–that attracted the new owners, newlyweds. The building, between West Broadway and Church Street, is near the Battery Park esplanade. Broker: Stribling & Associates Ltd. (Confidence Stimpson); Douglas Elliman (Ann Cutbill Lenane).