Olympic Tower Condo Sold By Khashoggi for Just $12 Million

LEGENDARY DUPLEX HAS GARDENS, BANQUET KITCHEN, BALLROOM , POOL He wanted $32 million for it, but playboy arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi signed a deal on March 8 to sell his 18,000-square-foot condominium in the Olympic Tower at 641 Fifth Avenue for a little under $12 million, according to several real estate sources.

The fabled 12-room duplex has five bedrooms (two of which are master suites), six baths, a swimming pool, indoor gardens, a ballroom, a sauna and a “caterer’s kitchen,” which can serve up to 300 people, according to brokers who have toured the place. Mr. Khashoggi paid $1.45 million for the 46th and 47th-floor space–the largest single apartment in Olympic Tower–in the summer of 1976. But it has been on the market, starting out at $32 million, since 1993, and unoccupied for quite some time.

“Adnan hasn’t lived there for years,” said a source close to Mr. Khashoggi about the duplex, which he started renting out in September 1997. According to one published report, it was rented in December to director Brett Ratner as a location for a sex scene between Nicolas Cage and model Amber Valletta for the director’s next film, Family Man , due out in December.

In the 70′s and 80′s, Olympic Tower, located between 51st and 52nd streets and built by Aristotle Onassis, was the residence of many of the city’s wealthiest international part-time residents. Its apartments were pieds-à-terre to sheiks and foreign governments and multinational corporations. In those days, Mr. Khashoggi, the uncle of Dodi al-Fayed, was rumored to be the richest man in the world; he had as many as 14 homes around the world, a yacht which appeared in the James Bond film Never Say Never Again and a hand in 80 percent of the arms deals involving his homeland, according to reports.

Over the last decade, things have changed. In 1990 Mr. Khashoggi, was accused–then acquitted–of aiding former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos and her husband in a racketeering scheme to siphon money from their country’s treasury. And he has sold more than half of his homes, though he has retained a residence in Cannes, where he spends a lot of his time.

His New York property is the product of 12 combined apartments. He had to lower his price to $19.9 million in September 1999 and again to $12 million in early February. The exclusive broker, Nicole Hatoun of the Corcoran Group, would not comment because the sale is not final, but she confirmed that a contract was signed for “just under the asking price” of $12 million. She said the buyer still has to be approved by the board of Olympic Tower.

According to the source, the apartment’s most luxurious feature–the approximately 16-foot-long pool–was in fact a drawback. “You smell mildew when you walk in,” said a broker familiar with the apartment. “It’s disgusting.”

Another real estate source agreed. “I guess they didn’t do it right,” he said. “Condensation builds up…It was a nice idea, but once it was there it was a major problem.”

Mr. Khashoggi could not be reached for comment.

UPPER WEST SIDE

22 West 66th Street (Europa)

Two-bed, three-bath, 2,241-square-foot condo.

Asking: $2.4 million. Selling: $2.375 million.

Charges: $1,577. Taxes: $875.

Time on the market: 10 days.

NEVER-ENDING SALE LEAVES SELLER HOMELESS Five years ago, a businessman bought this seven-room condo–an entire floor–for $1.2 million, when the building was new. A year later, he wanted out. But when he put it on the market for $1.495 million, he had no takers. So he knocked down some walls and made the apartment into a two-bedroom loft-like space with a steam shower, two balconies, four exposures and 9 1/4-foot-high ceilings. At $1.9 million, he still had no luck. Then, last summer, a broker produced an interested buyer who had already seen the apartment between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue twice. The buyer was offering $1.95 million, but he wanted to see the place for a third time before signing a contract. When broker Reba Miller, who was selling the apartment, tracked down the businessman in Malaysia, he was suspicious. “Why would the purchaser pursue with an offer if he had to see it again?” Ms. Miller said her client asked her. But the businessman acquiesced–only for the buyer to back out. Furious, the businessman took the apartment off the market and insisted that the buyer pay his lawyer’s $500 fee for drawing up the contract. The buyer’s broker protested and refused to list the apartment with his brokerage firm. No money was exchanged. Two months later, the businessman had cooled down and changed tacks: he’d found an apartment he wanted to move to in the Empire, a new building at 188 East 78th Street. He would put in an offer on the new place as soon as he had a signed contract on the old place. Enter a couple relocating to the city who shook hands with the businessman on a $2.15 million deal. “A dream come true,” said Ms. Miller about the offering price. But, after four weeks of deliberation, that deal also fell through. By now, the apartment in the Empire was spoken for and, in turn, the selling price of this place had risen to $2.4 million. One week later, a couple from Greece offered $2.375 million. “They said it reminded them of a ship!” said Ms. Miller. They also demanded to move into their new place in 30 days. Now the tables were turned. Ms. Miller found the businessman a two-bedroom condo in a Fifth Avenue building at 51st Street for $1.495 million–but it wasn’t big enough. So Ms. Miller suggested combining it with the unit upstairs to the tune of $2.5 million. The saga continues: The businessman had to be approved by the condo’s board–yes, condo boards are getting in on the scrutiny, too–before moving in. Meanwhile, he has moved into a hotel, becoming a member of the homeless millionaires club (see D. Dixon Boardman, Mariah Carey et al.). The deal was co-brokered by Marc Goodman of the Corcoran Group.

44 West 62nd Street (Lincoln Plaza)

Two-bed, two-bath, 1,400-square-foot co-op.

Asking: $615,000. Selling: $570,000.

Charges: $1,568; 48 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: nine weeks.

LETTING THEIR CAPITAL GAINS OUT OF THE CLOSET “It has an unbelievable walk-in closet in the bedroom–something you don’t see in the city. You could put an office in it,” broker Elyse Gutman of the Corcoran Group told The Observer about this 15th-floor apartment. “Most of us would die for this closet in the city.” The young couple who sold this five-room apartment decided to move to a rental on the Upper East Side. The husband just got a new job, they’ve made some good investments and they just made a nice little profit off the retirees who purchased their home of the last three years. The place has a washer and dryer, eastern exposures, city views, hardwood floors and bay windows in the living room. The buyers, a retired husband and his wife, who works for philanthropic organizations, closed on the deal on Feb. 20 and are renovating before they move in. (They met the co-op board in early February with no snags.) “This afforded them good storage space and nice entertaining space,” said Ms. Gutman, of the apartment between Broadway and Columbus Avenue, which has a full-time doorman, an elevator operator and a garage. The deal was co-brokered by Judith Harrison and Fern Budow of the Corcoran Group.

TRIBECA

90 Franklin Street (Franklin Tower).

Two-bed, two-and-a-half-bath, 1,895-square-foot condo.

Asking: $775,000. Selling: $800,000.

Charges: $1,084. Taxes: $665.

Time on the market: 8 weeks.

BEFORE HE CAN CARRY HIS WIFE, HE NEEDS A THRESHOLD On his moving day, this groom-to-be was handed the front door by construction workers as a housewarming gift. “There was still wet paint and the door was missing,” said a broker. But there was a deadline of May 15: his wedding day. He’s hoping construction will be done by mid-April. The anxious groom sold his 900-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment at the Allegro at 62 West 62nd Street for $430,000. He looked at about 15 different apartments before settling on the new luxury condo building, near Church Street, which will soon be home to Mariah Carey and Ben Stiller, too. For now, decorating is on hold; he’s got to plan a honeymoon before he can pick out wallpaper.

UPPER EAST SIDE

170 East 87th Street

Three-bed, two-bath, 2,200-square-foot condo.

Asking: $1.35 million. Selling: $1.85 million.

Charges: $1,189. $1,027.

Time on the market: four months.

‘WALL STREET PEOPLE’ CUT RED TAPE Neola Lika Williams showed this apartment 53 times after she listed it on behalf of the large corporation which had owned it. In the beginning of December, one contract was sent out to a buyer offering close to the asking price–but he backed out. A couple of weeks later, a different buyer sounded another false alarm. Within 24 hours of receiving a contract, the third interested party committed to the condo, and a contract was signed on Dec. 22. Meanwhile, another, higher offer from someone who had never seen the condo rolled in, but the sellers’ impatience led them to stay with the deal they had cut with the third bidders and the deal closed in the first week of February. “They were very anxious to sell,” said Ms. Williams of her corporate clients. The buyers are young “Wall Street people,” who like the 300-square-foot terrace and the location. “They felt it was homey for the crowded city,” said Ms. Williams of the buyers, who are moving from a smaller apartment on the Upper West Side. The family-friendly building features a 24-hour doorman and concierge, a gym, an outdoor yard, a party room and a children’s play room.

EAST VILLAGE

40 East Ninth Street (Sheridan)

Two-bed, one-bath, 1,050-square-foot co-op.

Asking: $499,000. Selling: $495,000.

Charges: $1,021; 56 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: one week.

KEEP YOUR IMPATIENCE TO YOURSELF “It’s like musical apartments,” said broker Jane Cibener from the Corcoran Group Inc. Two bidders were vying for this apartment and the more flexible party won. The first potential buyer was demanding to move in by a certain time–you lose! The ultimate buyer was willing to wait in her West Village apartment until the seller’s new apartment was renovated. But timing turned out to be a moot point: The deal closed Feb. 7–the same week the impatient buyer closed on another apartment on a lower floor of the same building. “The closings occurred simultaneously,” Ms. Cibener told The Observer . The seller is a stock trader; the buyer is an investment banker–it’s no wonder they have the same taste. This apartment features French doors leading out to a 100-square-foot terrace, enormous closets, a window in the kitchen, corner windows with north and east exposures and 8-foot-high ceilings. The building, between Broadway and University Place, was built in the 1950′s and has a full-time doorman, a garage and a large landscaped garden out back.

Correction

The March 27 issue of The Observer incorrectly identified Kris Dugan as a broker at Stribling & Associates. Ms. Dugan works for William B. May Real Estate.