PARKER-BRODERICKS LOSE THEIRS AFTER TWO YEARS IN $35,000 RENTAL It was officially the last weekend of summer in the Hamptons. It was actually already September. The traffic was supposed to culminate, then thin out because swarms of renters were supposed to be clearing out. But, instead, plenty of them were out house-hunting.
There were eight different appointments on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend for one 1700’s farmhouse in Sagaponack, priced at $2.4 million. “I told a few people who were prepared to take their shoes off and walk through an un-made-up driveway that they could take a preview,” said John Prince, a broker with Sotheby’s International Realty who was selling the house for an American couple living in Paris.
Mr. Prince wasn’t acting prematurely. “This is what everyone is trying to re-create in the Hamptons. This is the real thing,” said Mr. Prince of the six-bedroom farmhouse with three porches and fireplaces in the dining room, living room and master bedroom. “People were just falling all over themselves to see it.”
Well, not people like Jerry Seinfeld, who’s building a monstrous garage (to house his classic car collection) adjacent to the $35 million house he bought from Billy Joel. But rather people like Kate and Andy Spade, who showed up at the farmhouse, located at 207 Sag Main Street, and offered $2.4 million. And people like Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick, who tried to buy the farmhouse they’ve rented twice in Sagaponack (this summer for $35,000) but didn’t get it.
Ms. Parker and Mr. Broderick were victims of their own good taste, it seems. The three-bedroom, three-bath house they tried to buy on Hedges Lane is owned by two men: Irwin Sarason, a former art director of an advertising firm who lives in East Hampton, and Ted Jeremenko, a painter who lives in Sag Harbor. “We bought it together” in 1979, said Mr. Jeremenko. “Like investing in stock.”
The two men fixed it up and started renting it the next year, once to the painter David Salle. “It’s kind of an Americana two-story farmhouse with some gingerbread moldings on the front porch,” explained their broker, Jeff Levine of Allan M. Schneider & Associates in Bridgehampton. “The farmland is very flat and open … very beautiful.” A tall hedge marks the perimeter of the property, composed mainly of meadows and a few cedar trees; only about one-third of the 2.2 acres is lawn. It’s a 15-minute walk to the beach.
Said Lori Barbaria, a broker at Cook Pony Farm Real Estate in Bridgehampton who showed several clients the house: “It’s a very simple, elegant house that hasn’t been overly tampered with, but has been maintained and brought up to the comfort level of right now, with air conditioning, charming nice bathrooms, an up-to-date kitchen, floors that are old and charming. There’s a porch with a rocking chair.” There’s also an old barn used as a garage and an unfinished studio with a dirt floor and a classic-looking gabled roof.
Ms. Parker and Mr. Broderick first rented the house for the summer of 1998. Tina Fredericks, whose real estate firm represented them, said the couple were very happy there. “They always loved it,” she said. “It is a very sweet house.”
Back in 1998, the couple offered the owners $1.3 million for the house, but the two men didn’t take the bait. Around the same time, actress Julie Andrews, who owns the adjacent property, tried to buy some of the acreage, to no avail. The following summer, Ms. Parker and Mr. Broderick rented a house on Beach Lane in Wainscott, but decided to return to the Hedges Lane farmhouse this summer.
The house had gone back on the market in the winter for $2.5 million, but Ms. Parker and Mr. Broderick did not make another offer, brokers said. “I had heard they were thinking about [buying the house], but changed their minds,” said Ms. Barbaria. In late July, a Manhattan couple signed a contract to buy the Hedges Lane house for the asking price. The deal is expected to be final this fall; the new owners will add a pool, but not much else.
Said Mr. Jeremenko about finally selling the house: “The price is right.” Ms. Barbaria explained it another way: “Everyone wants a farmhouse.”
Just in Sagaponack, two others have sold in the last few weeks. The farmhouse on Sag Main Street that Mr. Prince was showing wasn’t officially on the market and was in the middle of being re-landscaped, but that didn’t make any difference: “We had two offers by the end of Labor Day.” The Spades’ offer was accepted, and they were supposed to sign a contract the second week of September. A few weeks earlier, just a few blocks away, an 18th-century farmhouse at 312 Sag Main Road was sold by the director and actor Andre Gregory for $2.2 million. (The house had been on the market for about a year.)
While Ms. Fredericks said her firm is currently listing five farmhouses, priced from $2.25 million to $5.25 million, Ms. Barbaria isn’t comfortable with the current supply. She said she recently called the owner of a farmhouse on Parsonage Lane in Sagaponack to inquire if her house was going on the market. “She said her house was awful, had no air conditioning, was really old and shabby, and I’m like, ‘Oh my God–it’s a gold mine!'”
NATHANIEL ROTHSCHILD SETS UP HOUSE ON ST. LUKE’S PLACE Sure, some New Yorkers (see Madonna, Brooke de Ocampo, Candace Bushnell) are jumping the pond to London, but plenty of Londoners are still coming our way, too. Nathaniel Rothschild, the 28-year-old heir to the European banking dynasty, who went to Oxford and has a home in London, has set himself to renovating the $5.575 million, four-bedroom townhouse at 8 St. Luke’s Place, between Hudson and LeRoy streets, that he bought in June.
Mr. Rothschild, son of Lord Rothschild and the head of NR Atticus, an investment fund, obtained a permit on July 13 to give his landmarked 1852 Manhattan townhouse a little face lift–an extra $350,000 expense in order to spruce up the kitchen, the three full bathrooms and the three half-bathrooms and to rearrange some of the rooms. The four-story townhouse’s interior has retained much of its original detail, including French windows with shutters, high ceilings, a sweeping stairway and a rounded arched door. Other bonuses are a basement-level finished office, a private garden and unobstructed southern exposure. (Annual real estate taxes are $10,000.)
But Mr. Rothschild may be living there all alone. He’s estranged from his wife, Annabel Nielson, the socialite, model and reported best friend of Kate Moss. The two married in 1995 at a secret Las Vegas ceremony but split two years later–and she seems to be having a pretty good time on her own. In May, at the party thrown by Italian Vogue for photographer Helmut Newton in Monte Carlo, Ms. Rothschild jumped into the pool wearing a clingy designer dress that became instantly revealing–a party trick that made European tabloid headlines.
A spokesman at Mr. Rothschild’s Manhattan office told The Observer that the jet-setting Mr. Rothschild “doesn’t talk to the press.” Brokers Sara Gelbard of the Corcoran Group and Leslie Mason of Douglas Elliman would not comment on the deal.
UPPER WEST SIDE
RESTAURATEUR SELLS PLACE WHERE HE PLANNED GUASTAVINO’S
Joel Kissin, the 20-year partner of Sir Terence Conran, moved to New York in 1998 after 20 years of running successful restaurants in London. The 46-year-old New Zealand native sold his flat and bought a 19 1/2-foot-wide, four-story townhouse at 53 West 68th Street, right near Columbus Avenue, for $2.8 million.
After putting 15 months of work into his new place–including installing limestone floors in the dining room, the entrance hallway and the garden floor of the house, as well as re-landscaping the garden with the help of landscape architect Ken Smith–the restaurateur sold the house for $7 million to Jon Platt, one of the producers of Copenhagen , the winner of three Tony Awards this year, including for best play. “I loved the house,” said Mr. Kissin, “but what can I say? I moved to a penthouse on Fifth Avenue.”
According to his broker, Jaar-mel Sloane of Sloane Square, Mr. Platt was moving from Boston to New York, where the play has become a terrific hit. Although the asking price was originally around $6.4 million, according to one source, the property became the object of a bidding war, with Mr. Platt having to offer $7 million in order to secure the 6,100-square-foot house with four bedrooms, a 26-foot-high ceiling in the living room and a traditional exterior.
Perhaps he shouldn’t have been so eager to buy. Before Mr. Platt had a chance to move in, it turned out that work would take him to London. So just a few weeks ago, Mr. Platt put the house back on the market for $7.5 million, with Ms. Sloane as the listing broker.
Mr. Kissin, on the other hand, has no regrets. His new home “is opposite the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is a penthouse … with a wraparound terrace and great views. I saw this apartment before I bought the house nearly three years ago; I liked it very much but I didn’t buy it at that time. It is a very particular space and I didn’t know what to do with it then, but I think I know what to do with it now. No one had bought it since then. It was done in a very contemporary way, around 1992, which I thought was very dated in 1998. It has black walls at the moment which I shall be getting rid of very quickly.”
515 West End Avenue
Three-bed, three-bath, 2,200-square-foot co-op.
Asking: $1.995 million. Selling: $1.996 million.
Charges: $1,802; 48 percent tax deductible.
Time on the market: five weeks.
WHERE HAVE ALL THE HIGH BIDDERS GONE? A couple put this recently renovated three-bedroom apartment on the market for $2.25 million last March. No one came around. After a month, they dropped the price by about $250,000 and–ta-da!– they had three interested buyers. Each had to file a sealed bid; a couple who work in the financial industry won out with an offer $1,000 over the asking price. The sellers had already bought a larger apartment on the Upper East Side in what their broker, Marilyn Presser of Douglas Elliman, describes as “not quite Carnegie Hill.”
UPPER EAST SIDE
90 East End Avenue
Three-bed, 3 1/2 bath, 2,200-square-foot condo.
Asking: $1.610 million. Selling: $1.610 million.
Charges: $1,553. Taxes: $951.
Time on the market: two months.
DIAGNOSIS: CONDOMINIUM After observing a couple from Manhassat, N.Y., for a few months, a broker diagnosed them as “apartment people, not loft people.” Said Robert Morrison of Douglas Elliman: “They couldn’t decide if they were loft people,” so they had been looking for an apartment downtown. Of course, in the end the couple bought a three-bedroom apartment in this building, a new condominium that opened in June. “This building mimics prewar style,” said Mr. Morrison. “It’s just like a Park Avenue apartment.” Except that it is on Gracie Square (the mansion is just up the street). Their new apartment has East River views, a separate formal dining room and an eat-in kitchen. The 21-story building, with 38 apartments ranging from 1,408 square feet to 3,692 square feet, is the first new building to be constructed in the area in over a decade.
200 East 84th Street
Two-bed, one-bath, 1,750-square-foot co-op.
Asking: $950,000. Selling: $860,000.
Charges: $2,111; 50 percent tax deductible.
Time on the market: one day.
PROPERTY-TRAINED The owners of two side-by-side apartments–an alcove studio and a one-bedroom, one-bath apartment–split their earnings on this deal. They teamed up to offer their two apartments as a potential 1,750-square-foot apartment with a 350-square-foot terrace. Jonathan Wood of Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy, the listing and selling broker, called the pending combo “neat” because the two apartments had adjoining terraces. A single banker in his mid-30’s had a very nice one-bedroom apartment on 74th Street, but he’d been looking for something a little larger with a terrace for over a year. He got $625,000 from a retired couple for his old apartment.