ONE BROKER CALLS IT ‘A MONSTROSITY,’ BUT MASTER BEDROOM IS TO DIE FOR In September, when Edward Milstein, a partner of the $5 billion real estate company Milstein Properties, listed his co-op at 101 Central Park West for $18 million, the sprawling and hyper-designed apartment–which takes up 7,000 square feet of park-front space on the ninth floor of the building between 70th and 71st streets, and whose dining-room table sits inside an old grain silo–drew a lot of attention. The apartment wasn’t available to be shown to clients until Mr. Milstein’s wife, Robin, returned from summering in Greenwich, Conn. When, on Sept. 12, an invitation-only open house was held, about 400 real estate brokers showed up.
By the first week of October, the place seemed to be sold. “The offer that was accepted was within $100,000 of the asking price,” said one broker who had a client interested in the apartment. A different broker confirmed that there were two other bids from “high-profile” clients for the apartment. One of the low offers was for $16.5 million, the other for $17.75 million.
When the deal with the high bidder fell through on Oct. 13, no one assumed that the apartment would go to the next-highest bidder. Having rejected the low offers, Mr. Milstein apparently instructed his broker, Ann Cutbill Lenane, a senior vice president at Douglas Elliman (the real estate development company and brokerage firm that Milstein Properties sold to the Insignia Financial Group for about $70 million in May 1999), to start showing the apartment again as of Oct. 16. Wendy Sarasohn of the Corcoran Group, who represented the would-be buyer, wouldn’t comment on the deal.
The apartment was decorated by Mrs. Milstein. “It’s contemporary, but not too contemporary,” said a broker. Referring to the grain silo, which was imported from the Midwest and used to create a round metal dining enclosure, another broker said, “It’s a complete monstrosity … the ceilings were dropped” with Cirque de Soleil tent-type white fabric, while “the floor was raised” with a hard, pale gray tile. Said another: “I thought it would take forever to sell. [Mrs. Millstein's] taste is so specific.”
But the decor doesn’t seem to be an issue. “It has the biggest master bedroom on the park I’ve ever seen,” said one Central Park West broker. The 34-by-25-foot master bedroom has a 20-by-15-foot dressing room, two walk-in closets and polished concrete floors. There are five other bedrooms, a loft-like living room with large windows facing Central Park, antique barn-wood floors and an adjoining “media room” with a wood-burning fireplace, a projection-screen television and remote-controlled window shades. There’s also a 20-by-18-foot putting green. A terrace wraps around the back of the apartment, where the guest quarters are located.
A 19-story white-glove co-op between 70th and 71st streets, 101 Central Park West was built in 1930 and has only 101 apartments. Residents include actors Harrison Ford and Rick Moranis. A broker called it “one of the top buildings on Central Park West” and “primo primo.” The lobby is marble, and “they treat everyone who walks in there like they’re welcome.”
“It’s a tough co-op board,” said another broker. “They really care about the [buyer's] financial profile.”
Mr. Milstein bought 9B, a nine-room apartment, in March of 1994 for $2.73 million. It had gone on the market for $3.65 million in April of 1993. Shortly after his purchase, he bought the adjacent unit, 9C, directly from his neighbor, without the seven-room apartment ever officially going on the market.
He has owned other properties–like the New York Islanders hockey team–for much briefer periods, and with less success. In February 1998, the Milstein brothers headed a group which bought the New York Islanders hockey team for $195 million, a team they unloaded last June for a $5 million loss to Charles Wang, chairman of Computer Associates, a global software company, and Sanjay Kumar, the company’s president and chief operating officer.
Mr. Milstein and his wife, who wouldn’t comment on the sale of their apartment, have four children. Sources said the family would continue to live in their Burying Hill Road home in Greenwich.
UPPER WEST SIDE
KIMBA WOODS’ NANNYGATE PAD SOLD TO MANHATTAN EYE GUY While comfortably ensconced in a $10 million duplex at 19 East 72nd Street that her second husband, financier Frank Richardson, bought in the spring of 1999, U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood unloaded her condo at the Century, 25 Central Park West, for $2.9 million at the end of the summer.
Ms. Wood, 56, closed on a deal to sell her six-room, 2,100-square-foot apartment in August, but the buyers– Robert Marc, 42-year-old president of Robert Marc Opticians, which has five stores in Manhattan, and his partner, William Roach–are waiting for renovations to be completed before moving from their current apartment at 65 Central Park West, which the couple bought from tobacco king Nat Sherman. The new owners said simply that Ms. Wood’s apartment had a better view.
According to a broker, Ms. Wood’s former apartment, on the eighth floor of the Century, located between West 62nd and 63rd streets–the same building where the Clintons reportedly looked at a $1.85 million condo–was in “fair condition” and “needed new windows, air-conditioning and a kitchen.”
Ms. Wood and Mr. Richardson’s new 6,200-square-foot co-op on the 14th and 15th floors features four bedrooms, three maids’ rooms, four and a half bathrooms and a terrace. The apartment was purchased from the estate of an heir to the Milliken textile fortune. (President Nixon once tried to buy an apartment in the same building, but was rejected by the co-op board).
Ms. Wood became tabloid fodder in 1993 during “Nannygate,” when President Clinton almost named her as his Attorney General, but changed his mind after she was busted for employing an illegal immigrant as a nanny. Then, in 1998, she married Mr. Richardson after becoming known as the “other woman” in the ugly and highly publicized divorce of Mr. Richardson and his socialite wife, Nancy Richardson. Tabloids called her the “Love Judge.” Ms. Wood had previously been married to Michael Kramer, a writer and editor.
BYE, BYE CHELSEA HOTEL: COURTNEY LOVE JOINS KRAVITZ, LIV TYLER IN SOHO With only 13 units and an average apartment price of $3 million, 30 Crosby Street (a.k.a. the Loft) is looking like it might inspire the sequel to Almost Famous . In July, Courtney Love signed a contract to buy a 4,000-square-foot loft with high ceilings and lots of exposed brick for $2.6 million.
Fellow rocker Lenny Kravitz has already snagged a penthouse for $8 million. On the top two floors, Mr. Kravitz’s duplex apartment will have a 140-square-foot indoor garden, a 3,000-square-foot terrace and a 500-square-foot master bathroom with two toilets, a bidet and a multi-stream shower.
Actress Liv Tyler dropped by in the second week of October with her father, Aerosmith singer Stephen Tyler, to check out the loft she has agreed to buy. And British restaurateur Lawrence Isaacson (who founded the Chez Gerard chain) has also signed on to buy an apartment.
The seven-story building came on the market in April and, according to the developer, Edward Baquero, who co-founded Landmark Development with his partner Stephen Touhey, only one maisonette apartment is still available, for $3 million. Sources say actress Laura Dern has expressed interest. The apartments start at 4,200 square feet and $3 million.
After reading about the building in the papers (which have reported that Claudia Schiffer, Denzel Washington, Mike Piazza, Cindy Crawford and Rosie O’Donnell have all checked out the building), Ben Stiller decided to use the model apartment on the third floor in his next film, Zoolander , in which he directs himself as a self-obsessed male model who gets brainwashed into killing the president of Malaysia.
UPPER EAST SIDE
233 East 70th Street
Three-bed, three-bath, 1,600-square-foot co-op.
Asking: $699,000. Selling: $660,000.
Charges: $1,600; 50 percent tax deductible.
Time on the market: seven weeks.
HOW TO GET THREE BEDROOMS FOR $660,000 First, be almost totally open about location–but willing to live, say, on a pretty nice block between Second and Third avenues on the Upper East Side. Second, and maybe most importantly, be willing to look for about a year–if necessary, up to the point of being thrown out of the East 20′s apartment you had to sell in order to even look for something bigger. Third, be willing to act your age and even turn down an unfinished loft space (think of your two kids). Finally, just in the nick of time, make a low offer and stick to it even though higher bids come in and you’re facing homelessness. (In fact, a sense of immediacy can help; maybe the sellers are moving to California or something.) And make yourselves out to be the type of buyer a co-op board would adore. It works–at least, it did in this case. The family moved in the day before they would have had to check into a hotel.
312 East 22nd Street
Two-bed, three-bath, 1,700-square-foot condo.
Asking: $1.45 million. Selling: $1.4 million.
Charges: $660. Taxes: $571.
Time on the market: one month.
MOTHER AND DAUGHTER NEST This two-bedroom triplex penthouse apartment, formerly owned by a couple of Brits who favored pictures of Fergie, was bought by a German filmmaker for herself and her 6-year-old daughter. The mother was inspired by the two balconies and the large roof deck. The kid was interested in the storage closet in the kitchen (just the right size for hiding in) and a pigeon nest with little eggs off one of the balconies. After biking over several times from her old home in the East Village, the filmmaker decided to take the place and enlarge her bedroom. Linda Gertler of the Corcoran Group, who represented the mom, said the apartment is “open and loft-like” and has “very good vibes.”
Two-bed, two-bath, 3,100-square-foot co-op.
Asking: $1.25 million. Selling: $1.25 million.
Charges: $1,326; 48 percent tax deductible.
Time on the market: two weeks.
LANDING A LOFT In the beginning of this year, a jet-setting businessman in his late 20′s who had been living in London called up Naomi Klein of the Corcoran Group about one of the properties she had listed on Corcoran’s Web site. The property was no longer available, but the business guy and Ms. Klein got along, and he asked her to show his architect properties all over Manhattan. Ms. Klein and the architect looked at over 30 apartments together before this 3,100-square-foot space came on the market. It was an unfinished loft space for roughly around $1 million. Ms. Klein checked it out on a Wednesday, the first day it came on the market. She tracked down her client at a luncheon in Tel Aviv and told him to “get his butt on a plane” before the open house on Sunday. The businessman came the next day, saw the place, made an offer and got back on a plane. The open house did take place, but the seller, a Japanese lady in her 70′s who was moving to Tokyo, already had fallen for Ms. Klein’s jetsetter. “It was like love at first sight,” said Ms. Klein about the Japanese lady and the businessman. “She wanted him to buy the place.” Not that the businessman got by on charms alone. “She was also very smart and in the financial business, and she knew he would come through,” added Ms. Klein. The businessman is having the entire place redone before moving in. Margaret Heffernan, also of the Corcoran Group, was the broker for the seller.