Advertising executive Richard Kirshenbaum may have found a slogan for the western Hamptons: “Southampton without the self-consciousness.”
The words belong to his real estate broker, Suzanne AasboofTradewinds Real Estate, but they may as well have come out of the mouth of Mr. Kirsh-enbaum,39,whothrows around phrases like “ahead of the curve” when describing Quiogue, a tiny hamlet between Quogue and West Hampton Beach where he bought a two-acre estate in November.
Continuing with his pitch for the less famous Hamptons, Mr. Kirshenbaum,co-chairman of Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, said he stopped renting summer homes in Amagansett two years ago, when he took a place in Quogue. “I know a lot of young couples who have children and want to vacation in the Hamptons,” he said, “but don’t necessarily want to spend five or six hours in a car.”
When they decided to buy a place, Mr. Kirshenbaum said, he and his wife Dana, who have five-month-old twins–a son and a daughter–looked at about 100 houses. They made an offer for just under the asking price of $1.85 million last August on the Homens Road home of June Clemens Ewing, who passed away last year. The deal closed earlier this month.
Built in 1911, the 2,200-square-foot main house has three stories and six bedrooms, beamed ceilings, brick patios, two fireplaces and a turreted tower. Across two acres of property there’s also a guest cottage with a fireplace, a barn and apple, walnut, pear and cherry trees. The couple plans to install a pool as part of their $1 million renovations of the house, which was in shabby condition. Ms. Ewing’s sister still lives across the street.
Heading west is a trend in the Hamptons, according to Mr. Kirshenbaum. “The most amazing thing right now is that so many people I know are trying to get into the area,” Mr. Kirshenbaum said of Quiogue.
“My feeling was that there would be an exodus of people moving west,” said one 32-year-old married financial analyst who bought a $1.3 million house in nearby Quogue last January. He is currently in the process of tearing down the existing house and building another one. “The drive [to East Hampton] is just unbearable–plus once you’re out there, it is the same people you see everyday in the city. In the worst conditions, the drive to Quogue is an hour and 45 minutes.”
Another couple, Ken Cohen, a health-care consultant, and his wife, Marjorie Cohen, who works as a fashion sales consultant, bought a 1920′s home for just over $650,000 in Quogue last January and moved in on June 24. “We looked in North Haven, Sag Harbor, all along the north coast of the South Fork,” Mr. Cohen said. But Quogue “is a lot closer to New York, where we have to commute to work, and it has a reasonable tax base, and it’s quiet, and we’re close to the beaches here.”
Prices are lower, too, according to Norma Reynolds, who owns a realty company in West Hampton Beach where, she said, “buyers can get the house they wanted.”
“I have had a few customers buy in Bellport instead of the Hamptons and in Westhampton and Quogue, but I’ve also had customers buy on the North Fork, in upstate New York and in Connecticut,” said Paige St. John of Cook Pony Farm Realty in Bridgehampton, closer to the red-hot center of the Hamptons, East Hampton.
“There are always people who want to come to the Hamptons. I’ve been out here since I was born, and there are always people saying the place is ruined and leaving,” said Ms. St. John. “They are just replaced by a new set of people, some of whom get sick of the whole scene and leave and are then replaced by a whole other group of people again. And the cycle goes on and on.”
IT HAPPENED ONE FALL: $12 MILLION TOWNHOUSE SETS RECORD DOWNTOWN It has happened: A townhouse in the West Village sold in late October for $12 million–a record high for a house in the neighborhood.
Even at almost $1 million below the asking price, the amount paid for 12 St. Lukes Place, a four-story brownstone between Hudson Street and Seventh Avenue, shocked neighbors and real estate industry observers. The buyers, according to brokers, are a couple in the financial industry.
Sara Gelbard of the Corcoran Group, the broker representing the seller, confirmed the sale but refused to comment.
Although St. Lukes Place is one of the most desired streets in the neighborhood–Robert De Niro has a home on the block, and Linda Ellerbee lives there–brokers were still surprised at the hefty asking price when the building first came on the market for $12.995 million last June, especially since the sellers had paid a mere $2.9 million for the house five years ago.
“It’s beautifully renovated,” said one broker at the time, “but still, that’s quite a jump.”
The house, part of a row of 12 landmarked houses that were all built between 1852 and 1853, is located across the street from the James J. Walker Park, named for the Mayor who used to live in No. 6. The houses are especially wide for the Village–12 St. Lukes Place is 21 feet wide–and most were built with “triple parlors,” three rooms on the parlor floor.
In addition to a two-story, sky-lit former artist’s studio out back, the house has a small garden and a large deck on the third floor. There are also two bedrooms and two baths each on the third and fourth floors. On the garden level, there’s a fifth bedroom and bath that has been variously used as a maid’s room and an office.
Do I hear $13 million?
UPPER EAST SIDE
1141 Park Avenue
Four-and-a-half-story, 5,800-square-foot townhouse.
Asking: $4.4 million. Selling: $3.6 million.
Time on the market: 15 months.
NOBODY EVER KICKS THE KIDS OUT ANYMORE The parents of two college-age kids who bought this turn-of-the-century limestone and brick building on the northeast corner of East 91st Street probably thought the purchase was their greatest idea ever: Buy a hacked-up tenement, gut the whole thing (including the two doctors’ office duplexes as soon as their leases expire) and turn the five-unit building into a townhouse with a lobby to try to convince the kids that it is really three separate residences. The kids will be seduced by rent-free living in New York, and you get to keep them under your roof–a Park Avenue address, no less. The “great idea” was brokered by three Douglas Elliman brokers: Nancy Weaver and Tom Wexler, who sold this house to the seller almost 20 years ago, and Patricia Warburg Cliff, who brought the family over from another townhouse on East 78th Street.
UPPER WEST SIDE
2000 Broadway (Copley Condominium)
Two-bed, two-bath, 1,265-square-foot condo.
Asking: $875,000. Selling: $858,000.
Charges: $963. Taxes: $808.
Time on the market: five weeks.
ONE MORE FORTUNE HUNTER A single guy from California was coming to seek his fortune in New York–in finance, of course. A modern man, he started searching for apartments on the Internet, where he came across an apartment for sale with Naomi Davis of Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy. That condo had already been sold, but the two hit it off, and the Californian asked Ms. Davis to help him find a two-bedroom apartment. The place had to be pet friendly (the client came with a schnauzer). They looked at several condominiums before choosing this one: a two-bedroom apartment being sold by an estate at the Copley Condominium, a 28-story building on Broadway and 68th Street. The Copley, which was completed in 1986, has a doorman, concierge, gym and swimming pool. The executors of the estate were initially asking $925,000 for the apartment but reduced that to $875,000 when no one made any offers. They then accepted almost $20,000 less than that.
440 West 23rd Street
Two-bed, two-bath, 1,450-square-foot co-op.
Asking: $1.175 million. Selling: $1.175 million.
Charges: $1,076; 17 percent tax deductible.
Time on the market: one month.
THE PARISIAN INTERPRETATION OF T.L.C. This duplex in an 1850′s row house between Ninth and 10th avenues has 12-foot-high ceilings, two fireplaces and a balcony off the back. Add to that the T.L.C of two creative types (one an architectural designer), and you get an elegant prewar space with French doors separating the rooms, crown moldings and a chandelier in the bedroom. “You didn’t feel like you were in New York,” said the pair’s broker, Susan Wires of Stribling Wells & Gay. Enter a Parisian woman who won out over four other interested buyers. She had tried for a few months to buy an apartment in this group of townhouses–described in the American Institute of Architects Guide to New York City as “a phalanx of Anglo-Italianate brownstones opposite the bulk of London Terrace.” She was “very qualified”–i.e., rich–”and we thought she would be the best for the building,” said Ms. Wires. The deal closed in mid-October.