The Giddy Divorcee: P.R. Kid Grubman Unloads Ex’s Condo

AT 30, SHE SELLS HONEYMOON SUITE, GRABS $2.1 MILLION DUPLEX

Who knew Lizzie Grubman was a divorcée?

Before launching into an extensive celebration of her 30th birthday–starting with a party at Moomba on Jan 29, where she hung out with Mick Jagger, and hopefully ending with a joint party with publisher Jason Binn at Eugene on Feb. 13–Ms. Grubman, a debutante turned public-relations executive, sold the apartment she once shared with her ex-husband, Eric Gotoff, and bought another apartment for $2.1 million.

The new apartment is a 1,430-square-foot duplex, with two bedrooms and four bathrooms, at 200 East 61st Street. She’s been renting a smaller apartment just downstairs for the last couple of years. “It’s the simplest move in history,” she said.

The other apartment, an eleventh-floor co-op at 150 East 69th Street which Ms. Grubman said she’d bought with her then husband when they got married, was sold earlier this year. It had been occupied by Mr. Gotoff, an associate in her father’s law firm, since they separated in July of 1997. The two are “the best, best, best of friends,” said Ms. Grubman.

Their October 1995 wedding was a lavish affair at the Pierre Hotel, complete with a performance by the Village People and a sturgeon ice sculpture filled with $12,000 worth of beluga caviar. The ceiling was covered in wild smilax dendrobium orchids, and the tables were bedecked with 10,000 white roses. The 420-person guest list included Martha Stewart, Mariah Carey and Mort Zuckerman.

A year ago, the exes decided it was time to sell the apartment at 150 East 69th Street, and they both started looking for new places. “We agreed it was time,” said Ms. Grubman. Mr. Gotoff wanted to move downtown, and Ms. Grubman asked her stepmother, broker Deborah Grubman of Alice P. Mason Ltd., to help out. Mr. Gotoff is currently renting an apartment in the West Village.

“Really, in this world, mortgages are more affordable,” said Ms. Grubman of her decision to buy a place. She signed a contract on Nov. 15 for the 61st Street apartment, which is a combination of two units and has a large living room, three terraces and southern, eastern and northern exposures. She plans to turn the upstairs den into an office and move in by the end of February. Ms. Grubman said the decor would be “modern country” with “lots of blues.”

“I think my decorator is great,” she said about Ralph Harvard.

Ms. Grubman, who is currently single, will share her new apartment with her Yorkshire terriers, Peanut and Crunch.

ROMEO GIGLI HOUSE TO BECOME V.I.P. FERTILITY CLINIC

For the past year and a half, a dusty blue brocade curtain hugging a glass door has been all that remained of Romeo Gigli’s boutique on the ground floor of a grand old townhouse at 21 East 69th Street. It’s a sight for sore eyes, when one considers the number of retail establishments along nearby Madison Avenue that are currently shuttered while they’re renovated into boutiques of flagship proportion.

Mr. Gigli, the ephemeral if celebrated designer, had snagged as much publicity for the lavish boutique, outfitted with imported Murano glass fixtures, as for the romantic, even splashy fabrics he used. Once derelict, the storefront was a drag on the whole five-story structure it anchored: a brick “classic” on a quiet block, said broker Barbara Stone of Marcus and Millichap, who marketed the property. Building owner Takashimaya Madison Avenue–a subsidiary of the Japanese retail concern–had tried to sell the property through two other brokers over the course of two years, without getting a bite.

But now, thanks to Ms. Stone’s efforts over the last seven months–she set up a “wide net” to market the property nationwide–there’s a doctor in the house. For $5.25 million, Dr. Norbert Gleicher of Chicago hopes to make the building fruitful again. A nationally renowned fertility expert and a much-cited proponent of “embryo adoption” (where prospective parents are fertilized with frozen embryos rather than submit to fertility treatments, which result in multiple births more than 40 percent of the time). Dr. Gleicher bought the property last November. He plans, Ms. Stone said, to set up a practice in the lower four floors of the 7,100-square-foot building as well as V.I.P. suites on the top floor. According to Ms. Stone, Dr. Gleicher will also keep his practice and home in Chicago.

Dr. Gleicher is no stranger to the city. In the 1970′s, after graduating from Tel Aviv Medical School in Israel, he completed a residency at Manhattan’s Mount Sinai School of Medicine, moving on to a faculty appointment as an assistant professor in obstetrics and gynecology, and then an administrative post as chief of reproductive immunology.

According to Ms. Stone, the building–originally built around the turn of the century for wine merchant Frederick Wildman–is already ideally suited for commercial purposes on the lower floors, with open plans, windows on three sides and an elevator. Few period details survive, so integrating the medical functions with the historic building’s interior will not be an issue. And it appears Dr. Gleicher got a deal: Just 10 days before he came on board, the building’s asking price came down more than half a million dollars, from $6 million.

“We tried to price it more in line with the current market,” said Ms. Stone, who specializes in townhouses. “The market is leveling off … and it’s definitely a good time to be a buyer in the market.”

Still, Dr. Gleicher plans to spend as much as $1.5 million to renovate the space for use as a medical practice.

Ms. Stone insisted the property–whose entrance is set below street level and three doors east of Madison Avenue–is ideal for any commercial use, but did admit that Dr. Gleicher was probably not looking for foot traffic.

“It’s going to be a destination,” Ms. Stone said, making its location off the Avenue less of a detriment. In contrast, the quiet, quaint block may be just the right fit for Dr. Gleicher and his clients, for whom discretion, rather than promotion, may well be the watchword.

EAST VILLAGE

272 East 10th Street

Five-story, 6,000-square-foot townhouse.

Asking: $2.495 million. Selling: $2.275 million.

Time on the market: seven months.

NO MORE SATURDAY NIGHTS It was a typical-looking East Village house, said Meredith Hatfield of the Corcoran Group, the exclusive broker on this townhouse between First Avenue and Avenue A. The five-story house had generously sized, full-floor, three-bedroom apartments and was in need of renovation. But it wasn’t full of rent-controlled tenants. “Houses in the East Village just can’t be delivered vacant” usually, said Ms. Hatfield. “They always have rent-controlled tenants.” This one was filled with a bunch of guys who liked to throw parties. “There was nobody in the building older than 32,” said Nick DiMinno, who produces music for advertisements and was the last person to move out of the building, on Feb. 2. He first rented the three-bedroom apartment on the third floor seven years ago, “and as people moved out, I got my friends to move in.” One of his friends befriended the owner, a musician, and became the super. “It was no one’s permanent residence,” said Mr. DiMinno. “Everybody considered it a place to live before you settled down and matured. It was an open-door policy in the building. Every Friday or Saturday night, different people–friends–were partying on every floor.” Mr. DiMinno and his roommates–buddies from college–were paying $2,400 a month when the owner asked everyone to move out. The tenants thought about fighting it, but they had no legal recourse. And “it was time,” said Mr. DiMinno, who is now shacked up in a one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn Heights. The building was sold to a young banker who will gut it and make a duplex for himself, as well as apartments on the other floors that will be rented out for much more than Mr. DiMinno was paying. This is not the first time the banker has revamped a dilapidated house. According to Ms. Hatfield, he did the same thing a few years ago in Little Italy. Ms. Hatfield thinks this is a little unusual, too. “Even though he’s a banker, he didn’t go for the West Village,” she said. “He goes for a little more run-down neighborhoods.” The banker has already had several architects in to look at the house but hasn’t made any official decisions on how he will renovate yet. The deal closed Feb. 9; the last tenants moved out a week earlier, and the last official party was a week before that.

TRIBECA

108 Reade Street

One-bed, two-bath, 1,800-square-foot condo.

Asking: $1.3 million. Selling: $1.35 million.

Charges: $339. Taxes: $300.

Time on the market: two weeks.

SHE HAS TIME–AND MONEY Unlike most people in the market for a home in New York, the woman who bought this apartment in late January was in no rush. She had been living in a nice rental in the neighborhood and, although she wanted to find something to buy, she had the luxury of being picky. “She was looking for outdoor space, and light was a major requirement,” said her broker, Andrew Darwin of Douglas Elliman. It took her two years to settle on this 1,800-square-foot loft with a mezzanine level and roof access. The couple she bought the condo from had been living there for a year and, although they had an architect draw up plans, they were transferred to California before they had a chance to start any work. That’s fine with the buyer. She has had architects up already and will redo the entire space. Mr. Darwin expects the work to take roughly a year to complete, but the buyer doesn’t mind; she’s got time.