Martin Raynes Cuts $12 Million Deal for Southampton Complex

Developer Martin Raynes and his wife Patricia are clearing out of Southampton. Last July, the couple put their 4.5-acre property at 170 Meadow Lane on the market for $16.5 million. Seven months later, they sold the place for $12 million, and according to their broker, Tim Davis of Allan M. Schneider Associates Inc., they will not be buying anything else in the area.

“They just found they weren’t spending much time here,” Mr. Davis told The Observer . “They spend most of their time in London and Palm Beach.” The Rayneses did not return a call for comment.

The8,000-square-foot,Norman Jaffe-designed house was a monument to the 80’s: a three-story, 17-room modern affair in several different shades of brown wood and stone, with 495 feet of oceanfront, a heated swimming pool, an outdoor Jacuzzi and an all-weather tennis court–not to mention the pool house where 80’s tennis great Vitas Gerulaitis died from carbon-monoxide poisoning seven years ago.

The Southampton home was erected in 1985, the same year Mr. Raynes negotiated his biggest deal: He and Bernard Mendik, another big real estate player of the 80’s (who was also building a house in Southampton at the time) paid roughly $500 million for 45 apartment houses, containing 6,200 rental units, being sold by the MacArthur Foundation of Chicago. The New York Times called it the largest residential real estate transaction that the New York metropolitan area had ever seen.

Indeed, the house was a trophy for Mr. Raynes, a onetime party boy who grew up in Scarsdale, attended the University of Pennsylvania and married Patricia Davis, the daughter of Marvin Davis, the oil entrepreneur who owned 20th Century Fox. On the ground floor there is a large living room with cathedral ceilings, a hand-cut stone wall with a fireplace, hardwood sheathing on the walls, geometric marble floor tiles and views of both the ocean and Coopers Neck Pond. There is also an “informal” living room with an indoor lap pool and a sauna. The second floor contains two bedroom suites, and the third floor is devoted to a master-bedroom suite with another stone fireplace, a media room and a bathroom (marble, of course) overlooking the pond.

Mr. Raynes got his start working for his father, Julius Raynes of Raynes Realty, a company that had extensive commercial and residential holdings. In the 1970’s he started his own company, M.J.R. Development Corp., which specialized in Manhattan residential conversions. But when the real estate boom of the 80’s ended, Mr. Raynes was hurt badly. In 1992, he filed for personal bankruptcy after two of his condominium projects stalled. Then, in 1994, after Mr. Gerulaitis’ death, the tennis player’s family brought a civil suit against Mr. Raynes for $63 million. The case was dropped in 1998. Meanwhile, in 1997, the couple had sold their 11th-floor apartment at 4 East 66th Street for $14 million and were living ina$60,000-a-month rental at Trump International Hotel and Towers at 1 Central Park West.

Although the couple will not be looking for a place in the Hamptons, New York City brokers say that they started apartment-hunting in Manhattan in mid-March. According to sources, they are looking for a place in the $6 million range.

Even for twice that much, it was apparently not architecture or interior design that sold the Rayneses’ Southampton house. The new buyers “are going to make considerable changes,” said Mr. Davis, though they won’t demolish it. “They were looking for a good plot of land more than anything else.”

Mr. Davis said the new owners have rented the house out as is for a good portion of the summer and will begin renovations in the early fall.

UPPER EAST SIDE

ÜBER-AGENT LYNN NESBIT’S JURASSIC PARK AVENUE PAD Thank you, Michael Crichton! Last month, as Lynn Nesbit was sealing a $30 million-plus deal with HarperCollins for the Jurassic Park author’s next two books, the veteran literary agent also got the green light from the co-op board of 480 Park Avenue to buy an apartment there.

Ms. Nesbit paid $3.5 million for the eight-room, 3,200-square-foot duplex co-op, near 58th Street, in a deal that was final on March 12. Broker A. Laurance Kaiser IV of Key-Ventures Inc., who represented the seller, the estate of Judy Cowan, a photographer and philanthropist, said the apartment had been on the market for a year at a selling price of $3.8 million. Ms. Nesbit signed a contract to buy it last November.

“She liked it right away. She adored it,” said Mr. Kaiser, who blamed the closing’s delay on “a slow-acting board.” The apartment has planted terraces off every room, two bedrooms, four bathrooms, a library, a double-height, 37-foot-long living room, a wood-burning fireplace and views to the south and east. “It’s a jewel,” Mr. Kaiser said.

The 21-story building is home to singer Neil Sedaka, former U.S. Ambassador to Italy Maxwell Raab and Rodin collector Iris Cantor.

Ms. Nesbit, who has also bagged book deals for Tom Wolfe, Jimmy Carter, Gay Talese, Joan Didion and Anne Rice in her 33-year career and is co-owner of Janklow & Nesbit, has listed her old apartment, on the 10th floor of 44 West 77th Street, on the market for $5.85 million with Leighton Candler, a broker at Brown Harris Stevens. Ms. Nesbit didn’t return calls for comment.

UPPER WEST SIDE

RIVERDANCE DIRECTOR’S STOMPING GROUNDS GO TO TYCO EXEC FOR $4.75 MILLION As if Riverdance weren’t enough of a cash cow, the man behind the Irish version of Stomp made an even bigger pile of cash after selling this 2,094-square-foot apartment on the 40th floor of 1 Central Park West. John McColgan, the now quasi-retired director of Riverdance , sold the apartment in the Trump International Hotel and Towers to Richard Kashnow, the president of Tyco Ventures, the venture-capital branch of Tyco International Ltd., for $4.75 million.

Riverdance was conceived when Mr. McColgan’s partner, Moya Doherty, decided that a bunch of quick-stepping, semi-traditional Irish dancers would make a great seven-minute interval performance at the Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin in 1994. The audience’s response was so incredible that the partners decided to turn the short dance number into a full-length show. She would produce; he would direct. (He had been the director of Tyrone Productions, a leading independent television and film production company in Ireland, and chairman of Ireland’s national radio station.) They found a few investors, then came up with the rest of the dough by taking out a second mortgage on their home.

The first full-length performance was staged in Dublin in 1995. The show went to England that same year, where the 10 original scheduled performances were bumped up to 150. Factor in the Riverdance CD’s, merchandise and videotapes, and the show rivals U2 as Ireland’s biggest commercial export.

According to Mr. McColgan’s broker, Roger Erickson of William B. May, the director bought the apartment for $4.2 million back in 1999, not long before Riverdance opened on Broadway in March of 2000. When Riverdance closed in January, Mr. McColgan had already put the apartment back on the market last October.

Mr. Kashnow came to Tyco in 1999 after the company bought Raychem Corporation, a public technology firm where he was chairman and chief executive. His new apartment has two bedrooms, a library, and an eat-in kitchen with a washer and dryer. The living room and dining room both have views of Central Park, and there is a central stereo system as well as electronic solar shades.

Dancing is optional.

401 West End Avenue

One-bed, one-bath, 850-square-foot co-op.

Asking: $500,000. Selling: $469,000.

Charges: $927; 50 percent tax deductible.

Time on the market: three weeks.

YOU’D CALL THIS A REGRESSION! Earlier this year, the buyer of this 850-square-foot, three-and-a-half-room apartment had an epiphany. He would sell the significantly larger apartment he had been living in for several years at the height of the market, wait a while for things to cool off, and then find a small place to buy in the same neighborhood with prewar details similar to the old apartment. Who needs all that space anyway as long as you still have your moldings? (Tell that to the rest of the city!) “He wanted to travel more and somewhat retire on the profits from his old apartment,” said his broker, Diane Dickinson of the Fox Residential Group. Buyer and broker looked for four months before finding this place, which has a large turret window, river views from the bedroom and original moldings (of course!). The eat-in kitchen was recently updated, but the buyer plans to redo it anyway, maybe to make it feel more like home.

SUTTON PLACE

410 East 57th Street

Three-bed, three-bath, 2,200-square-foot co-op.

Asking: $1.295 million. Selling: $1.3 million.

Charges: $2,185; 41 percent tax deductible.

Time on the market: two years.

THE MARKET IN SLOW MOTION Back in November of 1998, a family of five was moving to a house, so they prepared to unload this three-bedroom apartment with a maid’s room. In no rush to sell–the new place was getting a gutting–they played around a little in the market, overpricing this apartment just to see what happened. As it turns out, nothing happened. In April of 1999, they reduced the price to $1.4 million; in August of 1999, it dropped to $1.226 million. At that number, the apartment became hot. Three people were bidding, an offer was accepted, but the buyer didn’t pass the board. Still, the sellers were feeling a little giddy and put the apartment back on the market for $1.375 million. (Read: The new place still wasn’t ready.) The price was dropped to $1.295 million before it would sell, this time to a young couple who were renting just a couple of blocks away. They passed the board and bought the apartment the second week in March. The apartment has an eat-in kitchen, a formal dining room, a wood-burning fireplace and marble baths. As for the sellers, their new home is still not ready, but they’ve moved somewhere else temporarily. Jackie Vincent of the Corcoran Group, who represented the sellers, said she showed this apartment more than 230 times in two years.

SOHO

121 Prince Street

One-bed, one-bath, 2,400-square-foot co-op.

Asking: $1.595 million. Selling: $1.525 million.

Charges: $1,100; 56 percent tax deductible.

Time on the market: three months.

UNADULTERATED SPACE This apartment is located in the Tri-Prince building, one of Soho’s oldest loft co-ops, which sprawls over three buildings between Wooster and Greene streets. The owner of this apartment decided to move out of the city. “It is very rare to find a loft that hasn’t been adulterated,” said one broker of the apartment. “This one still had its integrity.” To some, that’s just a nice way of saying the place needs lots of work. The buyers are the second uptowners to buy in this building in the past month. They will redo everything.