BROKERS SAY BRUCE WASSERSTEIN; WASSERSTEIN SAYS NOTHING AT ALL Richard Gilder, a Reaganite investment banker behind an ad campaign in support of George W. Bush’s tax-cut bill, has quietly sold his apartment at 927 Fifth Avenue for about $15 million. According to brokers, Mr. Gilder made a private deal in early April to sell the apartment, which occupies the entire 11th floor.
Since late April, Mr. Gilder has been shopping for another apartment on Fifth Avenue with Irene Balsam of Charles H. Greenthal & Company, who confirmed that Mr. Gilder had sold his apartment at 927 Fifth Avenue.
Several brokers said the buyer was investment banker Bruce Wasserstein, who has lived on the 10th floor of 927 Fifth since he bought it for $11.5 million in 1997. They said Mr. Wasserstein could create anapproximately 11,000-square-foot, 25-room duplex with 10 bedrooms and nine baths. Through a press spokesperson, Gene Donati, Mr. Wasserstein would not confirm or deny the deal. Neither Mr. Gilder nor his wife Tess returned a call for comment; nor did 927 Fifth co-op board president Richard Cohen, a real estate developer, and his wife, Fox News Channel anchor Paula Zahn.
Fred Peters, president of Ashforth Warburg Associates, who represented Mr. Gilder when he bought the 11th-floor apartment in 1996 for $10 million, was not aware of the deal. He was sure, however, that Mr. Gilder had done a major renovation. At the time that Mr. Gilder bought the apartment, said Mr. Peters, “the bones … were fabulous, but it needed everything–it had not been updated for decades.” Mr. Gilder bought the place from Augusta Berin, widow of clothing designer Harvey Berin, who dressed Pat Nixon. Mr. Peters said the apartments of Mr. Gilder and Mr. Wasserstein would be “complicated to duplex” and that such a project would create “a really big apartment,” even for Fifth Avenue.
A lifelong New Yorker, Mr. Gilder helped found the private investmentfirmGilder Gagnon Howe & Company in the late 1960’s. In the 70’s, he invested with George W. Bush in the Texas Rangers, and in the mid-80’s, he founded the Political Club for Growth, a group of supply-side Wall Street Republicans that started to funnel money in a targeted fashion to Washington. A Club for Growth political-actioncommittee was formed two years ago and has used contributions to get elected officials to adopt specific legislation. Mr. Gilder’s key issues may ring a bell from President Bush’s campaign: Aside from lowering federal income taxes, Mr. Gilder advocates privatizing Social Security and creating more charter schools through a voucher system. Mr. Gilder’s end in all this, he has told reporters, is a better environment in which to make investments.
At press time, Mr. Wasserstein–who sold his company, Wasserstein & Perella, to Dresdner Bank for $1.34 billion in stock in April–had not applied to the city’s buildings department for a permit to do any construction at 927 Fifth Avenue. As a current resident, Mr. Wasserstein does not have to worry about being turned down by the co-op board of 927 Fifth, as he was by several other co-ops the last time he went apartment-shopping.
But 927 Fifth can be picky. Over the years, the co-op board has rejected Barbra Streisand and Ronald Stanton, the chairman and chief executive of Transammonia Inc., a company that trades and ships chemical products, but it has welcomed Mary Tyler Moore and her husband, cardiologist Robert Levine, and Kenneth Cole and Maria Cuomo Cole. These days, the board is surely more preoccupied with whoever might buy the fourth-and-fifth-floor duplex of ousted Bankers Trust president and chief executive Frank Newman, which is on the market for $19 million.
UPPER EAST SIDE
THE $25 MILLION QUESTION: WHAT’S A CO-OP AT 4 EAST 66TH STREET WORTH? On May 10, a Fifth Avenue co-op popped onto the market and sent the high-end real-estate community into a frenzy. Movie and television producer Leonard Goldberg, who co-produced the Charlie’s Angels movie, is selling his seventh-floor apartment at 4 East 66th Street, on the corner of Fifth Avenue, for $25 million, jointly through Edward Lee Cave and Brown Harris Stevens.
Excited brokers explained that not only does the listing represent the first time in five years that an apartment in this building has become available (in 1996, producer Marty Raynes sold the 11th floor to Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen for $14 million), but Mr. and Mrs. Goldberg’s apartment is said to be one of the nicest in the building. “People are going to go ballistic,” said one source, anticipating the mad rush of brokers trying to show the place.
The price is the hitch. “They just want to see if they can get the $25 million,” said one source, who described the figure as irrationally high. Mr. and Mrs. Goldberg bought the 8,000-square-foot apartment for $8.4 million in 1994 to use as a pied-à-terre . “They use it once in a while,” said one broker. “They’re very social. Wendy [Goldberg] throws benefits there.”
“It is the most beautiful apartment I’ve ever seen, and they could sell it tomorrow for that asking price,” said one high-end broker familiar with the apartment. But another broker said that is 2000 reasoning. “There hasn’t been a deal that size since the beginning of the year,” he said. He also argued that the apartment’s renovation may have diminished some of its value. “When [these apartments] have all their original moldings, they can be absolutely amazing, but I understand this one doesn’t have all the moldings.”
Still, the Goldbergs know that there is a lot of interest in the place. The couple told one source that they get letters and phone calls weekly from people asking if they are planning to sell. The place has 18 rooms, four bedrooms and six baths. More importantly, “it is a major power building,” said one source of 4 East 66th Street, where the tenants include Sid and Mercedes Bass and Veronica Hearst.
151 East 83rd Street
One-bed, one-bath, 800-square-foot co-op.
Asking: $395,000. Selling: $401,000.
Charges: $630; 46 percent tax deductible.
Time on the market: one week.
DON’T MESS WITH MOM Yeah, this apartment has a wood-burning fireplace. Sure, it overlooks a lush garden in the back of the building. The prewar details and arched doorways are nice extras, no doubt, but the single mom who bought this one-bedroom apartment between Park and Lexington avenues didn’t care too much about the aesthetic perks. This sale was all about location. “She bought it because it is in the P.S. 6 school district, and that is what she wanted,” said her broker, Bill Nicolai, vice president of the Halstead Property Company. “That was why she overbid,” he added. In fact, this is the fourth apartment in the P.S. 6 school district the mom has tried to buy, only to be outbid on her first three tries. But time was running out; her child is supposed to start school this fall. Determined to get this place, she bid over the asking price (and a little over her ideal price range). She moved in after subdividing the master bedroom and will renovate the kitchen. Broker Dorry Swope, also of Halstead, represented the seller.
59 West 12th Street
One-bed, one-bath, 900-square-foot condo.
Asking: $1.2 million. Selling: $1.4 million.
Charges: $805. Taxes: $550.
Time on the market: two days.
DESIGNS ON THE NEIGHBOR? Victor Principe of Douglas Elliman was pleasantly surprised that this apartment sold as fast as it did (in just two days) for as much as it did ($200,000 over asking). He thought that asking over $1 million for a one-bedroom apartment that isn’t even 1,000 square feet was already kind of sketchy. “It wasn’t a big place; the kitchen needed a gut rehab, and the bathrooms needed to be done,” said Mr. Principe. “But I priced it like that because I knew it was special.” As it turned out, this apartment–which was being sold by the estate of the late clothing designer Zack Carr III, who did a lot of work for Calvin Klein–was special. In spite of the $1.2 million asking price, a bidding war started in the first hour it came on the market. The guy who finally bought the place is a young executive who works for J.P. Morgan Chase. He’d been looking for the perfect apartment for two years, and once he found this one, he wasn’t going to let it go. Question: Was it the wood-burning fireplace and the wrap terrace that he was so attracted to, or the fact that Marisa Tomei lives right next door?
114 Pierrepont Street
Three-story, 1,600-square-foot co-op.
Asking: $995,000. Selling: $887,500.
Charges: $1,763; 50 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: eight weeks.
EVERY BEDROOM’S A STAGE An investment banker wanted to move his family into a three-bedroom co-op until Laurie Phelan of the Corcoran Group showed him this eccentric property, a small mews building behind a co-op apartment building. The three-story house used to serve as a tiny theater in the early 20th century, back when the apartment building at 114 Pierrepont housed the Brooklyn Women’s Club. The club’s building was converted to apartments in the 1920’s, and the theater building became one apartment of the co-op. The sellers had lived there for a few years, Ms. Phelan said, but were moving to Chicago. According to Ms. Phelan, the building’s interior has been completely modernized–”there are no details,” she said–but the place is well outfitted with a 650-square-foot roof deck and two wood-burning fireplaces.