ANNE FLOTTL GETS ESTATE-CONDITION BARGAIN AT ‘SOCIALITE CENTRAL’ Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower moved 35 times in the first 35 years of his life, establishing a pattern of domestic restlessness that apparently runs in the family. Anne Flottl, née Barbara Anne Eisenhower, granddaughter of the former President, has in the past two decades lived in a number of tony Upper East Side co-ops, including 1050 Fifth Avenue, 740 Park Avenue and 1 East 66th Street, as well as residences in Southampton, London and on Bermuda.
Eisenhower might have anticipated his granddaughter’s vagabond ways when, in 1953, he christened the 92-foot Presidential yacht (seized 11 years earlier by the Roosevelt administration from Sewell Avery, chairman of Montgomery Ward) the Barbara Anne . (Eisenhower named Camp David for Ms. Flottl’s less itinerant brother, Dwight David Eisenhower II.) Now the very mobile and very social 53-year-old Ms. Flottl, whose photograph often graces the society pages, has a new address for her invites: 775 Park Avenue.
According to brokers, Ms. Flottl recently closed on a $3 million deal to purchase an eight-room, 3,000-square-foot apartment with park views on the eighth floor of the chichi, WASP-y building, after signing a contract for it on April 10. (Maintenance is $3,600.)
Brokers said the apartment in 775 Park, like its new owner, previously had something of an unsettled life. “The owner was an old lady who kept putting it on the market and taking it off for 10 years,” said one broker. “Then she died.”
The apartment, which belonged to April Axton, first hit the market in 1990, with a $2 million price tag. In September 2000, the asking price was $4.35 million, which was reduced to $4.1 million one month later. In April, the asking price was $3.95 million.
The broker was Belinda Brackenridge of Douglas Elliman, who didn’t return calls.
Apparently Ms. Flottl and her husband are shrewd socialites. “They got a very good deal,” said one broker, noting the couple snagged the apartment for about $1 million less than its asking price. But the apartment is in so-called “estate condition” and needs a ton of work. “It was a wreck!” said the broker.
Brokers said the deal closed in early June, after the couple met with the notoriously tough co-op board. They passed with flying colors.
Not everyone is so lucky at 775 Park Avenue. “The building demands impeccable social references,” sniffed one broker. Brokers said the board turned down a buyer for the same apartment last winter (as usual, no one could explain why). But the Flottls, besides their Presidential roots, likely know many of their new neighbors, whose names regularly appear in Suzy’s society columns in W magazine and Women’s Wear Daily alongside theirs: co-op board president and ophthalmologist John Espy; MoMA benefactor William Bernhard and his wife, Catherine Cahill, the former general manager of the New York Philharmonic; and former cereal heir and U.S. Ambassador at Large Francis Kellogg, who was married to socialite Mercedes Bass. Perhaps they can all share a limo to next year’s garden party at the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the debutante ball at the Waldorf.
Besides having an address listed throughout the Social Register, 775 Park Avenue has a rich architectural history. The 13-story limestone and brick building, located between 72nd and 73rd streets, was designed by Rosario Candela and developed by Michael E. Paterno. Completed in 1927, it replaced 10 buildings on the site, including the former residence of legendary soprano Alma Gluck Zimbalist. It is also known as 101 East 72nd Street, though it has four impressive entrances on Park Avenue. The building has 47 apartments, including several duplex penthouses. Each apartment has two to six fireplaces and ceilings nearly 11 feet high.
The effort to upgrade the Flottls’ new apartment in time for that first dinner party is getting underway. The apartment will be renovated during the summer months, when such work is allowed; most residents are safely ensconced in their summer estates. Brokers said the couple should move in by early fall.
Until then, they are not exactly homeless. The Flottls are summering at Keewaydin, their Southampton estate on Halsey Neck Road that was reportedly on the market last summer for $23 million. (They bought it from former Sony chief Mickey Schulhof for $5.6 million.) East End brokers told The Observer that the estate has come off the market; broker Harold Grant of Sotheby’s in Southampton didn’t return calls. The Flottls did not answer the phone at Keewaydin, nor did an answering machine pick up.
Brokers said the couple’s former five-room apartment at 1 East 66th Street, an address one broker called “a fancy pied-à-terre building,” sold for $2.5 million in mid-May, almost immediately after it quietly went on the market. It is significantly smaller than the new apartment at 775 Park Avenue–one reason the couple was attracted to the uptown space, brokers said. Broker Pat Patterson of Sotheby’s wouldn’t comment on the deal.
The Flottls also own homes in London and Lyford Cay, Bermuda. It’s likely they’re very well decorated, given Mr. Flottl’s art collection. In 1999, he sold a Cézanne painting to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles for a reported $50 million.
I.M. RICH: AOL TECH CHIEF GOES RAW IN $4.277 MILLION CONDO Almost 20 years ago, when Barry Appelman was working at I.B.M., he probably never foresaw that the technology he was devising–how to instantly send messages to co-workers through the company’s mainframe–would become the central factor in determining who would control the Internet. Now, as chief technology officer for AOL, he sees the result of his labors in some 656 million instant messages sent every day–not to mention the induction of the AOL Instant Messenger and Buddy List technological specifications into the Smithsonian Institution’s Permanent Research Collection on Information Technology Innovation at the National Museum of American History.
But if there is need for further proof that this is a techie whose fortunes are not dissipating in the Internet fizzle, it may lie in Mr. Appelman’s May 17 purchase of a 12th-story penthouse duplex in Tribeca for $4.277 million.
The pad, at 71 Murray Street, two blocks west of City Hall, has two separate elevator entrances to its 6,000 square feet of space, as well as two large terraces, 11-foot ceilings and four exposures overlooking downtown Manhattan. But, said one broker who has seen the apartment, “it’s completely raw and requires a full build-out.” Another apartment–fully renovated and in move-in condition, but only two-thirds as large–is on the market for $2.9 million, and another apartment in the building rented for $20,000 for the summer, according to Rich Shade of Douglas Elliman.
This apartment has been on the market for two years, although other units in the building have been turning over more easily. Is this another sign that budget-conscious tech types are growing more cautious, opting out of the do-it-yourself condo?
Mr. Appelman seems up for the challenge; after all, he’s in the middle of a pitched battle between Internet service providers at Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL, largely over the technology he developed in an earlier moment of fearlessness and creativity.
GEORGICA COTTAGE STIRS INTEREST, AND NOT JUST FROM BROKERS Though the high-end real-estate market in the Hamptons is weak compared to last summer, there’s still no shortage of buyers for quality homes. That’s especially so in prestigious areas like the Georgica Association, an enclave of lavish homes on the west side of Georgica Pond in Wainscott, where speed bumps slow down traffic on the narrow roads and members–like pop futurist Faith Popcorn, lawyers Michael Kennedy and Peter Bronstein, and film directors Donald Petrie ( Miss Congeniality , Mystic Pizza ) and Robert Benton ( Twilight , Kramer vs. Kramer )–have access to the beach cabanas and tennis courts.
Nestled between Georgica Pond and the Atlantic Ocean, the association is one of the oldest privately held landowner associations in the country, dating back to 1880. (Until the 1950′s, it had no Jewish or gay residents, though now it has both.) In other words, it is not your Puff Daddy’s Hamptons.
So when 4 Eel Cove Road, a seven-bedroom cottage, went on the market a few months ago for $11.5 million, brokers vied for the exclusive, knowing it would be a fairly easy sale even at that price. But no East End broker landed the deal; the house’s owner, Peter Willis, is a broker at LandVest realty, an affiliate of Christie’s located in Boston. He is listed on his company’s Web site as his own broker.
An offer for the house was accepted in early June, but Mr. Willis, when contacted at his Boston office, said he would not disclose the details until he had a signed contract. On June 25, Mr. Willis said, “We should have a signed contract this week.” He added only that the accepted offer was not the asking price–though he wouldn’t say if that meant it went for higher or lower.
According to the Web site, the house was built in 1902 for the Taft family, then passed in 1911 to the Willis family, where it has remained for six generations. The 4,000-square-foot shingled cottage is two stories high and has a 1,300-square-foot covered porch. It features oversize Dutch doors, a large brick fireplace and a 1,060-square-foot living room with high ceilings. Located on three acres on a private peninsula, it has views of the pond and ocean, but no pool.
Hamptons brokers said the house went on the market about four months ago, after it had been offered to everyone in the association. “The house needs a gut renovation, so the land is pricey,” said one broker. “But so is everything out there.”
“Although the house needs work, it’s got that special something that makes it all worthwhile,” said broker Paige St. John of Cook Pony Farm realty in Bridgehampton. “We only get houses in the association every once in a while, and they all sell in moments because it’s one of the most elegant and wonderful hideaways still left in the Hamptons.”
Meanwhile, Sam Waksal, chief executive of the biotech company ImC lone Systems, who is known for his active social life (he dated both Martha Stewart and her daughter Alexis), recently put his Main Street house in Wainscott on the market for $5.3 million. Mr. Waksal reportedly bought a $2.1 million property on Potato Lane in Sagaponack last summer.
UPPER WEST SIDE
104 West 87th Street
One-bed, one-bath, 600-square-foot co-op.
Asking: $359,000. Selling: $355,000.
Charges: $660; 50 percent tax deductible.
Time on the market: seven weeks.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING It should have been a simple deal because, in the end, the first person to see this apartment wound up buying it. This being New York, however, it was more complicated than that. The buyer, a man nearing 40 who works for a consulting company, was the first visitor to the first open house. He’d been looking for a place for two years and decided that this apartment, the back half of the first floor of a townhouse, was just what he’d been waiting for. The entire place needed to be gutted–”The floors needed to be replaced; they couldn’t even be repaired,” said broker Steve Friedman of the Corcoran Group–but the apartment came with exclusive access to a 700-square-foot garden. However, the day after making an offer, the consultant rescinded it. He’d been asked to work abroad, and he didn’t think it was worth buying in New York if he would be spending the next year overseas. The apartment was then taken off the market. “It didn’t show well in the winter,” Mr. Friedman said. Then, after a pause: “It really didn’t show well, period.” But Mr. Friedman relisted it in the spring–coincidentally, at just about the same time the consultant decided he’d had enough of traveling. He was ecstatic to discover that the apartment had not been sold. He is having the place completely redone so that when he returns to New York in the fall, it will be in move-in condition.
UPPER EAST SIDE
151 East 63rd Street
Four-story, 4,200-square-foot townhouse.
Asking: $5.95 million. Selling: $4.95 million.
Time on the market: six months.
MARKET MOVE The sellers of this recently renovated four-story townhouse on 63rd Street, between Lexington and Third avenues, weren’t transferred out of town for work. They recently had a new baby, but this house has five bedrooms, so they weren’t selling for space reasons. And it wasn’t that they were tired of the neighborhood. This sale was specifically about money. “The house was just beautiful–it was a beautiful renovation,” said listing broker Jed Garfield of Leslie J. Garfield & Company “But the seller wasn’t attached to the real estate. He sold it because he felt the market had reached a crest from what he paid two and a half years ago.” The seller bought the house in 1998 for $2.5 million from the Jasper Johns Foundation, which was using the house for its offices. He did extensive work, including the mechanicals and plumbing, but kept the two-story wall of glass that runs along the back of the house. “It was very contemporary,” said Mr. Garfield. The house also has a garage and several wood-burning fireplaces. The buyer is a Wall Street guy who was specifically looking to buy a contemporary townhouse.
84 Charles Street
One-bed, one-bath, 700-square-foot co-op.
Asking: $395,000. Selling: $380,000.
Charges: $495; 50 percent tax deductible.
Time on the market: four weeks.
BUY FREE TIME What to do when your house is too far from work? Buy another one! That’s what an investment banker in his 40′s decided to do. He was spending two to three hours on his commute from his home in New Jersey to his office in midtown, so he asked broker Robin Bowden of Douglas Elliman to help him find something a little closer. His criteria: something with prewar detail, a dining room and a price tag of less than $400,000. And he wanted to find it in three weeks. The I-banker initially had his heart set on the Upper West Side, but he found his home in the West Village. Though his new apartment is only 700 square feet, it does have a dining room, old plank floors, a tin ceiling in the kitchen and floor-to-ceiling and corner cabinets that Ms. Bowden said added to the “Old World charm” of the place. Now the banker will only have to do the lengthy commute on weekends: He’s keeping the Jersey place as a country home.