MOM’S 2,800-SQUARE-FOOT PAD IS UPSTAIRS FROM JENNIFER LEROY’S One night in 1966, at Maxwell’s Plum, his first restaurant, Warner LeRoy spotted a woman at a table by the window and introduced himself as the man she would marry. That woman did marry him, in 1970, and for most of the next three decades, Kay and Warner LeRoy were a prominent uptown couple, reigning over Tavern on the Green and the Russian Tea Room and living in a lavish apartment at the Dakota. LeRoy once reportedly bought his wife a $75,000 couture dress, and the couple is said to have burned through $2 million a year in personal expenses.
In 1999, when their three kids had all reached the age of 20, the LeRoys split up, though they remained close until his death in February. After the divorce–in which she was awarded $22 million and the couple’s house in Amagansett–Ms. LeRoy, a British former TWA stewardess, enrolled at New York University with the intention of finally getting a college degree.
This summer, between semesters, Ms. LeRoy bought a $2.871 million loft at a building called the Greenwich, at 65 West 13th Street, and moved there from the Upper East Side. Having installed herself downtown, Ms. LeRoy is now living under the same roof as her daughter Jennifer, 22, the new chief executive of Warner LeRoy’s $54 million empire.
Ms. LeRoy had accompanied her daughter to the building, the former Siegel’s department store, last winter, when Jennifer was looking to buy her 2,700-square-foot apartment–unfinished space with plumbing and floor-to-ceiling windows. A few months later, Ms. LeRoy went down to the same building on her own to see a 2,838-square-foot loft that was on the market for $2.9 million (common charges are $1,219). The apartment she bought on July 2 is a corner unit with 95-year-old wood floors and large, rounded windows detailed from the outside by ornate railings, said Michele Conte of Brown Harris Stevens, the building’s sales director.
Ms. Conte said the two women were anxious to share an address. “Their relationship is really something,” said Ms. Conte. “They just adore each other …. When it comes to mothers and daughters, this is the way it should be.” Ms. LeRoy wouldn’t comment, and Jennifer LeRoy didn’t return calls.
The LeRoy family has always been very close–at least geographically. At the time of LeRoy’s death, Jennifer and her siblings–Max, 27, and Carolyn, 29–had quarters at their father’s lavish apartment atop 3 Lincoln Center. His oldest daughter, Bridget, 33, from a previous marriage, occupies a small house on the family’s 60-acre Amagansett estate, where Ms. LeRoy has been spending the summer in her own 12,000-square-foot house.
With their father’s death, the kids put his apartment–an 8,200-square-foot penthouse with a screening room, 360-degree views and a gym–on the market for $24 million with the Corcoran Group. Carolyn is still living there with her husband. But, like his mother and his younger sister, Max–who recently returned from a stint in L.A.–is also living downtown now. If they’re scattering, the family still seems headed in the same direction.
UPPER EAST SIDE
A DYNASTY OF 61ST STREET IS DOWN TO ONE HARD-TO-SELL $6.5 MILLION TOWNHOUSE Peter Ausnit’s family started buying up property on the south side of 61st Street, between Park and Lexington avenues, in the 1950′s. By 1985, when they owned all but two of the buildings on that side of the street, they decided to sell four townhouses–112, 114, 116 and 118 East 61st Street–to a developer who could create a residential tower. But that same year, community activists successfully pushed for rezoning of the midblock properties throughout most of the Upper East Side, making it illegal to build a structure greater than four times the size of the existing building. So, in 1987, the Ausnits decided to try to sell the four buildings separately, for $1.9 million apiece. The last one, 116 East 61st Street, is still on the market.
The four buildings, built in 1869,wereoriginallysingle-family dwellings; they were converted to apartments in the housing crunch after World War II. The other three have since been bought and renovated; No. 116 is now a little weather-beaten, but it still has deep crown moldings and working fireplaces, and Mr. Ausnit has restored the bathroom and kitchen fixtures and the oak parquet paneling on the floors. The place is on the market for $6.5 million, and Mr. Ausnit is prepared to wait out the current overcrowded townhouse market to get his price.
Dressed on a recent morning in a straw hat, dress shirt and red pants cinched at the waist with a large Gucci belt, Mr. Ausnit had a firm handshake–no doubt strengthened by his years as a semi-retired real-estate investor. It was already hot outside, but it was cool on the ground floor of the townhouse, where a terrazzo floor had been uncovered in a recent renovation.
“This is my favorite room,” he said, gesturing around the dark, cherry-paneled dining room at the rear end of the ground floor. Though it has French doors leading out to a newly planted garden, the dark room had an eerie, patrician feel to it, accentuated by a wood-burning fireplace with an impressive mantelpiece. “Europeans like it,” said Mr. Ausnit. “Americans don’t like it.”
Each of the upper three floors has two rooms–front and back–and two bathrooms. On the parlor floor, there’s a library and a living room, the latter with a small terrace overlooking the garden. The four bedrooms on the top two floors are large, with two of them measuring 18 by 23 feet.
When the tour was done, Mr. Ausnit confessed an attachment to the house, his favorite on the block. “This is the only one we considered living in,” he said. “My wife had a different idea.” He lives a few doors down, in a huge penthouse he built atop 525 Park Avenue, which his family owned until converting it to a co-op in 1987.
Out on the street, a crew was working next-door on No. 118, demolishing its façade and all the interior walls and throwing dust onto the “For Sale” sign hanging over the terra-cotta-colored façade of No. 116. Selling the place would bring an end to Mr. Ausnit’s family legacy. Then again, he said he’s in talks to rent the house to a foreign ambassador for $28,000 a month.
GOLDMAN SACHS LEADERSHIP GURU LANDS $4.1 MILLION LOFT In May, Goldman Sachs hired Steven Kerr, a soft-spoken, curly-haired Ph.D., as its new chief learning officer. Almost immediately, Mr. Kerr–who’d been working at General Electric in the same capacity–did what anyone else who’d just gotten a fat new salary would do: He went shopping for a fancy new apartment. In early July, he bought a condo at 114 Liberty Street, near Washington Street, for $4.175 million. (Goldman’s offices are at 85 Broad Street.)
Mr. Kerr–who got his degree in management and organizational psychology, wrote The Boundaryless Organization and edited Ultimate Rewards , another leadership guide–is responsible for spotting leadership potential at Goldman and optimizing those leaders’ effectiveness. To that end, he’s instituting a screening process and developing more coaching and mentoring programs. But he knows it won’t be easy. “One of my predecessors at G.E. went to an investment bank and then returned to G.E. with the message that training Wall Streeters can’t be done,” Mr. Kerr reportedly said. “People who are successful are the hardest to change.”
Mr. Kerr’s new home, a former office building that was converted to eight full-floor condos in the late 1990′s, is 6,000 square feet and has four bedrooms, a fireplace, a library, and D.S.L. and satellite-TV service. It used to belong to Steven Elghanayan, one of the developers behind the conversion of the building and the guy who bought the beloved El Teddy’s restaurant in Tribeca (known for the giant Statue of Liberty crown at the top), with the hopes of tearing it down and building a six-story, two-family house. His plans were thwarted when the Tribeca community came out in support of the neighborhood restaurant.
Neither Mr. Kerr nor Mr. Elghanayan returned calls for comment.
2 Tudor City Place
One-bed, one-bath, 800-square-foot co-op.
Asking: $350,000. Selling: $340,000.
Charges: $868; 54 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: two and a half weeks.
CITY WITHIN THE CITY Located between First and Second avenues and 40th and 43rd streets, Tudor City is a small residential enclave in the heart of midtown. All but one of the 12 buildings there were built in the 1920′s in the Tudor style (hence the name), and the area has two parks. Because of its location between the U.N. and Grand Central, Tudor City is a particular kind of place, and when selling this 800-square-foot apartment (in the one non-Tudor building), Sandra Balan of Douglas Elliman realized that the people who live here “are all diehard Tudor City people,” she said. “It was almost freaky. They’d say, ‘I started at 25 Tudor, and then I went to 35 Tudor.’ And whenever I’d show this apartment, they would take my clients aside and say, ‘This is the best place in the city.’” Not everyone was convinced, but a guy who works for the Ford Foundation, which has offices a block away, was. Ms. Balan was unsure, however, if he’ll be a lifer.
UPPER WEST SIDE
50 Central Park West (the Prasada)
Three-bed, three-bath, 2,600-square-foot co-op.
Asking: $4 million. Selling: $3.8 million.
Charges: $2,967; 50 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: 13 months.
THIS OLD APARTMENT HOUSE Only 12 years after Franklin and Samuel Haines built this impressive, French Second Empire-style apartment house, at 64th Street and Central Park West, in 1907, the Prasada’s distinctive mansard roof and attic were ripped away and a new flat roof created–a serious flaw in the minds of some critics. Since then, the building, with its sought-after turn-of-the-century details, has continued to be futzed with. “These apartments get turned over so many times, and the buyers want to put their own mark on the territory,” said Douglas Elliman broker Lee Zimmerman, who just sold this apartment for a single woman who’d spent the last year renovating it. According to the broker, the seller did a number of “restorations”–including work on the ceilings–but also added a “spa-like” master bathroom with a large oval tub and a gourmet eat-in kitchen. “Now the buyer”–another single woman–”is coming in and spending a lot of money to redo it again,” said Mr. Zimmerman. The seller is moving to the new Park Laurel condominium a block away at 63rd Street and Central Park West.
303 West 20th Street
Three-story, 2,100-square-foot townhouse.
Asking: $1.35 million. Selling: $1.3 million.
Time on the market: seven months.
WHO LET THE DOGS OUT? Since the 1970′s, the ground floor of this three-story building has been the home of the Chelsea Dog and Cat Hospital, and the owner, who lives in New Jersey, rented out a small duplex above. Twenty feet wide but only 32 feet deep (plus a small rear extension on the ground floor), this red-brick building is not the typical Chelsea townhouse, but more like a carriage house. Though it dates back to the turn of the century, according to broker James Nelson of Massey Knakal Realty Services, he did not know the house’s original purpose. When the renters were planning to give up the apartment and the owner of the veterinary business decided to move shop, the townhouse went on the market for $1.35 million. Its location–on a quiet block that’s just around the corner from the recently upscale commercial bustle of Chelsea’s Eighth Avenue and local schools–made it a popular listing among small families. After close to 20 offers, the best one–at $50,000 below the asking price–came from a family of four, eager to leave their co-op apartment not far away. They’ll have work to do to rejoin the building’s separated parts, and the condition of the upstairs duplex leaves something to be desired. With this in mind, Mr. Nelson said the buyers were considering leasing out the ground floor again while they concentrate on fixing up the upstairs and then, in time, incorporating the ground floor.