he estate of murdered financier Ted Ammon
has removed at least one legal obstacle in the sale of his co-op apartment at 1125
Fifth Avenue, at 94th
Street. According to an attorney for Ammon, Joseph Di Salvo of
McCarter & English, the financier’s $8.5 million lawsuit against the
building has been dropped. Another source involved with the co-op said the
apartment would be back on the market soon for the amount of the suit.
Almost a month before Ammon was found
beaten to death in the bedroom of his weekend home in East Hampton on Oct. 22,
he had filed suit against 1125 Fifth Avenue for what he said was the co-op
board’s failure to review a purchaser for his 10th-floor apartment in a timely
manner. In fact, on the day of his death, responses were due in New York County
Supreme Court from Ammon’s neighbors at 1125 Fifth
Avenue, including actor Kevin Kline and Phyllis Louis-Dreyfus, mother of actor
Julia; principals of the Insignia Residential Group, which manages 1125 Fifth;
and Elizabeth Hobbs, the director of the co-op’s board.
A broker familiar with the failed deal said that a wealthy
businessman who had signed a contract to buy Ammon’s
apartment for $8.5 million in July pulled out when the board took too long to
review his application. “Apparently they couldn’t be bothered to meet over the
summer,” the broker said of the board.
According to several real-estate lawyers, clauses allowing for a
buyer to pull out and keep his deposit if the deal takes too long to close are common, though not commonly invoked. Another broker said
the board has been unwilling to consider applications from subsequent buyers
while the suit was pending. According to Mr. Di
Salvo, the suit was discontinued at the behest of Ammon’s
The apartment is certainly worth some wrangling. Aside from the
address’ star power, there are the apartments themselves-full-floor residences
with prewar detailing overlooking Central Park. Ammon’s 5,500-square-foot apartment, perched high above all
that on the 10th floor, has four exposures, four bedrooms, four and a half
bathrooms, a den, an eat-in kitchen and a formal dining room.
But it had taken eight months for Ammon
to find a buyer. Originally marketed at $12 million in October of last year,
his apartment went into contract for $9.85 million, until that deal fell
through. Put back on the market Feb. 7 for $10.75 million, the last buyer
signed a contract on the place for about $8.5 million in July. When he pulled
out, the apartment was put on the market one last time at $8.9 million, and it
was taken off the market 11 days after Ammon’s death.
However, Jed Garfield, who’d been representing Ammon and is still representing his apartment, has been
showing it privately to interested parties all along.
Brokers said Mr. Garfield is quoting a tentative new asking price of $8.5
million-the value of the suit, and the price at which the last buyer signed on.
Sources said the estate, which has other legal issues to tackle,
is anxious to liquidate the co-op. And even if the private viewings don’t
produce a potential buyer, the underbidder back in
July is still hanging on, according to his broker, and ready to make an offer
when the place comes back on the market.
Further Lane Estate To Get $23
Investor Bernard Mardenhas
signed a deal to sell his 11-acre oceanfront property at 252
Further Lane in East Hampton
for about $23 million to a Wall Streeter, according to East End
The property has been on and off the market for several
years. In May 1999, Jerry Seinfeld toured the place,
then priced at a mere $17 million. But the comedian’s broker told reporters
that he decided it was too “big, postmodern and Palm Beachy.”
In fact, Mr. Marden, who owns
a multimillion-dollar home in Palm Beach,
made headlines in Florida
newspapers when he bought a 17,870-square-foot house there for $16.5 million in
1997. At the time, it was the most expensive deal that Palm
Beach had ever seen. The house is on a 3.4-acre estate
and has 292 feet of oceanfront. Rod Stewart and Ron Perelman
have homes nearby.
Mr. Marden, who has owned the
East Hampton house for about 15 years, has famous
neighbors there as well: art patron Adelaide de Menil,
Bruce Wasserstein and … Jerry Seinfeld,
who eventually wound up paying $32 million for a place right down the road. The
house is 12,000 square feet and has a tennis court, a swimming pool and a
putting green. John Golden of Sotheby’s Realty is the broker on the deal.
upper east side
90 East End Avenue
Asking: $3.825 million.
Selling: $3.75 million.
$2,515. Taxes: $1,622.
on the market: 20 weeks.
AROUND THE PARK A couple from Caracas
had a lot of trouble figuring out what it was they wanted to buy in New
York City. “First they wanted only Upper
West Side,” said their broker, Karen Bressler
of Insignia Douglas Elliman. Then the Upper
West Side was too active for them. “At first they were drawn to
the activity, but then they decided they didn’t want to live around it,” she
said. Next, they wanted to be in a Fifth or Park Avenue
co-op. “They decided they wanted a view of the park, but at
that time those apartments were seven and eight million dollars,” said
Ms. Bressler. She showed them this three-bedroom
apartment with oversize windows and river views on a lark, and although they
liked it, they had, by that time, decided they wanted downtown lofts. So Ms. Bressler started showing them lofts in Soho. The couple was about to make an offer on
a loft they liked down there when they changed their minds and decided to go
back to this apartment. “It was really the best fit for them,” said Ms. Bressler. “It is a loft-like apartment, but it is in a
residential neighborhood, and it feels like a home.”
Central Park South
One-bed, one-bath, 850-square-foot co-op.
Asking: $395,000. Selling: $380,000.
$904; 42 percent tax-deductible.
on the market: one year.
GETTING WARMER In 1998, a young guy bought this one-bedroom apartment in
the rear of the building for $245,000. When he decided to move on to bigger and
better things last year, he figured he would make out. Central Park South was
getting hotter, right? Well … maybe not hot enough. The guy tried to sell the
place for $550,000, which even his brokers, Jesse
Temple and George Nicholson of Gumley, Haft, Kleier, considered too steep a price. (The apartment looked
out over a pretty courtyard, but that isn’t too impressive when you consider
that the people across the hall are looking out over Central Park).
Finally the seller agreed to lower the price to $395,000, and Mr. Nicholson
brought in a young woman who decided to take it. “The sale is still a record
for the building,” said Mr. Temple.
West 13th Street
One-bed, one-bath, 550-square-foot co-op.
Asking: $349,000. Selling: $343,000.
$752; 50 percent tax-deductible.
on the market: three days.
WEST VILLAGE IS FOR MODELS This apartment, on a tree-lined block between
Sixth and Seventh avenues, has almost everything: quaint views looking out on a
former church, high ceilings, wood-paneled closets, a renovated kitchen and a
working fireplace. The only thing missing is … well … space. At only 550 square
feet, “it’s a very nice petite apartment,” said listing broker Nicolas Bustamante of Bellmarc Realty
Downtown, “a nice beginner’s apartment.” Regardless of the lack of space, the
sellers-who’d realized there was nowhere to put the baby they had on the
way-hardly needed a broker to sell the place. An acquaintance of theirs manages
a model who was looking for an apartment. He put her
in touch with Mr. Bustamante, and she signed a
contract almost immediately. But even though the model was psyched to buy the
place, Mr. Bustamante said she’s already talking
about buying the place next-door.
upper East side
sister townhouses get all
A pair of rare adjacent Queen Anne–style townhouses on Park
Avenue, both currently undergoing massive renovation,
are getting very different treatments inside from their new owners, while both
façades are receiving immaculate restorations.
Nos. 709 and 711 are rare enough for being townhouses
on Park Avenue, a street lined with large
limestone-and-brick apartment houses. Built between 1882 and 1885 and designed
by Bassett Jones, the two buildings, between 69th and 70th streets, are
characterized by their ornate masonry moldings, detail work in the buildings’
gables, and a series of setbacks and bay windows that variegate the frontal
façades, with their brownstone bases and red-brick upper stories.
Until May 2000, they were owned by Robert Tobin, the
Texas-based art collector and benefactor who stayed in 711 when he was in town
and rented out apartments in 709. That month, 711 Park
Avenue was bought by renowned Spanish architect
Santiago Calatrava for $7.2 million. Just two months
later, real-estate broker and developer Alf Naman of
the eponymous brokerage firm spent $2.8 million on 709 Park.
On the outside, the brownstone-and-brick façade of 711
Park, loaded with cornices and masonry details, appears untouched and in good
condition-and it will stay that way, according to documents filed with the
Landmarks Commission. But the rear façade of the five-story building is another
Mr. Calatrava, an
ultra-modern architect as well known for his discourses on foldable furniture
as for the stunning footbridge he built a stone’s throw from the Guggenheim
museum in Bilbao, Spain, is adding significant
square-footage to his new home. Mr. Calatrava’s plans
call for extending the basement and first floor of the structure to the back of
the lot, and decking the roof of the first level, outside the parlor floor of
the building, effectively raising the backyard one story up. He is also adding
a sixth story to the building, which will have a skylight and a rear deck, but
will be invisible from the street. He’s enlarging all of the rear windows and
adding a glass-enclosed room to the third floor where there has been just a
At 709 Park, city documents show that Mr. Naman is doing extensive restoration work on the façade and
has contracted Edson USA-a contractor whose motto
reads “Good as new is easy. Good as old takes talent”-for the job. The entire
street level of the façade with its brownstone cladding is going to be stripped
down to the brick and reclad to better match its
next-door neighbor. A contractor on the site described the aesthetic of the
building’s interior renovations as “very traditional.”
Mr. Naman intends to maintain
the eight-apartment use of his building, but sources said that Mr. Calatrava is renovating his all for himself.