Three years after moving into one of East Hampton’s most desirable locales, cosmetics queen Bobbi Brown is packing up her accessory bags and heading back out. Ms. Brown recently put her five-bedroom West End Road house on the market for $11 million.
An extension of the better-known Lily Pond Lane, West End Road is a quiet, dead-end corridor flanked by the Atlantic Ocean on one side and idyllic Georgica Pond on the other. The passage is home to Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw, director Michael Cimino, former Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee, Kelly-ex-wife of Calvin-Klein, and Time Warner widow Courtney Sale Ross.
“It’s a prime spot,” said a broker who toured the property. “It’s like the best address in East Hampton.”
Before arriving in East Hampton, Ms. Brown was a stylist who gussied up the faces of Meg Ryan, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, Kate Moss and Susan Sarandon, to name a few. She launched an eponymous cosmetics line in 1990 that remains a top seller at retail outlets like Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman. She and her husband-real-estate developer and lawyer Steven Plofker-bought the West End house around Labor Day 1999 for just south of $8 million. The house’s previous owner, philanthropist and former furniture magnate David Silver, gushed about all the charitable events he used to host on the property.
“We did ’em all: Planned Parenthood, Chefs of All Nations, pediatric, dental-I can’t think of one we didn’t do,” he told The Observer . “We lived a lot of happy hours there.”
Brokers who have seen Ms. Brown’shouse-atwo-story French-style farmhouse-say that it’s a modest affair, given the swanky West End address.
“For that location, it’s a pretty simple house,” said a broker. “I would say this kind of house is on the endangered-species list, because someone with $11 million is probably not going to be satisfied with that kind of house. It’s not the way that most people with that kind of money would want to live now.”
That said, the house has servants’ quarters for a staff of two, three fireplaces and five and a half baths. The property includes a large pool, a spacious pool house, a guest cottage and 100 feet of frontage on Georgica Pond-but no ocean views. Ms. Brown, who lives with her husband and three sons in northern New Jersey, did not return calls for comment.
Saudi Arabia: friend or foe? It’s a question the newsweeklies are asking a lot, given the current state of relations between the United States and its often ally in the Middle East. But a spirit of cooperation reigned in Turtle Bay recently when the Saudi government closed a deal on a $6 million penthouse condo for the country’s consul general, Abdulrahman Gdaia. According to a Saudi government spokesperson, no moving boxes will be necessary: Mr. Gdaia has been renting there for the past five years.
“The government purchased the apartment for the consul general,” said the spokesperson. “He’s living there with his wife and children.”
Mr. Gdaia’s 2,500-square-foot, eight-room apartment spans two condo units on the building’s 40th floor. Located near the United Nations, the residential tower is home to a hodgepodge of foreign nationals and diplomats. According to city records, other inhabitants include the consuls general of Kuwait and Bahrain, diplomats from the Republic of Malta and Canada, executives from Swiss Re reinsurers (who are currently battling developer Larry Silverstein over insurance payments on the World Trade Center), and officers of the Bank of India and the Bank of China.
Mr. Gdaia received his Ph.D. from Northern Arizona University in 1985-and even back then was in the thick of issues that dominate international-news coverage today. His thesis was entitled “Nuclear Proliferation in the Third World: An Analysis of Decision Making in India and Pakistan.”
Upper East Side
200 East End Avenue Two-bedroom, two-bathroom co-op. Asking: $538,000. Selling: $525,000. Maintenance: $1,205; 55 percent tax-deductible. Time on the market: 10 weeks.
THE BUZZ ON EAST END When prospective buyers take their final walk-through of an apartment, it always makes their brokers a little nervous; you never know what might gum up a transaction. In this case, the buyers-she’s in marketing, he’s a retired M.D.-noticed a buzz in the air conditioning, and they refused to close on the apartment until it was fixed. And because the buyers’ broker was also representing the seller, she found herself in a difficult situation. “It was a little tricky,” said Desirée Gould, of Insignia Douglas Elliman. “I didn’t want to alienate my fiduciary responsibility to the seller, but I was very appreciative of the buyers’ business, and I knew they were getting a great deal.” The 1,000-square-foot apartment has a large balcony, views of Gracie Mansion and Carl Schurz Park, and a pantry in the kitchen. After a tense two-hour stand-off at the closing, Ms. Gould got up and made to leave. “If we’re not closing,” she declared to the room, “then let’s depart.” The theatrics worked. The prospective buyers agreed to stow their reservations and go ahead with the deal. “I’ll close, but I’m not happy about it,” one of the buyers said, according to Ms. Gould-who’s not about to break out the violin. “The apartment clearly could have been sold at $600,000 or $650,000,” she said. “You would have thought he would’ve been grateful, it was so underpriced. But … no matter how great a deal a buyer gets, they’re still looking for more.”
Upper West Side
2109 Broadway (the Ansonia) Four-bedroom, three-bathroom condo. Asking: $3.3 million. Selling: $2.7 million. Charges: $2,400. Taxes: $3,400. Time on the market: a few hours.
ROAD FROM BALI Most people go to Bali for two reasons: first, there’s the matter of those sublime beaches and luxury resorts; second, there’s Ubud, an inland town so densely packed with gorgeous arts and crafts that artistic genius literally spills out into the streets. Ubud’s most celebrated silversmith is a Canadian man named John Hardey. In a town where most businesses are solo or family operations, Mr. Hardey has 500 artists working under his direction. His products are so hot in America, in fact, that Mr. Hardey decided to buy out his American distributor and take the reins himself. To do that, he needed some temporary digs in New York. He called on longtime friend Michel Madie, of Michel Madie Real Estate Services Corp., to head up the search for a rental. Mr. Madie, who had once visited Mr. Hardey at his tropical paradise of a home in Ubud, was nervous about the prospect of trying to find a Manhattan property that would measure up. “After you see his home and office, you’re shy about presenting anything but the best,” Mr. Madie said. Mr. Hardey ended up signing a six-month lease at the Ansonia-after the Dakota, the most storied prewar apartment building on the Upper West Side. Within two weeks, however, it became clear to Mr. Harvey that he would need to spend even more time in America, so he decided to buy an apartment, preferably in the same building. A week later, he caught a lucky break. Recent buyers in the Ansonia-jarred by the post-9/11 fallout-decided to break their contract on a 2,700-square-foot apartment. Taking in the 11-foot-high ceilings, 400-square-foot limestone wraparound terrace and original bronze window hardware, Mr. Madie swooped down in a matter of minutes. “Frankly, there was a moment I couldn’t believe it myself,” he said. “I was so in love with that apartment.” In love with the apartment’s potential, anyway-the previous owners had gutted it, but not yet begun renovations. “Presently, it’s a big cement hole …. The separation walls are gone,” said Mr. Madie. Mr. Hardey and his wife are staying in the rental while they renovate their new home.
30 East Ninth Street One-bedroom, one-bathroom co-op. Asking: $540,000. Selling: $515,000. Maintenance: $964; 53 percent tax-deductible. Time on the market: five weeks.
COMA CHAMELEON When you lose out on two consecutive apartments because of everyday obstacles like fickle sellers or bidding wars, you can chalk it up to New York’s manic real-estate market. But when a fistfight at KFC threatens your third effort at making a deal, you have to wonder: Is it fate? This vice president of marketing and sales had watched two deals fall apart over the course of six months before happening upon this 875-square-foot co-op. “He was all excited about it,” said his broker, Guy Abernathey of the Corcoran Group. “He liked it better than the other two.” The buyer struck a deal with the seller, and everything was on track for a June 11 closing. But on June 10, the buyer received a phone call: The seller was in a coma. He had gotten into a fight with a security guard at the KFC on 14th Street and Second Avenue. During the fight, the seller hit his head on something hard and-poof!-blackout. Since he hadn’t granted anyone power of attorney, the closing skidded to a halt. “I couldn’t believe what was going on,” said Mr. Abernathey. “It just seemed like he just wasn’t meant to have a home.” When the seller did come out of the coma, he had lost all his long-term memory. “He didn’t know what was going on,” said Mr. Abernathey. “He had no idea that he owned any property.” Given the situation, lawyers on both sides of the deal successfully petitioned a judge to appoint a receiver of power of attorney for the incapacitated seller. So, finally, the buyer got a new home. “It was a sad situation,” said Mr. Abernathey, “But it sounds like [the seller] is on the road to recovery; he’s going to be O.K.”
17 White Street Three-bedroom, two-bathroom co-op. Asking: $2.1 million. Selling: $1.94 million. Maintenance: $1,204; 50 percent tax-deductible. Time on the market: three months.
WHITE STREET KITCHEN In a city where many apartment-dwellers use their ovens for storage space, it’s relatively rare to find a family bent on finding more room to cook. But the matriarch of this family-a chef who teaches and writes cookbooks-just couldn’t make do with her smallish Hudson Street kitchen. “These people needed a little more space to live-and cook,” said their broker, C. Michael Norton, a senior vice president at Insignia Douglas Elliman. The buyers’ new home, a 2,790-square-foot floor-through loft, has a custom-made chef’s kitchen with Sub-Zero and Viking appliances, concrete counters, a Garland stove and a Salamander grill. “The thing I find so interesting is that [post–Sept. 11,] people are coming back to Tribeca and staying in the neighborhood,” said Mr. Norton.