Meet the Upper East Side’s most eligible bachelor pad: Billionaire entertainment mogul David Geffen has listed his Fifth Avenue, one-bedroom co-op for $20 million.
“It’s a dream apartment for a single guy,” said a broker who recently toured the property at 785 Fifth Avenue, off 60th Street. “And as far as price is concerned, it’s somehow worth the asking price, because it’s that unique.”
Mr. Geffen’s massive apartment is different from most spreads on the avenue: The 5,000-square-foot apartment, with a 60-foot-long living-dining-entertaining space with views high over Central Park from the 17th floor, has only one bedroom. “When you walk in, you get this vast panorama of the park,” said Ashforth Warburg managing director Richard Steinberg. “I think it’s the most beautifully appointed and constructed apartment I’ve ever seen.”
The Borough Park native has had his share of beautiful appointments: He founded the DreamWorks SKG movie studio in 1994 with partners Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg. Their production company is responsible for such blockbuster hits as Gladiator , Saving Private Ryan and American Beauty .
In New York, Mr. Geffen lives one floor down from another entertainment heavy: songwriter and producer Denise Rich, who has the penthouse at 785 Fifth. For the design of his own apartment, Mr. Geffen hired famed architect Charles Gwathmey, of Gwathmey, Siegel & Associates Architects.
“I think it’s one of his best works,” said Mr. Steinberg, who described the interior as “sparse and white, dominated by glass, stone and beautiful woods.”
Another broker who has seen the apartment said it made visitors feel as though they were in “a contemporary art galley.”
Though the apartment has only one bedroom-which also looks out on Fifth Avenue-it has a large library and a media room, either of which could be converted to bedrooms. Brokers said the sound-proofed media room has beautifully upholstered leather chairs, a sophisticated video projector and “the biggest DVD collection you’ve ever seen, as you might expect for Geffen.”
Mr. Geffen, who owns property all over the country, recently initiated a lawsuit in California to try to block pedestrians from using the walkway next to his Malibu house to gain access to the beach. Although California beaches are all public property, Mr. Geffen isn’t happy about having the hoi polloi traipse through his backyard to get there. The suit is presently making its way through the California courts.
Mr. Geffen’s office did not return calls for comment, nor did his apartment’s listing broker, Deborah Grubman of Alice F. Mason Ltd.
Rudy’s Dude Howard Koeppel Leaves Empty Nest for Battery
When Rudy Giuliani moved out of his friend Howard Koeppel’s apartment at the Excelsior on East 57th Street earlier this year-the place where he’d been staying since his marriage to Donna Hanover started to unravel-it made Mr. Koeppel feel a bit like an empty-nester.
“After the Mayor moved out, I took a look at the size of my apartment and said, ‘I don’t need anything this big,'” Mr. Koeppel told The Observer .
“To tell you the truth, it was getting very noisy and dirty in midtown. Every time I took the dog out, I found another reason I’d like to get out of the neighborhood.”
So the millionaire Queens car dealer and Giuliani fund-raiser did just that. This June, Mr. Koeppel and his domestic partner, Mark Hsiao, moved into a $2.4 million condo at the new Ritz-Carlton in Battery Park.
“It’s like being in another world, but I’m still in Manhattan,” Mr. Koeppel said. “I have a panoramic view of the harbor and New Jersey and Staten Island and Brooklyn-and it wasn’t terribly much more than what I sold the other apartment for.”
Mr. Koeppel’s new home sprawls over 2,200 square feet on the Ritz-Carlton’s 35th floor. It has two bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms and a grand, 40-foot-long living room. He shares the space with Mr. Hsiao, a Juilliard-trained pianist who works at the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs. Mr. Koeppel has already used the apartment to host a fund-raiser for City Council Speaker Gifford Miller, whom he called “a good friend.”
Mr. Koeppel said the former Mayor has been down to visit a few times, but he no longer spends the night.
“He doesn’t need to,” Mr. Koeppel said. “He’s 58 years old. I think it’s time he had his own place, don’t you?”
According to recent news reports, Mr. Giuliani and his girlfriend, Judi Nathan, bought a $5 million Upper East Side co-op this summer. Mr. Giuliani began staying at Mr. Koeppel’s apartment after news of his relationship with Ms. Nathan surfaced in the press in mid-2001. He subsequently filed for divorce from Ms. Hanover, who continued to stay at Gracie Mansion with their children until the end of Mr. Giuliani’s Mayoral term.
The ex-Mayor’s former roommate said the amenities at his new place are “top-notch,” and that the apartment was move-in quality when he arrived.
“There was really nothing to do, except to put in some dimmer switches and bookcases. I’m very happy-even the dog is happy,” Mr. Koeppel said, referring to his Shih Tzu. “It’s amazing: I open the windows, and at the end of the day there’s no dust on my dark furniture at all. If I did that on 57th Street, I’d have an inch of dust.”
360 West 22nd Street
Two-bedroom, two-bathroom co-op.
Asking: $825,000. Selling: $800,000.
Maintenance: $1,577; 65 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: 10 weeks.
INTERNATIONAL CO-OPERATION When foreigners go apartment-hunting in New York, their brokers usually restrict the search to condos, as most co-op boards are sticklers for things like U.S. income-tax returns and Social Security numbers. So when this couple from Hong Kong-they’re British, and he works for a large investment-banking firm-learned that they had to relocate to New York, their U.S. broker, Erin Aries of Insignia Douglas Elliman, started combing condominium buildings in Chelsea. Nothing turned up, so Ms. Aries took a risk and checked out a co-op apartment at 360 West 22nd Street. William B. May broker Chris Grunow, who was selling the apartment, said Ms. Aries asked whether the co-op board might make an exception for foreigners. “She asked, ‘Is this board really strict? Because I have someone who would be a really good fit,'” Mr. Grunow recalled. So he talked to a board member and laid out the facts: The clients were willing to do an all-cash deal, they worked for a reputable company, and they had good references. “If they were from Iraq or something, it would have been a different story,” said Mr. Grunow. “The wife even said, ‘If it matters, I’ll borrow a bunch of diamonds from my friends for the interview.'” Mr. Grunow assured her that wouldn’t be necessary, and they cruised through the closing. “The point is, for the right person, a co-op will open [its] doors a little bit wider,” said Mr. Grunow.
lower east side
268 East Broadway (Seward Park)
One-bedroom, one-bathroom co-op.
Asking: $340,000. Selling: $322,500.
Maintenance: $457; 45 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: less than a week.
SWEDE SUCCESS The previous owners of this newly renovated, 800-square-foot co-op were plenty angry when their broker-Audrey Nevitsky of Charles H. Greenthal-showed up to host their open house. Apparently someone in Ms. Nevitsky’s office had screwed up the open-house ad, so it was a sure bet that no one would be showing up. “They looked very grim,” Ms. Nevitsky said about her clients. “She was annoyed with me.” To boot, the need for a quick sale wasn’t escaping anyone: The lady of the house was five months pregnant. To salvage what she could of the day, Ms. Nevitsky dashed off a hand-written flier and put it down in the building’s lobby, hoping some passersby would trickle in. She wasn’t harboring high hopes. “I thought it was very highly priced,” she said. “I looked at [comparable sales], and only the penthouse had gone for that price.” Still, the inhabitants had done quite a job on the place. He sells high-end Italian furniture and had decked out the apartment accordingly. She’s an art director for a Web site and had some original art hanging on the walls. Post-renovation, rust-colored granite was laid for the countertops, frosted-glass cabinets surrounded the kitchen, and bright track lighting ran across the living-room ceiling. “It looked very Swedish,” said Ms. Nevitsky, “which the husband was.” And so was the guy who walked through the door after seeing Ms. Nevitsky’s impromptu ad; the two parties worked out an acceptable offer within 24 hours.
376 President Street
Two-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bathroom condo.
Asking: $475,000. Selling: $537,000.
Charges: $212. Taxes: $24.
Time on the market: one day.
$70 K. IMPULSE BUY A married couple was living happily in their Carroll Gardens condo when they noticed an open-house sign for an apartment in their building. She’s a vice president at a large investment bank; he’s a graphic designer. On the day of the open house, about 75 people showed up to see the fourth-floor duplex apartment. “They had no intention of looking for an apartment,” said their broker, Steven Gerber of the Corcoran Group. “But out of curiosity, they came.” When the designer and investor hiked up to the fourth floor, they quickly decided it was time to trade up. Not only was the apartment larger-a 16-foot-high kitchen/dining/living area with huge oversize windows-but it had an extra half-bathroom and a 250-square-foot private roof deck with skyline views. Of course, 75 other people came through that day, and Mr. Gerber got five bids on the apartment. The couple had to fork over almost $70,000 over the asking price to move upstairs. Shirley Morris, also of the Corcoran Group, worked with Mr. Gerber on the deal.