Chicago producer Marty Richards hasn’t won the Best Picture Oscar yet, but he recently realized another long-held dream: selling his two apartments at Trump World Tower.
Late last week, the 71-year-old showman signed contracts to sell the two neighboring units that he bought in June of 2001, then put back on the market last October without ever having moved in.
The apartments, for which he paid $3.6 million and $1.75 million, were last asking $2.95 million and $1.595 million, respectively. Mr. Richards never combined the units, and sources close to the deal said that contracts had gone out to two separate buyers, although it wasn’t clear at press time exactly how much they’d agreed to pay. The apartments cover a combined 4,500 square feet, offer south, west and east views, and have 12-foot-high ceilings. Listing agent Dennis Mangone, a vice president at the Corcoran Group, declined to comment on the deal.
Mr. Richards currently lives in a lavish 16-room maisonette apartment at the River House, an exclusive co-op building on East 52nd Street and the East River. In early 2000, it was his intention to sell that spread and move into the Trump World Tower, a 90-floor high-rise located at 845 U.N. Plaza, near East 47th Street. In June of 2000, he signed a $17.5 million contract to sell his River House apartment to Joseph W. Luter III, the chief executive of Smithfield Foods Inc., the world’s largest hog producer and pork processor. Written into the deal was a stipulation that Mr. Luter wouldn’t move in until April of 2001, when Mr. Richards’ apartments at the Trump World Tower were scheduled to be ready for occupancy.
But Mr. Luter got cold feet at the last minute and walked away from the deal, leaving Mr. Richards without a buyer. Some time thereafter, Mr. Richards had second thoughts of his own and decided against moving into the Trump World Tower. So in October of 2002, he put both condos on the market for a combined total of $6 million, while at the same time asking $16.5 million for his River House apartment. It’s still on the market at that price, and listing broker George Vanderploeg of Insignia Douglas Elliman declined to comment on the property.
If I had a Million Dollars, I’d Seduce Katharine Hepburn
When 48-year-old fledgling playwright John Falcon won a $45 million New York State Lotto jackpot in 1999, he knew it would soon be possible to realize his long-held fantasy: to buy a luxurious Manhattan apartment with floor-to-ceiling windows.
He got the idea when, as a teenager growing up in the South Bronx, he saw the 1937 movie Stage Door , in which Katharine Hepburn’s character gets seduced by an older man, played by Adolphe Menjou.
“Adolphe tried to get into Kate’s pants,” Mr. Falcon recalled, “and he did it by bringing her to his penthouse apartment, where he had beautiful floor-to-ceiling windows. And it was at that moment, being my little 16-year-old self, that I said, ‘Yes, Mommy, that’s where I’m going to live.’”
One 17-year-long relationship (“I’ll never do that again!” he said), $45 million and one $1.935 million Trump World Tower apartment later, he’s ready to do just that.
“I’ve certainly had my offers, girls and boys,” said Mr. Falcon, who has dated both but declares women “too much work.”
“Since winning, it’s amazing how cute I’ve become.”
Of course, you can’t plunge into the really expensive real estate right after winning, and since his 1999 windfall, Mr. Falcon had been living in a 1,300-square-foot rental on Sutton Place. There, he’s been collecting art while waiting to find the perfect Adolphe spread, complete with floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the entire Manhattan skyline.
“There’s nothing more glorious than having a glass of wine with the lights turned out, and sitting and looking out of the kitchen’s floor-to-ceiling windows,” said Mr. Falcon.
His dream pad has 2,089 square feet, two bedrooms and three full baths. The apartment’s main living space is anchored by a baby grand piano in the corner. Mr. Falcon is still in the process of decorating, but his winnings have bought him some formidable anchor pieces: paintings by Edward Hopper, Alexander Calder, Oskar Kokoschka and Paul Cadmus, two “Corona” chairs designed by Swedish master Poul Volther, and an Art Deco credenza designed by Jacques Adnet.
A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology, Mr. Falcon was best known before winning the lottery for his John Leguizamo–flavored one-man show, A Short Puerto Rican Guy Sings Songs of Angst .
True to form, Mr. Falcon said that despite his South Bronx upbringing, his is not the usual script for the Lotto-winner story.
“Usually it’s short-order cooks or bus drivers who win the Lotto,” said Mr. Falcon. “But here I was, this performance artist who’s lived on the Upper East Side, who collects art-I was not the stereotype for a lottery winner; except that I’m Puerto Rican.”
His story attracted the attention of a documentary filmmaker, who spent several months following Mr. Falcon around with a camera. The finished movie, entitled One Man Show , has just been accepted to the Rough Cut film festival, and its director is currently trying to arrange a theatrical release.
These days, Mr. Falcon finds himself doing a lot of art-shopping in Europe. A lifelong vintage costume-jewelry enthusiast, Mr. Falcon hopes to add sufficient breadth to his collection to some day open a small museum filled with his booty. That, he says, will probably require the purchase of a townhouse.
“I don’t think Mr. Trump would appreciate my doing it in his building,” he joked.
Perhaps-but Mr. Trump was nonetheless delighted that Mr. Falcon picked a Trump building to live out his fantasy.
“I predict great things for this man,” said Mr. Trump. “He has very good taste.”
UPPER EAST SIDE
13 East 77th Street
Five-bedroom, six-bathroom townhouse.
Asking: $5.85 million. Selling: $5.225 million.
Time on the market: seven months.
LAUDER HOUSE SELLS In 1955, Estée Lauder, founder of the cosmetics company that bears her name, bought this five-story townhouse as her first private residence. She later told an interviewer, “It had always been my dream to live in Manhattan on the East Side.” Ms. Lauder and her husband raised their children there until 1966, when they sold it to Count Guy de Brantes, brother-in-law of former French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, who stayed at the house during visits to New York (and undoubtedly found New Yorkers a more welcoming bunch than would current French President Jacques Chirac). In 1977, Count de Brantes sold the house for $250,000 to the head of a Brazilian metallurgical conglomerate called Eluma. The Brazilian industrialist owned it until this month, when he sold it-at a profit of almost $5 million-to a surgeon in private practice on the East Side. According to the surgeon’s broker, Martin Cherlin, a senior vice president at Key Ventures Realty, his client is a history buff, and he spent some time in the library researching the building’s history before going to contract on it. “What clinched it for him was the history of the house,” said Mr. Cherlin. The house was built in 1885, along with four or five others in a row on the block, and it still retains its Victorian moldings, floors and other period features. Around the turn of the century, however, the building’s owners added an extension to the front of the house, so the now-landmarked Neo-Federal façade juts out about 10 feet from the rest of the houses in the row. The building also has more than 5,400 square feet of interior space, a garden and a full basement. The house’s listing broker, Kirk Henckels, director of Stribling Private Brokerage, declined to comment on the deal.
880 Fifth Avenue
Two-bedroom, three-bathroom co-op.
Asking: $1.395 million. Selling: $1.31 million.
Maintenance: $2,027; 45 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: three weeks.
WINDOW WASH Attention, all collectors of co-op board oddities: At 880 Fifth Avenue, every new apartment owner has to pay a window tax. “A what?” you ask. “This past fall, the co-op board made a rule saying that all future purchasers must replace the windows in the unit they’re buying,” said the broker on this deal, Charles Russell of the Corcoran Group. “It’s a good idea, because it’s a postwar building, so half of the windows are old. The new rule will make them all conform.” Not that the new rule was much of a burden to the new owners of this unit: They were planning on gutting the place anyway. The last owners bought it from an estate sale, and they only slapped on a coat of paint and spruced things up a bit before selling it. The buyers, who were originally just looking for a pied-à-terre , gravitated toward the large apartment with the reasonable asking price: It’s an 1,800-square-foot “classic-six.” “The real attractions here were the direct park views and location,” said Mr. Russell. “Also, the building’s basement has the best parking deal on the Upper East Side: $345 per month for residents.”
UPPER WEST SIDE
245 West 74th Street
Two-bedroom, two-bathroom co-op.
Asking: $1.375 million. Selling: $1.3 million.
Maintenance: $1,126; 45 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: one month.
THE HOUSE YOU SELL MAY BE YOUR OWN Insignia Douglas Elliman sales associate Mark Landrey had no trouble showcasing this terraced duplex apartment; it was his own. “It was a little odd,” he said. “Every time someone would come in, I’d try to figure out at what point I should mention that it was my apartment.” As it turned out, that “point” was almost immediately. “You don’t want people to feel like you weren’t being completely honest with them, and also it helped me explain the unit. I knew, for example, that you didn’t ever hear noise from the neighbors, and that you got sun all day.” At the same time, it was a bittersweet moment when Mr. Landrey gave up his home of almost 10 years. The apartment has a 1,600-square-foot outdoor terrace, and Mr. Landrey and his partner spent years transforming it into a full-on botanical garden. There was a mix of annuals and perennials, deciduous and non-deciduous-evergreens, pines, tulips and apple trees that grew apples. “I didn’t realize the bond was as strong as it was, and it was primarily because of the garden,” he said. “You watch trees grow over 10 years … it was hard to leave.” Nevertheless, the apartment only had 1,250 square feet of interior space, and Mr. Landrey and his partner needed to expand. They’re considering buying a brownstone. The new owner of their old place is a single guy in his early 30′s who runs his own consulting business. “He entertains a lot,” said Mr. Landrey. “So for him, the outdoor space was attractive.”