For the second time in less than two years, Joanne Corzine, ex-wife of New Jersey Senator Jon Corzine, is poised to make millions from the sale of a luxury condominium in which she’s never lived.
Early last week, Ms. Corzine put her Tribeca penthouse loft on the market for $6.9 million-$3.2 million more than she paid for it in late June of 2002, shortly after her divorce from the Senator.
It’s a 3,910-square-foot apartment at the Cobblestone Lofts, a new condo conversion located at 28 Laight Street, between Hudson and Varick.
According to her broker, Patricia Cliff, a senior vice president at the Corcoran Group, she custom-fitted the apartment with a renovation that cost over $1 million.
Ms. Corzine declined to comment on her latest move.
“It was a complete renovation, and then her plans changed,” Ms. Cliff said. “She has not moved in, nor is she going to.”
Whether or not Ms. Corzine ever intended to live at 28 Laight Street, the New Jersey–based real-estate developer-who also owns property in Telluride, Colo., and eastern Long Island-has some experience in turning a quick profit. Back in August 2001, she and Senator Corzine flipped an unfinished duplex condo at 515 Park Avenue for $18 million, which was $3 million more than they’d paid for it.
Ms. Corzine’s apartment has four bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms and a 2,900-square-foot wrap-around terrace, which is accessible from every major room. Smaller terraces also jut off two of the bedrooms, and two skylights crown her simplex unit. According to Ms. Cliff, Ms. Corzine’s renovation includes Wenge wood and Cipelino-tiled floors, special lighting systems for wall-hung art, coffered ceilings, a gas fireplace and a self-contained HVAC system. The furniture is upholstered in beige and earth tones.
“They’re the best finishings I’ve seen downtown,” said Ms. Cliff.
Hi, Mom! Slugger Mo Vaughn’s Parents Rent Jockey’s 30th-Floor Stable, Close to Shea
It has all the makings of a half-baked ESPN reality show: New Jersey’s dominant jockey rents out his apartment to the parents of a star slugger for the Mets. And it’s happening this summer in Floral Park, Queens, where “Jersey” Joe Bravo, New Jersey’s leading jockey for the last nine years, has rented out his co-op to the parents of Mo Vaughn.
They want to be close to Shea Stadium so they won’t miss a game, and the jockey doesn’t need his apartment anyway, because all his summer races are in New Jersey.
Possible plot lines include: Mr. Vaughn, short on laundry, raids Mr. Bravo’s closet, only to be reminded that Mr. Bravo stands 5-foot-2; or Mr. Bravo returns home early, unannounced, to find the Vaughns hosting a party for Mets owner Fred Wilpon, and the Cracker Jacks fly. Mr. Bravo thinks both scenarios are long shots.
“I took all my clothes with me,” he said, “and I don’t think parents are going to be throwing parties.”
Mr. Bravo’s apartment is a 30th-floor unit at North Shore Towers, a multi-tower gated community on the far eastern reaches of Queens, just west of the Nassau County border.
The complex has an 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, an outdoor pool and an arcade mall with assorted services. Mr. Bravo bought an apartment there primarily because it’s close to both the Belmont and Aqueduct racetracks.
His sporting arrangement with the Vaughns came about when, earlier this year, Mr. Bravo got a call from his broker, Linda Rappaport of Charles H. Greenthal & Co., who asked if he’d be interested in renting out his co-op this summer.
“I really wasn’t thinking about renting, but I said, ‘That’ll work out good, because I’m not coming back from Jersey until the end of the summer,’” he said.
Ms. Rappaport, who is the head of on-site sales at North Shore Towers, said the Vaughns rented an apartment at North Shore Towers last year and wanted to repeat their arrangement this year.
“They follow their son wherever he plays, no matter what team he plays for,” she said. “They’re very devoted to him, and they never miss a game.”
For his part, Mr. Bravo said he was tickled when he heard about his prospective tenants.
“When I heard it was Mo Vaughn’s parents, I thought: ‘Cool! He’s a well-respected guy, and one of the best ball players out there,’” he said.
Ms. Rappaport said the Vaughns are renting Mr. Bravo’s 1,000-square-foot, one-bedroom unit at the rate of $3,250 per month through September. The apartment has two plasma televisions, cherrywood cabinets and granite floors, and views overlooking eastern Long Island.
Mr. Bravo, 31, who is the top racer, in terms of races won, at both Monmouth Park and the Meadowlands, has a home in Eatontown, N.J., where he stays while he’s racing at those tracks. The Jersey jockey said he spoke to the Vaughns several times on the phone, and pronounced them “the sweetest people you could ever talk to.”
And as for box seats at Shea?
“They said any time I needed tickets for any Mets game, they said to call and they’d have the tickets waiting at [the] will-call [box],” he said.
Mr. Bravo added that there isn’t much racing memorabilia around the apartment for the Vaughns to pore over, but he did leave them a few bottles of Merlot.
“I told them they should treat it like their own,” he said.
RECENT TRANSACTIONS IN THE REAL ESTATE MARKET
247 Lennox Avenue
Asking: $995,000. Selling $970,000.
Time on the market: five months.
BUY THE NUMBERS When the London-born buyer of this townhouse first started his search, he didn’t know the difference between a co-op and a condo. And after he learned, he was quickly turned off. He’s the chief financial officer of a New York bank, and according to his broker, Anita Carter of Charles H. Greenthal, this value-focused numbers guy had real problems with both types of apartments. “With co-ops, you just get shares in a corporation, and he didn’t like the idea of spending all this money and, in the end, you don’t even own any property,” she said. Condos were equally distasteful to him because, Ms. Carter said, he didn’t feel the “outrageous” prices justified the square footage. “Working with him, he was always thinking about the numbers and whether they made sense,” she said. What did make sense to him was to acquire an entire building for the same price he would have paid for a two-bedroom apartment. So with that in mind, his fiancée suggested that they look up in Harlem, where deals like that are still possible. She had worked in the area for the last five years (most recently at a hospital) and liked the direction the neighborhood was taking. “He became very up on the area,” Ms. Carter said. “He’s tickled pink.” Their new house, at 122nd Street, last belonged to a developer who had given the building a gut renovation. It’s a 19-foot-wide, 5,225-square-foot, four-unit house; the owners will take the duplex on the ground and second floors, and they plan to rent out the upper three floors. Ms. Carter’s partner on the deal was Frank Prescod, also of Greenthal. Yolanda Chang of Home Realty had the exclusive on the property.
UPPER EAST SIDE
815 Park Avenue
Three-bedroom, three bathroom co-op.
Asking: $1.95 million. Selling: $1.75 million.
Maintenance: $2,667; 54 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: 10 weeks.
PILL-POPPERS, ON PARK? If you’ve ever filled a prescription at a large pharmacy, chances are your pharmacist used a pill-dispensing machine invented by the new owner of this Park Avenue co-op. He’s a British-born inventor who runs his own production company, and his pill-counting and dispensing machine is his hottest item to date. Fresh from the Connecticut suburbs, this single guy looked at several Park Avenue apartments before settling on this one. “He chose this apartment because it was in meticulous, triple-mint condition,” said his broker, Patricia Burnham, president of P.S. Burnham Inc. “It also has a lot of wall space for art, and he has passion for collecting art.” According to Ms. Burnham, the previous owner was looking for a change, too: He works on the business end of an entertainment company, and headed out to live in the loft land of Tribeca. The Park Avenue seven-room apartment has approximately 1,700 square feet, three exposures, a wood-burning fireplace, gourmet kitchen, formal dining room and marble bathroom.
301 East 62nd Street
Two-bedroom, two-bathroom co-op.
Asking: $560,000. Selling: $525,000.
Maintenance: $1,050; 55 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: six weeks.
TURN-DOWNSERVICE Anne Snee, a senior vice president at the Corcoran Group, began her career in real estate well over 20 years ago. In all that time, she has never had a client turned down by a co-op board-until the first buyer she brought to this Upper East Side apartment building was shown the door. “I was not a happy camper on this one,” Ms. Snee said. To make things worse, four more deals on the property fell through before it eventually closed. The couple that ended up with the apartment-a couple that offered a low-ball bid early on-watched from the sidelines as the other bidders dropped out one by one. The first buyer, the one who ended up being turned down, probably didn’t have the financials to get into the building, but because he was a friend of a friend of Ms. Snee’s, she felt she had little choice but to put his application through. “I knew it was going to happen,” said Ms. Snee, “but because [of the relationship], I let it run its course.” After the turndown, Ms. Snee watched in disbelief as, over the course of the next year, the four other deals disintegrated on East 62nd Street. In one case, a buyer’s girlfriend nixed the apartment; in another case, it was a disapproving mother; and in another case, the buyer had a monster dog, and his broker hadn’t mentioned that the building doesn’t allow canines weighing over 30 pounds. “This was too ridiculous for words,” Ms. Snee said. “The irony is that after all the grief I went through, I sold it direct.” The 1,350-square-foot apartment has south, east and west exposures, full city views, a dining alcove and a windowed kitchen.