When it comes to housing, Keanu Reeves has always been a vocal proponent of living out of suitcases at hotels, as opposed to putting down permanent roots in any one particular place.
“There’s something about me that enjoys the fact that I can move around freely and not have any material things which tie me down to any one point,” he told Celebrity News Service in a 2000 interview. “One day I’ll get a place, but I would have to feel a need to have a home, to have a sense of permanence. But I don’t need that right now. I guess you could say I’m a guy with a destination.”
So when Mr. Reeves purchased a home for nearly $5 million in the Hollywood Hills section of Los Angeles this spring, it seemed a bit like he had outgrown the transient lifestyle.
But The Observer has learned that even while he was telling Celebrity News Service that he wasn’t in the real-estate market-“I think if I bought a huge house I would feel guilty in some way, it wouldn’t seem like me,” Mr. Reeves told the wire-he had already purchased and was in the process of combining four apartments at a co-op building on Central Park West.
Of course, renovations still aren’t complete on the spread after three years of work, and just owning the property doesn’t mean Mr. Reeves has been living there all that time.
“He hasn’t moved in yet,” confirmed Mr. Reeves’ spokesman, Robert Garlock of PMK/HBH.
That, said Mr. Garlock, is why Mr. Reeves’ “Ramblin’ Man” routine three years ago wasn’t just a put-on.
“You don’t really feel like a place is yours until you’re living in it,” he said.
It’ll still be a few months before Mr. Reeves gets to pick out china patterns for the 3,000-square-foot apartment on the building’s 11th floor. Contractors working on the spread declined to comment on the renovations, citing confidentiality agreements, and the building’s co-op board president did not return calls by press time.
According to city records on file with the Department of Buildings, Mr. Reeves’ pad includes features like a hot tub and bidet-a city inspector O.K.’d Mr. Reeves’ plumbing fixtures earlier this month-and has three exposures with full park views.
Not that this was Mr. Reeves’ first residential buy. In 1998, he bought a $2.45 million Los Angeles home-for his mother.
GUCCIONE GETS REPRIEVE, SWATS VULTURES OFF AT ELEVENTH HOUR
Bob Guccione has gotten another-yes, another!-last chance to avoid losing control of his East 67th Street townhouse. At 7:15 a.m. on July 22, less than two hours before one of Mr. Guccione’s leading creditors was set to auction off the property in a foreclosure sale at the Supreme Court building in lower Manhattan, the creditor adjourned the auction for another two weeks to allow Mr. Guccione to continue negotiating the repayment of the debt.
Yesterday’s aborted auction was the latest of several such threatened sales that the creditor, N.J.-based Kennedy Funding, has been holding over Mr. Guccione’s head to force him to pay up the $15 million which Kennedy says it is owed. Joseph Wolfer, president of Kennedy, said yesterday that he agreed to this final last chance because Mr. Guccione’s attorney signaled that, should Mr. Guccione be unable to repay the debt, he might be amenable to the idea of selling the house on the open market.
“It was a significant change. Prior to this, the sale of the townhouse was not an item he wanted to discuss,” said Mr. Wolfer. “Now that he’s willing to at least discuss the concept, I can now accept the concept that they intend to pay me back.”
Mr. Wolfer’s comments notwithstanding, Mr. Guccione has, in fact, entertained the idea of selling the townhouse before. In April of 2002, he listed the mansion for $40 million. He quickly pulled it off the market, however, when it became clear the property wasn’t going to fetch anywhere near that price.
Mr. Guccione’s lawyer, Robert Feinstein, stressed that his client would only consider selling the house if he were made an offer “at the high end” of what he believes the property is worth.
“[We would not accept] some deep discount vulture offer from someone trying to secure the property,” Mr. Feinstein said.
Because Kennedy has already won a foreclosure judgment against the property, the company is within its rights to hold a foreclosure auction on the property. Of course, the Guccione camp would also be within its rights to pursue myriad legal strategies to block such a sale-a showdown that neither side apparently wants.
“They knew they were headed for a confrontation in court,” Mr. Feinstein said, “and they clearly viewed it in their own self-interest to avoid [that] battle-the outcome of which would have been uncertain for both parties.”
If Mr. Guccione isn’t able to satisfy his debts to Kennedy, townhouse shoppers should beware: In addition to the $15 million that Kennedy says it’s owed, Mr. Guccione has another $7 million in debts outstanding.
UPPER EAST SIDE
40 East 80th Street
Three-bedroom, three-bathroom co-op.
Asking: $1.9 million. Selling: $1.75 million.
Taxes and maintenance: $4,431
Time on the market: four months.
TIME AND THE TITHE WAIT FOR NO MAN Since 1978, the Church of Christ at 48 East 80th Street has held a land-lease agreement on the neighboring co-op apartment building, No. 40, and will continue to hold that lease until 2068. Though most prospective buyers aren’t planning ahead more than six decades, the agreement can still prove costly, allowing the church to re-evaluate maintenance costs every 20 years-which are reflected in the tenants’ monthly payments. That didn’t bother two empty-nesters joining the back-to-the-city movement from Long Island, where they raised their kids. They had some specifications, though: The apartment had to be in the swank swath of the Upper East Side between 60th and 80th streets west of Park Avenue; it had to have a guest bedroom; and it had to be at least 1,800 square feet in size. “We had some deals that did not work out,” said Stephen Gallagher, broker for the buyers at Insignia Douglas Elliman. “Down in the 60’s and one in the 70’s-they were working their way up.” And the buyers got all their requests and more in their new place, including a large balcony and expansive western views of the city. “It had beautiful panoramic views which really sold the apartment,” said Bella Holzer of William B. May, who had the exclusive. “They were coming from a house; they were used to open space.” The buyers didn’t struggle with the co-op board, either; they paid the entire costs in cash.
415 East 37th Street
One-bedroom, one-bathroom condo.
Asking: $525,000. Selling: $520,000.
Charges: $618. Taxes: $548.
Time on the Market: two weeks.
BROAD’S HORIZON A couple, ready to start a family, headed out for Chicago this month to be near her parents, both of whom are doctors. (Their daughter, a school teacher, was not a total loss: She married a doctor.) But before they could leave town, they had to drop their 866-square-foot pad in the Horizon apartment building on East 37th Street. With its views of the river and the Empire State Building, its spacious dining area and its “five-star hotel” building services, according to broker Deborah Tzuri, it shouldn’t have been a hard sell. And it wasn’t. Ms. Tzuri, at Charles H. Greenthal & Co., was already helping the buyer-who just finished her residency at New York University Medical Center as well as her tenure in the N.Y.U. dorms, and needed to be near the N.Y. Medical Center on First Avenue-look for a one-bedroom. “She was focused on the Horizon,” Ms. Tzuri said. And so when this place came up as Ms. Tzuri’s exclusive, the young woman jumped at the chance, outbidding others after an open house. Within three weeks of coming onto the market, the contract was signed. “The timing was so perfect, for both the seller and the buyer. They both wanted to close end of June,” Ms. Tzuri said. The place also received the much-needed approval of the student’s parents, who were there for almost every apartment she saw. “They don’t live in the city, but they were very involved in the process of buying,” Ms. Tzuri said. “They immediately loved it.”
LOWER EAST SIDE
504 Grand Street
Two-bedroom, one-bathroom co-op.
Asking: $400,000. Selling: $400,000.
Taxes and charges: $438; 35 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: 17 days.
LOOK FOR THE UNION LABEL Moving from a rental in the East Village, these buyers were desperate to remain in Manhattan for under $400K-a one-way ticket to Brooklyn, they feared. But with a baby well on the way, space and a speedy transaction were also paramount. And so the couple roamed far and wide until they reached “the end of the world,” as their Corcoran broker, Dennis Feldman, affectionately refers to the far east end of the Lower East Side, where the pioneering Amalgamated Co-ops of New York City, envisioned in the 1930’s as an equal-opportunity haven for union workers, stand. After signing the contract-and only days before the board interview-the father-to-be and breadwinner of the family suddenly found himself unemployed when his tech company laid off 20 percent of its work force. But apparently the good karma of the building’s union roots is still firm, five years after the seven-story landmark was privatized in 1998: The topic of his recent unemployment was barely grazed at the interview, and the couple passed the inspection. Corcoran broker Daria Saraf represented the seller.