Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti has a new place to share with girlfriend Drew Barrymore, now that he has closed on a one-bedroom apartment near Union Square. In May, Mr. Moretti paid $657,500 for a 1,049-square-foot condo at 114 East 13th Street, the American Felt Building.
This is apparently the 23-year-old’s first New York apartment purchase. Previously, he’d been living at a rental building at 172 East Seventh Street. The listing broker on his new permanent digs, Mariko Kamata of Douglas Elliman, declined to confirm or comment on the deal, but offered a few words about the apartment and the building.
“It’s a unique condo loft,” said Ms. Kamata, “and the building has a rooftop garden.”
Mr. Moretti and the twice-married Ms. Barrymore, who have been dating for over a year, are denying rumors that they are engaged. Since the Strokes recent return from a tour in Japan, Mr. Moretti and his Charlie’s Angels girlfriend have been spotted by paparazzi at various Manhattan nightspots.
The American Felt Building, the former headquarters of a major textile company, was converted into loft-style apartments in 1984. Mr. Moretti’s unit has 12-foot ceilings, a wood-burning fireplace, oak strip floors, three exposures, full skyline views and-befitting a rocker like Mr. Moretti-a built-in stereo system.
TWO PLACES CHANGE HANDS AT ENVIED 820 FIFTH
One of the country’s most successful home-builders may soon be filling a vacancy at one of the city’s most exclusive co-op buildings. Ara K. Hovnanian, the president and chief executive of Hovnanian Enterprises Inc., has signed a contract for around $20 million to buy an apartment at 820 Fifth Avenue. The fourth-floor co-op, which has a jaw-dropping 100 feet of frontage on Fifth Avenue, currently belongs to Lily Safra, the widow of slain financier Edmond Safra.
In other news at the same building, The Observer has learned that Jack Levy, co-chairman of mergers and acquisitions at Goldman Sachs, is the buyer in the previously reported sale of late Greek shipping magnate Stavros Niarchos’ eighth-floor apartment in the building. Niarchos died in 1996, and the $15 million deal to sell his apartment closed about six months ago. Mr. Levy declined to comment on the deal.
His potential neighbor, Mr. Hovnanian, has yet to appear before the board at 820 Fifth, which is considered one of the three or four most sought-after cooperatives in New York. There is only one apartment on each of the building’s 12 stories, and each 6,500-square-foot unit has the same 100 feet of frontage on Fifth Avenue. Current residents include socialite and board president Jayne Wrightsman, gallery owner William Acquavella and Yahoo chief Terry Semel.
Hovnanian Enterprises Inc., which was founded in 1959 by Kevork Hovnanian, Mr. Hovnanian’s father and the company’s current chairman, is headquartered in Red Bank, N.J., and is that state’s largest builder of single-family homes and condos. The company has operations across the eastern United States, as well as in Texas and California. Fortune magazine recently ranked the company 15th on its list of fastest-growing companies, with revenues of $2.84 billion.
Ara Hovnanian is seeking the fourth-floor apartment that Ms. Safra purchased in 2000 from Tommy Hilfiger. Ms. Safra, who lives in the building’s penthouse, has kept the fourth-floor apartment vacant. Listing broker Victoria Cote, a vice president at the Corcoran Group, had no comment on the deal; nor did Mr. Hovnanian’s broker, Jill Roosevelt of Brown Harris Stevens. Calls to Hovnanian Enterprises were not returned before press time.
Sources close to the building say that Mr. Levy, the new owner of the building’s eighth floor, has yet to move into the apartment. Mr. Levy was appointed to his current position as co-chairman of mergers and acquisitions in 2000.
RANGER HALL-OF-FAMER SELLS FOR $1.075 M.; AND HIS WIFE SEES A BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY
For the 18 years between 1960 and 1978, New York Ranger Hall-of-Famer Rod Gilbert dazzled New Yorkers with his record-shattering goal tallies. These days, Mr. Gilbert is hoping to dazzle New Yorkers with the Upper East Side apartment that his wife gave a triple-mint renovation. The Gilberts’ showpiece, a 39th-floor, three-bedroom condo at 1623 Third Avenue, recently hit the market for $1.075 million.
“My husband loved living in the building,” said Mr. Gilbert’s wife, Judy, who owns the advertising agency Christy MacDougall Mitchell Bodden. “There’s a pool and a gym that he used almost every day.”
Mr. Gilbert broke or equaled 20 team scoring records during his career, notching 1,021 points over 1,065 games. In 1979, he was the first Rangers player to have his jersey retired.
For 12 years, the hockey great and his wife had been renting an apartment two floors above the one they’re currently selling. Earlier this year, when the building converted from a rental to a condominium, the Gilberts exercised their option to sell their rights to the apartment they’d been renting. They then moved into a spread on East End Avenue that they had purchased a few years earlier.
Three weeks before closing on the sale of their rights, however, they were presented with an opportunity to stay put in the building. A resident of the tower who lived two floors below the Gilberts offered to sell them the rights to his apartment. And even though they had already decided to move to East End Avenue, they took their neighbor up on his offer.
“The building is so addictive that my husband regretted having sold our apartment, even though we already had one at East End Avenue to move into,” Ms. Gilbert said.
At that point, the plan was to move back into 1623 Third Avenue as soon as they had finished renovating the lower-floor apartment they just picked up. But the prospect of moving all those boxes back into 1623 from East End Avenue was just a little too daunting for the Gilberts.
“It took us four months to pack up all our stuff, and when we got [to East End Avenue], my husband decided he didn’t want to move again,” said Ms. Gilbert. “It was the arduous move that made him change his mind.”
So instead of moving back to the building they had lived in for the last 12 years, they decided to stay put. And as it turned out, their East End Avenue purchase ended up yielding an unexpected business opportunity for the Gilberts. Before they moved into their East End Avenue place, they had been renting it out. One of the people who came by to check it out was Mets pitcher Tom Glavine, whom Mr. Gilbert knew through his sports connections. A real-estate broker remarked to Ms. Gilbert that given her husband’s renown, they had a unique opportunity to reach out to athletes in need of lodging. Thus did Ms. Gilbert launch the Home Team, a concierge and real-estate referral service for athletes. It’s not yet incorporated, but Ms. Gilbert is already sending out brochures to the Rangers and the Knicks.
“It was an outgrowth of being married to Rod, and marketing,” she said.
Although there’s no hockey memorabilia in the eighth-floor condo at 1623 Third Avenue-not surprising, seeing that they never moved in-Ms. Gilbert did give the 1,371-square-foot place a major renovation, including a California kitchen with a SubZero refrigerator and a third bedroom with pocket doors.
“It’s fully furnished,” Ms. Gilbert said. “I made it like a model apartment.” Carrie Chiang and Loy Carlos, both of the Corcoran Group, have the listing.
RECENT TRANSACTIONS IN THE REAL ESTATE MARKET
16 Park Avenue
One-bedroom, one-bathroom co-op.
Asking: $479,000. Selling: $450,000.
Maintenance: $1,033; 54 percent tax-deductible.
Time on market: five minutes.
GONE IN A FLASH This one-bedroom apartment overlooking Park Avenue was snapped up quicker than you can say pied-à-terre , according to Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy broker Tim Carris. The buyers were not only the very first to see the place, but also the only people to have the privilege of viewing the one-bedroom apartment, which comes equipped with luxuries like a full marble bath. “It was on the market for about five minutes,” said Mr. Carris. He got the paperwork for the place on a Friday, and decided to bring by some buyers as a side trip while he showed them another place. It turned out to be a perfect match. The buyers, cancer researchers at John Hopkins University School of Medicine, make their permanent home in Baltimore but wanted a pied-à-terre that was “spectacular and in perfect condition-and this was it,” Mr. Carris said. The sellers had recently completed a high-end renovation on the place, and even then only used the apartment about 10 times, Mr. Carris said, accounting for its mint condition. It wasn’t that Manhattan didn’t agree with the sellers, Neil and Jane Kazan, who own a boutique investment firm. In fact, they’re in the process of moving to the city full-time, selling their house in Mendham, N.J. They’re looking for a three-bedroom apartment.
115 Fourth Avenue
One-bedroom, two-bathroom condo.
Asking: $799,000. Selling: $770,000.
Charges: $834. Taxes: $401.
Time on the market: two weeks.
THE PETERSFIELD SHUFFLE The seller of this one-bedroom west-facing condo just couldn’t bear to leave her beloved building behind, so she moved down the hall instead. The lucky inhabitants of the Petersfield, a prewar building just two blocks from Union Square, find themselves in one of “the most unique buildings in the city,” according to Corcoran Group vice president Roseann Barber, who had the exclusive. It’s a prewar building with a full-time doorman, common roof deck and condos. “It’s rare to get a combination of two of those qualities together, let alone three or four. It’s definitely not a cookie-cutter building,” Ms. Barber said. The seller, an unmarried woman who works in banking and finance, left behind a loft with curved walls, 12-foot ceilings, oversized windows and hardwood floors. Her new apartment is just a few doors down and is bigger, with two bedrooms instead of one. The buyer, a single woman in her 20′s living in Soho, was happy to move into the nearly 1,200-square-foot apartment. She now runs a standardized-test tutoring business, and plans to completely renovate the place. “One of the reasons we liked her was that she came in and knew exactly what she wanted,” Ms. Barber said.
57 Walker Street
One-bedroom, two-bathroom co-op.
Asking: $995,000. Selling: $980,000.
Maintenance: $768; 52 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: three weeks.
BEHIND THIS DOOR “You wouldn’t even know that this loft building existed-it has this really trashy metal door,” said Douglas Elliman broker Ryan Fix. But one “really cute” young couple-he’s a successful financier, she’s a dentist-did, so they snapped up this Tribeca “mega-loft” with 16-foot ceilings. “They were just looking for good space and good light …. They didn’t care about a good neighborhood,” Mr. Fix said. With exposed brick and columns, the “original” Tribeca loft will need major renovations, which the buyers plan to do in stages, beginning with the kitchen and bathrooms. “They’re going to have to put a couple hundred thousand into the place, frankly,” Mr. Fix said. “It needs a good amount of work, but it was sold at a really low cost, considering it’s almost 2,000 square feet in total.” But the buyers don’t seem to mind a handyman special, and its airiness is a definitely a plus. “Sales like this definitely speak to the growing demand for living in Tribeca, and the extension of Tribeca’s boundaries-especially because this apartment is right on the edge,’ Mr. Fix said of the loft, which faces Walker Street and sits just two blocks south of Canal Street. The seller, a painter who is now married and has kids, “grew out of the place” and now spends her time in Connecticut with her family, according to the broker.