Downtown Gothic

Lachlan Murdoch, scion of the News Corporation media empire and publisher of the New York Post , has bought an enormous-and mysterious-14,500-square-foot building in Nolita for $5.25 million.

The purchase snuffed out years of speculation among passers-by downtown as to what goes on in the six-story building at 11 Spring Street, with its one white curtain cinched at the center and one electric candle in each of its dozens of dark windows, night after night.

Mr. Murdoch, 32, signed a contract on the building in July, finalized the sale in September, and plans to retrofit the building as a gargantuan personal residence.

The historic 19th-century building, on the northeast corner of Elizabeth and Spring streets, went on the market in May. Initial reports in mid-October from downtown bloggers, including Gawker.com and Lockhartsteele.com, pegged hotelier Ian Schrager as a potential buyer. Recently, Gawker.com reported that the buyer at 11 Spring Street was spiky-haired Sohoite Lachlan Murdoch; a copy of the mortgage filed with city records was posted on the Smoking Gun Web site, with the added detail that the building dates to 1888, when it served as a horse stable.

Larry Michaels of Douglas Elliman represented Mr. Murdoch and declined to comment. Mr. Murdoch’s spokesperson declined to comment on his plans to develop the space, but sources close to the deal said that Mr. Murdoch plans to renovate the building and occupy the property as a single-family residence.

As for those candles: The previous owner, who has occupied the building since 1972, operated a company that created lighting effects for the entertainment industry.

To retrofit the building to meet the exacting standards of a budding media mogul, Mr. Murdoch will have to completely overhaul the current space, which features an elevator and a 2,375-square-foot basement.

Mr. Murdoch is no stranger to downtown living: The eldest son of the Murdoch cabal currently resides in a 3,290-square-foot loft at 285 Lafayette Street, where rocker David Bowie and his wife, Iman, hotelier and 11 Spring Street also-ran Ian Schrager and tennis star turned sportscaster Patrick McEnroe also own apartments. In 1999, Mr. Murdoch purchased the eighth-floor condo at 285 Lafayette Street for $3.56 million. The four-bedroom spread featured a professional kitchen, master bath with a steam shower and an 1,855-square-foot terrace.

Sources close to the deal at 11 Spring Street said that Mr. Murdoch will sell his place at 285 Lafayette Street and move into the spacious Nolita spread when the renovations are complete, although he has yet to specify when the construction will start.

The potato fields are alive with the sound of Julie Andrews’ moving trucks.

A little more than a year after unloading a 3,500-square-foot farmhouse in Water Mill for $2.7 million, Ms. Andrews and her husband, director Blake Edwards, have bought a three-bedroom house at 15 Cedar Haven Lane in North Haven Village for $1 million.

Cedar Haven Lane is the couple’s third Hamptons address in fewer than 10 years. The natural cedar home, built in 1994, sits on 2.15 acres and features a pool, three-car garage and first-floor master suite with an office. The house has a front gate and is less than a mile from the beach.

In July 1997, Ms. Andrews and Mr. Edwards purchased a property at 569 Hedges Lane in Sagaponack for $1.35 million, which they sold for an undisclosed sum. In November 2001, the couple purchased the Water Mill farmhouse for $2.5 million, only to unload the property five months later, in April 2002, for $2.7 million. The country spread, built by Williams-Sonoma product director Peri Wolfman in 1995, covered four bedrooms and had such luxuries as a wine cellar, heated pool and guest quarters.

Ms. Andrews declined an interview request regarding her recent acquisition in North Haven Village, but real-estate sources familiar with the deal say that both Ms. Andrews and Mr. Edwards are creative types and enjoy renovating new properties. Additionally, sources said that Ms. Andrews’ daughter, Emma Walton, who is the co-artistic director at the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor, recently had a child. Ms. Andrews wanted to remain close to her new grandchild, sources said, which was a factor in her purchase in nearby North Haven Village.

Susan Sprott of Allan M. Schneider Associates Inc., who represented Ms. Andrews as the selling broker, declined to comment.

But life and work are never far apart. In August, after more than 40 years on the stage, Ms. Andrews made her directorial debut at her daughter’s theater, helming a four-week production of The Boy Friend there. It was the very play in which Ms. Andrews, then 19, made her Broadway debut at the Royale Theater in 1954.

Eleanor Lambert, the iconic fashion publicist who made Bill Blass and Oscar de la Renta household names, presided over American fashion from her 12-room residence at 1060 Fifth Avenue, near 87th Street, until she passed away in October at age 100.

Now, the Lambert estate has put her 11th-floor co-op on the market for $9.2 million. The three-bedroom residence, just five blocks from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, features two wood-burning fireplaces, a wood-paneled library, staff quarters, and expansive park and reservoir views from the formal living room.

“The estate is a luxurious residence, but it needs significant work. It hasn’t been renovated in years,” said one broker who has been in the property.

Known as the “Empress of Seventh Avenue,” Lambert came to New York early in her career and created many of America’s most significant fashion institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, the Council of Fashion Designers of America and the International Best-Dressed List. She founded the precursor to Fashion Week in 1943, and was still a regular at the annual fashion extravaganza until her passing on Oct. 7. During the 1940’s and 1950’s, Lambert clashed with the editors of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar , who were still enamored of the couture houses of Paris, while Lambert worked to promote New York’s budding fashion trade.

Lambert lived with her second husband, Seymour Berkson, the former chief of the International News Service and publisher of the New York Journal-American before his death in 1959. Their son, the poet Bill Berkson, has published 14 books of poems and is a professor of art history at the San Francisco Art Institute.

Jill Roosevelt of Brown Harris Stevens, who has the exclusive on the Lambert estate, declined to comment on the estate’s decision to bring the family residence to market.

Recent Transactions In The Real Estate Market

Upper East Side

10 East 70th Street

Two-bedroom, two-bathroom co-op.

Asking: $899,000. Selling: $775,000.

Maintenance: $2,323; 59 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: three months.

After renting an Upper East Side pied-à-terre for more than 10 years, this commercial real-estate executive and his wife decided it was time they owned a piece of the island where many of his company’s biggest deals are done. “I told them it was silly to throw away rent when you can own,” said their broker, A. Laurance Kaiser, president of Key-Ventures Realty, who had the exclusive. The deal was done all in cash and the closing was signed in under 10 minutes, according to Mr. Kaiser. The executive’s new Manhattan perch, across from the Frick Museum, has four and a half rooms and features two marble bathrooms and expansive natural light provided by its open southern exposures. The executive and his wife currently spend four days a week in Manhattan, while retreating on weekends to a country abode in bucolic Old Westbury, Long Island. “They’re kitchen enthusiasts,” said Mr. Kaiser. “They’re already planning an upgrade.” The couple’s kitchen renovation will include Viking appliances and granite countertops.

Barry Scheck Hides Out In Village While Plaster Flies On Riverside

Powerhouse criminal-defense attorney Barry Scheck, a member of the O.J. Simpson “Dream Team” that secured Mr. Simpson’s infamous acquittal in 1995, has purchased a two-bedroom condo at 44-46 East 12th Street for $755,000, city records show.

Emily Fuller Kingston, a senior vice president at Halstead Property who had the exclusive on the apartment, wouldn’t confirm Mr. Scheck as the buyer, but she did say that the buyer bought the place as a short-term refuge while renovations on his current place are underway. “They plan to live there for as long as the renovation lasts, and then they want to keep it as a rental unit,” Ms. Kingston said. “This purchase was about a personal convenience and an investment.”

Mr. Scheck didn’t return calls seeking comment.

The newly renovated 1,110-square-foot south-facing spread features two bedrooms, one and a half bathrooms complete with marble finishings, a library and skyline views of the Grace Church spire. In 2001, the previous owner upgraded the kitchen, moving in a Dacor stainless-steel range, Miele dishwasher and refrigerator imported from Sweden.

“There was a bidding war on the place,” Ms. Fuller Kingston said, “but the buyer really wanted it.”

With the move, Mr. Scheck has now dramatically shortened the commute to his office at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University on Fifth Avenue and 12th Street, where he is a professor of law and director of clinical legal education. In addition to his academic position, Mr. Scheck is best known for defending high-profile clients that have included Hedda Nussbaum, Louise Woodward, Abner Louima and Mr. Simpson. Mr. Scheck is also an expert on DNA evidence; the Innocence Project, of which he is a co-founder, represents clients who seek exoneration through post-conviction DNA testing.