Meg Ryan has always been known for wholesome roles in affable romantic comedies like You’ve Got Mail and When Harry Met Sally. So although she played a slinky downtown vixen opposite Mark Ruffalo in the recent thriller In the Cut, she still retains her sensible pedigree.
Last week, the New York Post reported that Ms. Ryan, 42, had signed a contract on a Greenwich Village apartment for close to $4 million. But Ms. Ryan wouldn’t make a rash financial decision before selling her current residence-she has now signed contracts on her 420 West Broadway duplex, which had been listing for $9.7 million since Oct. 21.
According to sources, contracts have been signed for the two penthouse units at 420 West Broadway that belonged to Ms. Ryan. Sotheby’s broker Stephen McRae, who had the exclusive listing on Ms. Ryan’s sprawling Soho spread, was out of town and unavailable for comment. At press time, it was unclear whether a single buyer purchased both apartments or if there were two separate sales.
Ms. Ryan had finished one of the lofts, and the luxurious apartment spans 3,720 square feet and has three bedrooms, an 800-square-foot terrace, four exposures and a wood-burning fireplace. Ms. Ryan’s second penthouse, which was asking $5 million, is an unfinished white box encased in glass, with floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides looking out over the 19th-century streetscape. The 3,034-square-foot apartment also has four exposures and a fireplace, but has almost four times as much outdoor space spread across five terraces.
Ms. Ryan’s latest real-estate perambulations have capped off several years of personal and real-estate moves for the perky actress. Ms. Ryan bought the 420 West Broadway apartments in August 2001, after leaving the uptown co-op at 1136 Fifth Avenue near 94th Street that she had shared with Dennis Quaid before the Hollywood couple split in July. In March 2002, she and Mr. Quaid made $6.5 million selling their Upper East Side apartment after a previous deal fell through following Sept. 11. They’d bought the seven-room, 12th-floor apartment for just $3.1 million in 1997.
Ms. Ryan may have made a modest profit at her 420 West Broadway duplex. According to published reports, Ms. Ryan paid $9 million for the sprawling spread two years ago. The current home of the Donna Karan retail store on the ground level, 420 West Broadway is the former home of the Leo Castelli, Ileana Sonnabend and Mary Boone galleries.
Gretchen Carlson, the flaxen-haired CBS News correspondent and host of the network’s Saturday Early Show , always loved to play the violin, and before becoming a broadcast-network starlet, the former Miss America studied classical violin at Juilliard under master teacher Dorothy DeLay, the maestro who passed away in 2002 and schooled some of the most famous classical-music performers today, including Itzhak Perlman and Cho-Liang Lin. Now, Ms. Carlson can relive her Juilliard years-all but the struggling-student part. The CBS belle and her husband, prolific sports agent Casey Close, the head of the International Management Group’s baseball division, recently bought a $2.3 million loft at 43 West 64th Street, right across the street from the Juilliard campus at Lincoln Center.
The 2,332-square-foot loft has been finished with two bedrooms and three baths and features southern and eastern exposures. It’s also conveniently located near CBS’s West 59th Street studios on the ground level of the General Motors Building, where Ms. Carlson anchors her Saturday-morning show. The apartment was first listed back in May 2002, and Ms. Carlson and Mr. Close signed a contract on the spread in October 2003.
Ms. Carlson was unavailable for comment, as was Andre Teichner, a sales associate at the Athena Group, the firm marketing the building.
The condo conversion at 43 West 64th Street, completed in September by the renowned architect Costas Kondylis, has already drawn a number of high-profile tenants who have splurged on some of the 32 apartments, which range from 1,600 to 6,151 square feet, with selling prices of $1.2 million to $10.2 million. Barry Schwartz, a former owner of Calvin Klein and the chairman and chief executive of the New York Racing Association, recently bought an apartment for his daughter, and the daughter of Sol Kerzner, the South African hotel and casino mogul who owns the Ocean Club in the Bahamas and the gilded Atlantis chain of tropical resorts, has also bought a loft in the development.
Ms. Carlson and Mr. Close will now add their high-profile status to the building. The couple met on a blind date in 1995 and married in 1997. As head of I.M.G.’s baseball division, Mr. Close, a former minor-league baseball player himself, brokered Derek Jeter’s 10-year, $189 million deal in February 2001. In April 2002, Ms. Carlson was appointed to her Saturday morning post by CBS News president Andrew Heyward, and she also garnered two local Emmy Awards in 1994 and 1996. And now the couple will surely use the loft’s open space and second bedroom. In May, Ms. Carlson gave birth to a baby girl, Kaia Carlson Close.
Recent Transactions in the Real Estate Market
251 West 19th Street
Two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo
Asking $2.395 million; selling $2.6 million
Time on the market: four months
STEAKING HIS TERRITORY The meteoric rise of the Atkins diet and its steak-gobbling adherents has been a boon to restaurants with protein-laden menus-and their owners. When this steakhouse heir from New Orleans-the son of Ruth Fertel, the founder of the Ruth’s Chris Steak House chain of restaurants-settled on a second home in Manhattan, he landed a prime cut of Manhattan real estate with a 1,700-square-foot Chelsea loft in the modish Chelsea 19 building. “If you want to entertain, it’s a terrific space,” said Douglas Elliman broker Scott Allison, who had the exclusive. The seller, a financier from Denmark in his early 40’s, had renovated the apartment according to his modern Scandinavian design sensibilities before relocating back to Copenhagen. The two-bedroom loft features four exposures, a wood-burning fireplace, and two decked terraces with a “sky lounge” complete with built-in white banquette sofas and expansive skyline views. “There was a tremendous subjective value over the outdoor views,” Mr. Allison said, speaking of the 1,200 square feet of exterior space that offered open views of downtown Manhattan and prominent New York landmarks. The buyer teaches university classes on the history of the Vietnam War, but it was his steakhouse legacy that enabled him to bid up the asking price by more than $200,000. Ruth’s Chris Steak House is one of the largest high-end restaurant chains in the country and is especially known for its succulent aged, corn-fed USDA prime beef, broiled in a 1,800-degree oven and served on sizzling plates heated to 500 degrees. Founded in New Orleans in 1965, the chain now has 87 restaurants everywhere from New York to Hong Kong-and if the buyer ever craves one of his family’s steaks, he’s only a short commute from their midtown outpost on West 51st Street.
32 Gramercy Park South
One-bedroom, one-bathroom co-op
Asking: $479,000; selling: $465,000
Maintenance: $1,325; 50 percent tax-deductible
Time on the market: one month
LOW-MAINTENANCE BUYER This city is all about networking, and making the rounds on the cocktail-party circuit can even help a budding real-estate deal. When a corporate lawyer in his mid-20’s first visited this Gramercy one-bedroom, he was smitten by the building’s central location, newly renovated lobby, elevator and hallways-and like all prospective Gramercy residents, a key to the private park. He had previously been renting at the River Terrace on West 42nd Street and was ready to snag his own piece of Manhattan, but the steep maintenance on this wisp of an apartment was a shocker (the building was still paying off a 15-year loan). The buyer nearly let the deal flounder until, at a recent open house in the neighborhood, he overheard a former member of the building’s co-op board discussing plans to refinance the building’s 15-year loan into a more palatable 30-year mortgage with lower monthly maintenance. The news sealed the deal for the buyer, and he pounced on the 875-square-foot one-bedroom, which features a dining alcove and northern and eastern views of the Empire State Building and the East River. “When he learned the maintenance would be going down and the building would refinance, he knew that the value of his apartment would immediately go up. It made it a much better deal,” said Michael Brais, a broker with Benjamin James Realty who had the exclusive. The sellers, a recently married couple in their 30’s, were relocating to Northport, Long Island, to start a family.
452 Greenwich Street
Five-bedroom, five-bathroom townhouse
Asking: $6.25 million. Selling: $6.25 million
Time on the market: six months
TARGET MARKET When Target-the cheeky big-box retailer known for bringing sleek styles from designers such as Michael Graves, Cynthia Rowley and fashionista Isaac Mizrahi to the masses-decided to film two recent kitchen and bedroom commercials, they selected this recently renovated Tribeca townhouse. And like Target’s ad executives, this insurance executive and his wife, who had been living downtown, were impressed with the 6,000-square-foot spread. They paid the full asking price on the 25-foot-wide townhouse so they could have their very own designer-quality residence. The property was formerly owned by 452 Greenwich Street Association, a real-estate investment group that owns four other Tribeca properties, including a townhouse and gallery at 47 Charles Street that is currently listing for $8.2 million. The building dates back to 1819, but the gut renovation-completed last year by the holding company-has brought in 21st-century amenities, including a stainless-steel Viking kitchen, a basement wine cellar and single-car garage. “It was fully loaded,” said Brandon Maltzman of Leslie J. Garfield and Co. who exclusively represented the sellers along with Jed Garfield, the firm’s managing partner. The four-story building, one of the oldest residential properties in Tribeca, also features four wood-burning fireplaces and Hudson River views from the private landscaped roof deck.