On April 15, the opulent townhouse at 3 East 95th Street, formerly owned by the Lycée Français de New York, landed on the market as luxury condos. The building, which was purchased by a private developer in 2002 for $15 million, is currently undergoing an ambitious conversion into four separate units whose asking prices total a whopping $61.3 million.
The renovation of the Carhart Mansion, which until last year had been one of six townhouses that housed the French institution, is being done by British architect John Simpson who, in 1998, won the competition to build a $35 million addition to the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace. When it’s completed in 2005, the condo conversion will include a 14,550-square-foot, 15-room spread priced at $19 million; a 7,140-square-foot four-bedroom priced at $18.5 million; a 10,350-square-foot five-bedroom priced at $14 million; and a 6,770-square-foot three-bedroom priced at a relatively modest $9.8 million.
Meanwhile, the school has settled into its new Descartes-inspired building on York Avenue, between 75th and 76th streets.
Carrie Chiang of the Corcoran Group has the exclusive listing on the Lycée’s early 20th-century neo-classical limestone building.
“[The apartments] are very well priced and will be ready for occupancy in April 2005,” Ms. Chiang said of the listing. “And we already have a buyer for the $18 million unit.”
The landmarked Parisian-style townhouse was completed in 1916 after Marion Carhart commissioned the lavish manse following the death of her husband, Amory Carhart, the banking and railroad executive. Like its original construction, the apartments will spare no expense in terms of amenities, which will include a doorman, a wine vault, 11-foot ceilings, a mud room, butler’s pantries and private street entrances.
If the building does attract tenants willing to pay the healthy eight-figure price tags, it will be a triumph for its developers. A high asking price was something the Lycée failed to get when it originally unloaded the property back in 2002 as part of its plan to finance the construction of the new five-story, 163,000-square-foot building for the 1,005 élèves . Back in 2000, the school had hoped to bring in $100 million from the sale of the six properties, but the deals ended up netting only $60 million. To fill the financial gap, the Lycée floated a $95 million tax-exempt bond.
Now it appears developers are seeking to cash in on their discounted acquisitions. And recent precedent may bode well for the ambitious Carnegie Hill condo conversion. Dominion Financial, a private real-estate developer, bought the 11,000-square-foot Lycée mansion at 12 East 73rd Street for $10 million. The developers have since converted the property into a luxury single-family residence that attracted celebrity buyers Robert De Niro and Nicole Kidman, before recently selling for a reported $17 million to a hedge-fund manager.
The Upper East Side may soon be losing one member of the Bloomberg cabal. Susan Bloomberg, Mayor Bloomberg’s British-born ex-wife, is looking to abandon her 660 Park Avenue penthouse, sources close to the building said. On April 27, Ms. Bloomberg delivered a letter to the board president of the exclusive Park Avenue co-op, indicating her intention to list her luxurious 3,500-square-foot spread with Sotheby’s International Realty. As of press time, the asking price for the apartment was not available.
Sources say that Ms. Bloomberg, who couldn’t be reached for comment, purchased the 13th-floor, two-bedroom apartment in 1999 for $4.21 million. It has nine rooms, four bathrooms, leaded glass windows, a library and a terrace.
Though the power couple divorced in 1995, the Mayor and his former wife have remained close friends. Indeed, if her Park Avenue home is snatched up quickly, Ms. Bloomberg won’t be without a comfortable place to bunk. In 2001, Mr. Bloomberg purchased a 26-acre estate known as Salem Sunshine Farm for $3.65 million in rural North Salem, about 50 miles north of Manhattan. Ms. Bloomberg and the couple’s competitive-horse-riding daughter, Georgina, have been known to pay frequent visits to the bucolic stone Colonial-style farmhouse, which has been renovated into a sprawling horse farm and renamed Gotham North.
Prominent art dealers Stellan Holm and Christophe Van de Weghe have pulled off a New York City–style passing of the torch, city records show. In February, the Swedish-born Mr. Holm, whose Chelsea gallery on West 24th Street showcases a bevy of up-and-coming artists, sold his 2,100-square-foot Soho loft at 77 Mercer Street to Mr. Van de Weghe, for $1.6 million. The same month that Mr. Van de Weghe sauntered downtown, Mr. Holm ventured north to a five-story Carnegie Hill townhouse on East 92nd Street that he scored for $4 million.
Mr. Van de Weghe had been living at 30 East 72nd Street, which made for an easy commute when he worked at the Gagosian Gallery on Madison Avenue in midtown. But now that he’s ensconced in Chelsea with his own gallery on West 23rd Street, he sought a downtown apartment.
“This is my first loft downtown,” Mr. Van de Weghe told The Observer . “I’ve lived uptown for five years, and when I worked for Larry Gagosian it was a short commute. But I decided to move downtown,” he went on. “It’s a more relaxing atmosphere.”
The Mercer Street loft, between Spring and Broome streets, has wide plank floors, 12-foot ceilings, a wood-burning fireplace, two bedrooms and one and a half baths-not to mention cutting-edge style befitting an art dealer.
“It was finished in quite minimal taste,” Mr. Van de Weghe said of Mr. Holm’s former haunt. Not surprisingly, he’s planning a renovation to make it feel more like home.
“I’m working with an interior designer, and we’re doing a new buffet kitchen,” Mr. Van de Weghe said.
Mr. Holm’s new uptown place is decidedly more staid than his minimalist Soho loft. The seller, who worked at the U.N., had occupied the 19th-century limestone residence for 30 years, during which time she reared six children. The five-bedroom townhouse between Park and Madison avenues has many of its original details, as well as some new amenities, such as skylights and a southern wall of windows overlooking the private rear garden.
Gloria Honeck, of Douglas Elliman, who represented the seller, declined to comment on the sale. Mr. Holm was traveling and unavailable for comment.
RECENT TRANSACTIONS IN THE REAL ESTATE MARKET
393 West 49th Street
Taxes: $4,192. Charges: $370.
Time on the market: one month.
ISLAND HOPPING After bunking down in a Hoboken rental for several years, this software developer for Merrill Lynch grew tired of the bridge-and-tunnel lifestyle and decided to make the move to Manhattan. It was a big step for the twentysomething. His Chinese-born mother and father had worked hard to put him through M.I.T., and buying his first home was a dream come true for the young sprite and his family. “His mother had worked to put him through college, and now he has his own apartment,” said his broker, Gini Welch, a sales associate at Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy. “In many ways, it was the American Dream.” When he found this studio at Worldwide Plaza on West 49th Street between Eighth and Ninth avenues, he became the first member of his family to land a piece of The Island. The 461-square-foot studio had been given a complete renovation by its previous owner, a real-estate investor who lives in the building, and has hardwood floors and a new bathroom.
82 Irving Place
Three-bedroom, three-bathroom co-op.
Asking: $1.195 million.
Selling: $1.2 million.
50 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: two months.
ARIZONA DREAMING Over the course of the four years that a technology executive and his family lived in this landmarked prewar building on Irving Place between Park Avenue South and Third Avenue, they cobbled together a mini–apartment empire as they combined a 850-square-foot one-bedroom and two adjoining 400-square-foot studios into a three-bedroom, three-bathroom spread. But with another child on the way, they decided they needed even more space, so they set out for the wide vistas of the West, since they had family in Arizona. “They had a child and another on the way,” said Athena Witt of Douglas Elliman, who was assisted on the sale by fellow Elliman broker Terri Olivucci. “They wanted a larger space.”
The sellers found a television broadcaster for a major network who wanted to leave Chelsea’s tree-lined blocks for this posh perch in Gramercy. “He wanted the downtown feel. He liked the lofty, open feeling,” said Ms. Witt. The 1,700-square-foot apartment fit the discerning tastes of a television personality, complete with a marble bathroom, stainless-steel Viking appliances in the kitchen and skylights in the living area. Even so, he’s considering further renovations. “He may update the kitchen to his taste,” Ms. Witt said. “He’ll make it even grander.”