Leslie Moonves, the chairman and chief executive of the CBS division of the Viacom media empire, now has a sumptuous Park Avenue spread that’s just a short hop from the network’s West 52nd Street offices. Earlier this winter, according to real-estate sources familiar with the deal, Mr. Moonves, 54, purchased a nine-room apartment at 535 Park Avenue, the exclusive limestone co-op on the northeast corner of 61st Street.
The 3,500-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bathroom spread carried a $5.695 million price tag and was listed with Annette Elvey, a broker with Fox Residential Group. The deal closed in December 2003.
Ms. Elvey declined to comment on the buyer’s identity, but she did say that the apartment closed at close to the asking price. Powerhouse Corcoran broker Deborah Grubman represented the buyer, and also declined to comment on the deal and the buyer’s identity.
The apartment first hit the market in March 2002 at $6.1 million and sat without a buyer. The sellers lowered the price to $5.85 million in August 2002, and finally to $5.695 million in October 2003, before Mr. Moonves snatched up the place in December.
The combined apartment includes a surfeit of luxurious details, including an eat-in kitchen, four exposures, a grand reception room, an oval marble foyer, a gallery and a corner living room with a wood-burning fireplace.
According to Ms. Elvey, the apartment was finished with a classical style.
“It was very luxuriously appointed,” she said. “You could do a lot of entertaining there. And it had a very beautiful master bathroom.”
Through a spokesperson, Mr. Moonves declined to comment about his recent Park Avenue acquisition.
The 14-story building was designed by the renowned architect Herbert Lucas in 1911. For Mr. Moonves, the Upper East Side location close to midtown was also a strong selling point on the spread.
“The apartment still has the 10021 ZIP code,” Ms. Elvey said, speaking about what attracted the buyer to the place. “The block is still very residential, but being on 61st Street, it’s very convenient for commuting.”
A pair of apartments at the exclusive 4 East 66th Street co-op-the prestigious limestone building that was formerly home to the British consul general, Sir Thomas Harris-has flip-flopped on and off the market this spring. Now, the fourth-floor apartment is listing for $16 million after going to contract earlier this winter, and up on the seventh floor, the lavish spread owned by film producer Leonard Goldberg has found a buyer to the tune of its $25 million asking price.
The fourth-floor apartment, listed by the estate of maverick horse owner Kay Jeffords, is now back on the market for $16 million after going to contract in mid-February for around $12.5 million (it carried a $14 million price tag then). Sources close to the property said that the board delayed making its decision, and the buyers got restless and decided to pull out of the deal.
“The board was slow in meeting, and the people didn’t want to wait any longer, so [the board] let them get their deposit back,” the source said. “It might be a way of the board saying they didn’t want to approve the deal.”
Cornelia Zagat Eland, of Stribling and Associates, didn’t return calls for comment about her exclusive listing.
The six-bedroom apartment is one of the most luxurious properties along Fifth Avenue, with fine details including a 36-foot drawing room, a wood-paneled library, a formal dining room, a reception room, two elevators and five wood-burning fireplaces. The apartment had been the former home of the renowned diplomat and financier Bernard Baruch, and in recent years had served as the residence of Ms. Jeffords-owner of the star-chaser Lonesome Glory-who passed away at 80 last July. Ms. Jeffords’ extensive collection of horse memorabilia adorns much of the apartment’s walls.
Though the Jeffords spread is back on the market, buyers remain eager to move into the tony Upper East Side building that over the years has been home to Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, Sid and Mercedes Bass, Ace Greenberg and Veronica Hearst. The seventh-floor apartment, owned by Mr. Goldberg (whose producing credits include Charlie’s Angels and Sleeping with the Enemy ) and his wife Wendy, has been quietly shopped around for years by the couple, but recently they officially listed the spread with Mara Gardner of Brown Harris Stevens. On May 12, the floor-through apartment-which has four bedrooms, four and a half bathrooms, five wood-burning fireplaces, a formal dining room and a master suite with his-and-her bathrooms and dressing rooms-went to contract near the $25 million price tag, real-estate sources close to the building said. But the buyers aren’t in the clear yet, as they still have to pass the board’s discerning eye.
Ms. Gardner didn’t return calls for comment.
Recent Transactions In The Real Estate Market
Upper East Side
40 East 83rd Street
Three-bedroom, three-bathroom co-op.
Asking: $2.7 million. Selling: $3.3 million.
Maintenance: $3,176; 50 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: one week.
RETURN OF THE BIDDING WAR With children scampering off to college, the soon-to-be empty-nesters who owned this opulent 2,500-square-foot Upper East Side spread decided it was time to downsize. The finance executive and his wife had lived in this eight-room apartment, on the corner of Madison Avenue and 83rd Street, for the past 10 years before they landed in a more compact apartment in the neighborhood. “It had an excellent floor plan that allows flexibility in the layout,” said exclusive broker Catherine Spencer from Douglas Elliman, speaking of their former 83rd Street digs. The apartment had a library that was configured as a master suite, a windowed eat-in kitchen, beamed ceilings and herringbone floors. Apparently, other precocious buyers vied for the place as well. According to Ms. Spencer, the sellers received 21 sealed bids. “It’s an indication of how strong this market really is,” she said. The winners-who paid some $600,000 above the asking price-were a real-estate developer and his wife who wanted to trade up as their growing clan needed more space.
228 East 71st Street
Four-bedroom, four-bathroom townhouse.
Asking: $3.95 million. Selling: $3.7 million.
Time on the market: eight months.
MOVING THE X-FILES For years, this early-20th-century townhouse between Second and Third avenues housed one of Manhattan’s more quixotic nonprofit groups: the Parapsychology Foundation. According to their Web site, the group promotes the investigation of “psychic phenomena” and, in addition, maintains a vast library of parapsychology texts, with more than 10,000 volumes in its collection. It appears that the group did some fortune-telling of its own with the sale of this 5,120-square-foot townhouse that had served as the organization’s offices. The residence also had two floor-through apartments on the upper levels, a finished English basement and a private rear garden. Recently another nonprofit, the World Youth Alliance, snapped up the place to use as its New York headquarters. The group is affiliated with the U.N.; it hosts students from abroad and schedules internships for them in the city. The World Youth Alliance now plans an extensive renovation to the spread, which, when complete, will include a basement exercise room, reception and entertaining space on the parlor floor, an office on the second floor and residential space on third and fourth floors, where the children will stay during their New York sojourns.
“This building was ideal, and it was a great location for them,” Toni Simon, an associate broker at William B. May, said of the property on East 71st Street. Ms. Simon shared the listing with fellow William B. May senior vice president Suzanne Sealy. John Oler, of JSBO Realty and Capital Inc., represented the buyers.