Nicole Stays in Soho

While real-estate watchers tussle over whether Nicole Kidman will move into her $8 million loft in the Richard Meier tower at 176 Perry Street, the Stepford Wives actress is currently renting a Soho loft on Crosby Street, a real-estate source involved with the property said.

The contemporary-looking three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bathroom loft measures more than 4,000 feet square, has 12-foot ceilings, a study and a wood-burning fireplace. Ms. Kidman is currently paying approximately $35,000 a month for her Soho spread, the source said.

The source declined to give Ms. Kidman’s specific address, but did confirm that her loft is not in the celebrity-addled 30 Crosby Street development, where the lissome Aussie rented Lenny Kravitz’s triplex in 2003.

A spokesperson for Ms. Kidman declined to comment on her current downtown real-estate situation.

Recently, Ms. Kidman was in New York filming the political thriller The Interpreter with Sean Penn, and her remake of the 1975 sci-fi drama The Stepford Wives opens June 11.

Last month, the New York Post reported that Ms. Kidman might be bunking down in Chelsea’s London Terrace, the sprawling apartment building at 405 West 23rd Street. But the source confirms that Ms. Kidman is staying in Soho, and not in the Chelsea building.

Now, when she does decide to abandon her temporary quarters, it remains to be seen whether she’ll join the celebrity flotsam in her 4,000-square-foot loft at Perry Street, especially since the actress was reportedly smarting over the pending construction of Mr. Meier’s third fishbowl tower at 165 Charles Street, as the building is set to steal the star’s coveted Hudson River views.

Wal-Mart’s slogan may say “Always Low Prices. Always ,” but the retail behemoth’s adage apparently doesn’t hold when it comes to Manhattan real estate. On May 30, the duplex that formerly belonged to Alice Walton, the billionaire heiress of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, listed for $5 million with Gillian Jolis and Nikki Field, of Sotheby’s International Realty.

The 2,800-square-foot spread at 39 East 79th Street had been Ms. Walton’s home about four years ago, before she unloaded it on the current owners, who went in search of a larger space for their growing family.

The 12th-floor apartment on the corner of 79th Street and Madison Avenue has two master bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, three gas-burning fireplaces and a living room with 17-foot ceilings that was the former ballroom in the duplex that once belonged to Emily Post when she lived in the exclusive co-op back in the 1920′s.

“It’s the single most remarkable living room in Manhattan,” Ms. Jolis said of the lofty apartment, which also has southern and western views over Central Park. And now that the Presidential campaign season is in full swing, any new prospective buyer can tour the spread where Ms. Walton hosted lavish dinners for Bill and Hillary Clinton during the 1990′s.

The regal penthouse that belonged to the late Joseph Cullman III, the longtime chief of tobacco giant Philip Morris, has just landed on the market for $15 million. Cullman died in April at the age of 92. His wife, Joan Cullman, a Tony Award–winning Broadway producer and vice chairwoman of the board at the Lincoln Center Theater, passed away in March at 72. Now the family has listed the sprawling penthouse at 19 East 72nd Street, the exclusive co-op on the corner of Madison Avenue-whose tenants have included George and Carol McFadden, D. Dixon Boardman, financier Frank Richardson and U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood-for a mid-eight-figure price tag.

“There are few special apartments in New York; this is one of them,” listing broker Barbara Cardozo of Douglas Elliman said of the opulent penthouse. Indeed, the tobacco tycoon lived in the lap of luxury in his Upper East Side perch. The building was designed by the famed architect Rosario Candela in 1936, and the seven-room duplex had many fine prewar details. The lower level housed the formal dining room, a double kitchen, a maid’s room with bath, two bedrooms, a solarium and a terrace. On the upper level were the apartment’s entertainment room, a planting terrace and a wood-burning fireplace. In addition to its serious asking price, the spread carries a $6,729 monthly maintenance.

The expenses were on par for someone of Cullman’s stature. For 21 years, he presided over Philip Morris and grew the company into the diverse $81.8 billion conglomerate it is today. Though Cullman retired in 1978 from the tobacco juggernaut, his imprint on the company remained until his death, and he came to be the public face of the embattled tobacco industry, now saddled with billion-dollar health lawsuits. As the chairman of the Tobacco Institute’s executive committee, Cullman famously stated on CBS’s Face the Nation : “We do not believe that cigarettes are hazardous.” And he testified numerous times before Congress on behalf of tobacco companies.

His wife was no stranger to success, either. A producer of nine Broadway shows, Joan Cullman shepherded such Tony Award–winning plays to the stage as Art , as well as Skylight , Sweet Smell of Success and The Play What I Wrote , most recently in 2002.

Recent Transactions In the Real Estate Market

Sutton Place

400 East 54th Street

One-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bathroom condo.

Asking: $699,000. Selling: $725,000.

Charges: $495. Taxes: $4,068.

Time on the market: one week.

RAGS TO RUBLES The sharky import-export business caters to those with a keen eye for a deal. Those same haggling skills apparently lend themselves to the real-estate market. A year and a half ago, this Russian businesswoman who imports products from the land of Gorbachev purchased this 890-square-foot one-bedroom on 54th Street at the corner of First Avenue for $575,000. She recently turned it around for $725,000, clearing a hefty 25 percent return on her investment. Granted, the real-estate market surged in recent months, but the apartment’s mahogany moldings, marble bath, black Sub-Zero and Bosch appliances, and open views of the Empire State and Chrysler buildings from the 21st-floor perch boosted the spread’s healthy resale value. “The frenzy was happening, and it was the right time to sell,” said her broker, Carastina DuBrovin, a sales associate with William B. May. She found an antiques collector who was renting a one-bedroom in the East 30′s to take over her former Sutton spread. The seller is now trading up to a 1,450-square-foot loft on East 29th Street, though she has an eye on another sale. “She is thinking of flipping this unit when the timing is right,” Mrs. DuBrovin said. And the move now is part of her rapidly expanding real-estate portfolio, which includes numerous rental properties across the city in addition to an East Hampton abode.

Chelsea

133 West 17th Street

Two-bedroom, two-bathroom co-op.

Asking: $1.75 million. Selling: $1.725.

Maintenance: $1,685; 55 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: three weeks.

TAKE IT TO ART Now long since saturated with art types, Chelsea continues to pull in those with creative pursuits. When this thirtysomething designer couple (he’s a graphic and Web designer; she’s an interior designer) listed their 2,000-square-foot duplex loft on 17th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues, they found an art-collecting couple from Boston who wanted to trade up to the cachet of art-centric Chelsea. “They wanted to be in the center of the art world,” said exclusive broker Leonard Steinberg, of Douglas Elliman, who sold the penthouse, which has exposed wood columns, beams and ceiling joists, oversized windows and an 800-square-foot landscaped terrace. The north-facing apartment looks out over the landmarked buildings lining 18th Street. After seven years at their Chelsea co-op, the sellers are now renting in the Village while they plan their next real-estate move.

Lefferts Manor

163 Rutland Road

Four-bedroom, two-bathroom townhouse.

Asking: $675,000. Selling: $615,000.

Time on the market: 11 months.

LETTING GO Since the 1970′s, this turn-of-the-century gem had been the prize jewel of this Brooklyn-based family. But when the mother of the sellers passed away last year, the clan decided it was time to sell the family’s Lefferts Manor townhouse. Letting go of the family home proved emotionally difficult for the sellers. And leaving behind the building’s prewar charm must have been tough too, as the three-story, 2,400-square-foot spread had its original moldings, five decorative fireplace mantels, Pierre mirrors in the front parlor and high ceilings throughout. “It was hard to let go. They had too many memories of the house,” said Keith Mack of the Corcoran Group, who had the exclusive listing on the place, between Bedford and Rogers avenues near Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Not that you need to go to the park for outdoor access, as the townhouse sported its own private landscaped garden. The buyers, a biochemist and a designer who were relocating from Westchester and lower Manhattan, had read voluminous accounts of Brooklyn’s real-estate renaissance, touted everywhere from The Times to Details , and decided to take the borough plunge. They now plan an extensive renovation. “They’ll bring the house back to its grandeur,” Mr. Mack said.