Perhaps taking a cue from rocker Lenny Kravitz-who recently slashed $1 million off the asking price of his 6,000-square-foot Crosby Street triplex-Benny Shabtai, the president and owner of Raymond Weil U.S.A., now wants $2 million less for his 11,000-square-foot Park Avenue townhouse than he was asking when he listed it in March. Mr. Shabtai had listed the property for $23 million; last week his brokers dropped the price to $21 million.
“It’s getting closer to the real value. Hopefully, with the new price, it will get more action,” said exclusive broker Carrie Chiang, a senior vice president of the Corcoran Group.
Mr. Shabtai could not be reached for comment.
A single-family home along the limestone-and-granite corridor of New York’s power elite is a rare find. In 2000, the Israeli-born Mr. Shabtai, 54, purchased the property from Judith Stern Peck, the ex-wife of Tribeca Grand Hotel owner Leonard Stern, for $8.2 million.
The property has quite a design legacy. Originally built in 1974, it was renovated in 1976 by Robert A.M. Stern and John S. Hagmann. A fire severely damaged the property in 1992, and Ms. Stern hired Costas Kondylis for a second pass. The renowned condominium architect-whose downtown development at Morton Square is doubling as the Olsen twins’ dormitory-redesigned the interior. Ms. Stern listed the property throughout the 1990′s, asking upward of $10 million in April 1998, before Mr. Shabtai negotiated $550,000 off the $8.75 million asking price when he nabbed it in July 2000.
Mr. Shabtai then went about undertaking a luxurious renovation of his own. The four-story residence retains the classic façade designed by Mr. Stern and has six bedrooms, five full baths and two powder rooms. Other luxuries include a glass-walled living room with views over Park Avenue, a spiral staircase, a paneled library and a spa-style master bathroom with a built-in gas fireplace and a 28-foot dressing room. The listing of the property also includes plans for a 1,100-square-foot private roof garden with a gazebo and a hot tub. If potential buyers fret over the daily schlep up the spiral staircase, the home also has a four-passenger elevator.
Now, with its nearly 10 percent discount, Mr. Shabtai may be one step closer to finding an approving buyer.
Men’s Journal editor in chief Michael Caruso recently landed a $1.24 million Tribeca loft, city records show. In June, according to property records on file with the city, Mr. Caruso closed on a 2,000-square-foot former artist’s studio on Murray Street, between Church and Broadway. The deal marks a return to downtown for the editor of the venerable Jann Wenner–published men’s magazine.
“I used to have a place in Tribeca. I really like the neighborhood,” Mr. Caruso told The Observer .
The fifth-floor apartment is a loft that formerly belonged to the artist Richard Boch, city records show. According to The New York Times , Mr. Boch moved into the loft in the late 1970′s at a bargain-basement $400-a-month lease. In 2001, the mixed-use building at 9 Murray Street, which is also the site of the New Amsterdam branch of the New York Public Library, was converted from 14 rentals into condos. Mr. Caruso signed a contract to buy the place from Mr. Boch in April, before closing the deal in June.
He’s not the only hard-charging editor in Mr. Wenner’s stable of magazines to have a penchant for downtown real estate. In June 2003, Janice Min, the Us Weekly editor, scored a $1.75 million loft in the high-design Porter House lofts on West 15th Street in the meatpacking district. Her fellow neighbors in the building include Molly Shannon and fashion designer Carlos Miele.
Actor Harold Perrineau has traded a flashy Tribeca loft for a tropical paradise. In March, city records show, the actor-who recently appeared alongside Keanu Reeves in The Matrix Revolutions -sold his Warren Street loft for $1.15 million. The Brooklyn native is now living in Hawaii while filming the television series Lost , a drama about the survivors of a plane crash on a remote tropical island, which was recently signed for 11 episodes. So long, New York winters! “He’s in limbo figuring out where he is going to live,” Mr. Perrineau’s manager, Stacy Abrams, said of the actor’s current domestic plans. “If the show gets signed again, he’ll live where they end up filming.”
Mr. Perrineau left behind a prime piece of Tribeca. His former 1,600-square-foot apartment, on Warren Street between Broadway and Church Street, had two bedrooms, two marble bathrooms and details including a gourmet kitchen, a built-in washer/dryer and a video security system. The apartment first hit the market in December 2003 at $1.29 million, before Mr. Perrineau unloaded the place in March for $1.15 million to newlywed buyers-a finance executive and his attorney wife.
“It was big, minimal and airy,” said Neil Levine of the Corcoran Group, who sold the loft. “They don’t need to do a stitch to it. The apartment was in move-in condition.”
Recent Transactions in the Real Estate Market
Upper East Side
166 East 61st Street
Two-bedroom, two-bathroom co-op.
Asking: $935,000. Selling: $940,000.
Maintenance: $1,663; 48 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: two months.
BIDDING UP FOR BABY After the couple who owned this renovated East Side co-op decamped to the Connecticut ‘burbs so their children could frolic in a backyard, a growing family decided to trade up from a nearby apartment on 69th Street and Second Avenue to this spacious spread. In the competitive real-estate market that has descended over all of Manhattan, the couple paid $5,000 over the asking price. “They needed more space,” said Leah Ozeri, a broker with the Corcoran Group who represented the buyers. The apartment, between Lexington and Third avenues, has Upper East Side staples including marble baths, open southern and eastern views, and a newly renovated kitchen. The building also offers a full-time doorman and a concierge. “It felt right for them; they loved it because it was big,” Ms. Ozeri said. Anne Prosser, also of the Corcoran Group, represented the sellers.