Brown Bunny auteur and downtown fixture Vincent Gallo may take risks with film critics (Roger Ebert lambasted the movie as “The worst film in the history of the [Cannes] festival”; Mr. Gallo retorted with unkind remarks about morbid obesity), but he certainly counts his chips in the high-stakes Manhattan real-estate poker game.
After already swapping a loft in the glass-clad Richard Meier towers on the western reaches of Perry Street, Mr. Gallo just closed on his second apartment swap in less than a year in the building.
In September, he listed his 1,800-square-foot spread on the seventh floor for $2.75 million. Last week, he unloaded it for $2.4 million, according to his broker, Linda Melnick of Stribling and Associates.
The move comes after the filmmaker and sometime Republican activist purchased the raw-space spread on the seventh floor for around $2.15 million in December, holding it for under a year and flipping it for a $300,000-plus profit (nice going, Vincent!).
“[Vincent] never moved in. He’s still undecided about where he wants to actually plant permanent roots,” explained his broker, Ms. Melnick.
Douglas Elliman broker Leonard Steinberg represented the buyer and declined to comment. Mr. Gallo was not available for comment by press time.
The buyer of Mr. Gallo’s loft, a finance executive, also snapped up the sixth-floor apartment for just north of $2 million, and according to sources familiar with the building, he plans to combine the two spreads into a sprawling duplex, the only mid-floor duplex in the north tower. (Of course, there is the penthouse duplex-that’s the spread that belonged to Martha Stewart before the dethroned domestic diva sold it for a little over $6 million).
The Perry Street towers have made frequent appearances in the city’s gossip pages, drawing media attention for everything from shoddy finishes to problem-riddled construction. Or, as Mr. Gallo himself once told Vanity Fair: “You won’t believe what’s going on in these buildings …. It’s a microcosm of everything ugly in human beings-beautiful, beautiful architecture desecrated by scandal, greed, conniving and gluttony.”
But now, with his latest sale, he seems to have weathered the P.R. maelstrom and made out well, financially. In July 2002, the 42-year-old filmmaker purchased the third-floor spread for a reported $2.03 million before unloading it for around the same price.
New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. will greet 2005 with one less Manhattan apartment in his real-estate stable. In September, city records show that Mr. Sulzberger and his wife, the artist and writer Gail Gregg, did some real-estate flippage when they sold a 738-square-foot condo at 104 West 70th Street for $800,000. In August 2002, the couple closed on the property for a reported $615,000. That’s a 30 percent profit-not bad!
According to New York Times spokeswoman Catherine Mathis, Mr. Sulzberger was traveling and unavailable for comment about his deft real-estate moves. But perhaps he was inspired to sell after perusing The Times’ recently bolstered real-estate coverage, complete with their own celebrity real-estate gossip column! Ms. Gregg was also not available for comment.
The Sulzbergers’ Upper West Side spread was reportedly purchased for Ms. Gregg to house her art studio. Ms. Gregg-who, according to her Web site, most recently exhibited at the Gallery at R&F, in Kingston, N.Y.-still lists 104 West 70th Street as her studio address.
Ms. Gregg may also miss one added perk of maintaining a studio space at 104 West 70th Street: the buttery confections on sale at the famed Bakery Soutine, which sits on the building’s ground floor.
Back downtown, billionaire scion Robert Soros and his wife Melissa have ankled the West Village. In October, the couple unloaded the four-story townhouse at 288 West Fourth Street for $5 million, city records show. At about the same time Mr. Soros, 41, the oldest of George Soros’ five children, was appointed to run the Quantum Endowment Fund, an $8.3 billion investment portfolio.
According to city records, finance executive Ronald Layard-Liesching, a partner and director of research for the risk-management firm Pareto Partners, snapped up the Soros’ West Fourth Street townhouse.
After pumping six-figure donations into Democratic coffers during this campaign cycle, Mr. Soros boosted his own personal balance sheet with the sale of the West Village manse: The couple purchased the property, which sits between 11th and Bank streets, for a mere $1.9 million in September 1998, city real-estate records show.
The 20-foot-wide home has a kitchen, a living room with fireplace and a garden on the ground level; the second floor boasts two bedrooms (each with a fireplace) and a bathroom; the master bedroom shares the third floor with a separate east-facing studio apartment; and the fourth floor has two bedrooms, a bathroom, a second kitchen and a sitting room.
Patricia Cliff and Carter Wilcox, both of the Corcoran Group, handled the sale and didn’t return calls seeking comment. Mr. Soros was traveling and unavailable for comment.
The Soroses first listed the spread for $5.15 million in June of this year, before unloading it in October.
Recent Transactions in the Real Estate Market
110 Thompson Street Studio co-op. Asking: $259,000. Selling: $260,000. Maintenance: $540; 47 percent tax-deductible. Time on the market: four months.
WHEN ALL THE LIGHTS ARE LOW Meanwhile, another uptown girl bought this 300-square-foot slice of Soho-but she always knew she wanted to be downtown. The twentysomething wine distributor works in the neighborhood and wanted to live among the stylish lanes south of Houston. So, after leaving behind her Upper East Side rental, she closed on this second-floor studio on fashionable Thompson Street. “It was about the location,” listing broker Gerry Kendrick of Douglas Elliman said of the first-time buyer’s decision to take the Soho plunge. The seller, a book publicist in his 30′s, recently married and relocated to a larger spread in the flower district. His former Soho studio has a garden view, hardwood floors and east-facing exposures adding light to the spread. Vincent D’Allesandro of Fenwick-Keats represented the buyer.
34 East 38th Street One-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bathroom co-op. Asking: $1.2 million. Selling: $1.1 million. Maintenance: $2,561; 65 percent tax-deductible. Time on the market: 11 months.
I KNOW A PLACE TO GO This one-bedroom on 38th Street between Park and Madison covers some 2,000 square feet-a rare find in Murray Hill-and yet it languished on the market for the better part of a year. “It was a tough sell,” said Ella Sacks of the Corcoran Group, speaking of the unconventional layout: a one-bedroom apartment spread across four floors of a Murray Hill brownstone built in 1865. “One of the challenges in selling this apartment was that it’s more like a downtown property.” The sellers, a retired couple, relocated as far downtown as you can go-to South America-and listed their midtown perch with its exposed brick walls, eat-in kitchen and three wood-burning fireplaces. Finally, after 11 months on the market, they found a newlywed uptown couple intrigued by the spread’s unique configuration. Fellow Corcoran broker Margaret Velard partnered on the deal.
Upper East Side
115 East 86th Street Two-bedroom, two-bathroom co-op. Asking: $995,000. Selling: $1.06 million. Maintenance: $1,212; 50 percent tax-deductible. Time on the market: three weeks.
CONNECTICUT YANKEES Have child No. 1: move to an Upper East Side two-bedroom. Child No. 2: shuttle off to the suburbs. That’s what happened with this growing clan when they recently added a fourth member and decided to relocate to the Connecticut wilds in search of more space. “They loved the city, but they couldn’t find what they were looking for,” said listing broker Jane E. Goldberg of Century 21 William B. May. “In the end, they decided they wanted a backyard.” When they listed their 13th-floor spread on Labor Day, they instantly received five all-cash offers. A single travel agent who wanted to hop across the park from her West Side apartment snapped up the place, paying nearly $10,000 over the asking price. The pent-up demand may have been due to the prewar spread’s details, which include herringbone floors and a living room with a wood-burning fireplace. How country!