Pauley and Trudeau Selling $13 M. C.P.W. Spread; Renters Wanted For Beaux-Arts Mansion; Model Paves Beautiful Way to L.E.S.

Television journalist and memoirist Jane Pauley and her husband, Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau, have gone to contract to sell their prized 271 Central Park West duplex for almost $13 million, according to a source with knowledge of the deal.

The Manhattan power couple has been busy shopping for a posh new home. We reported in this space last week that they were outbid on a triplex maisonette at Beekman Place that was asking $3.85 million.

Through a spokesperson, Mr. Trudeau declined to comment on their future plans; Ms. Pauley couldn’t be reached by press time.

The couple’s 13-room duplex apartment includes seven bedrooms, five and a half bathrooms, a living room, a separate dining room and eat-in kitchen, a laundry room, an office and a “staff room.” The place blows hot and cold with a wood-burning fireplace and central air conditioning.

Brokers Lee Summers and Caroline Rocco of Sotheby’s International Realty listed the property in late May, and it quickly went to contract. Both brokers declined to comment on the deal.

The storied Upper West Side building has housed numerous celebrities over the years, including Lucille Ball, Robin Williams, Meryl Streep, actor Mark Hamill and artist Chuck Close-who recently moved downtown to a more fashionable celebrity locale, the glitzy Morton Square condominium.

If Ms. Pauley and Mr. Trudeau’s apartment is sold at close to its asking price, it will fetch almost $4 million more than Robin Williams’ 11-room duplex apartment one floor above, which reportedly sold for $9 million in 2000.

At the time of the sale, Mr. Williams was still fuming over the co-op board’s rejection of his bid to buy a penthouse on his floor. That would have allowed him to construct a huge combined unit.

The sellers of the 12,000-square-foot Beaux-Arts mansion at 926 Fifth Avenue are changing their tack again. Now, the wealthy European family that owns the house is offering a 49-year lease on it for $14.5 million.

That’s a lot less than the $45 million the owners were asking as recently as May-but that offer, listed with Victoria Ghilaga of Stribling and Associates, was to buy the building outright. Still, the new deal on the building-which re-entered the market June 13-is also $9 million less than the place was asking through late March, when the uncommon lease arrangement was being offered for $23.8 million.

If purchased at the $45 million asking price, a record would have been shattered!

Built in 1899 for John W. Simpson, the Cass Gilbert–designed home includes nine wood-burning fireplaces, original details and a landscaped garden. Stretching six floors up, there is enough space for 16 rooms and nine baths. And as the Stribling Web site boldly exclaims, 926 Fifth Avenue is the “Finest Address in the World!!”

Ms. Ghilaga couldn’t be reached by press time, but it will be interesting to see if any temporary buyers jump at the drastically reduced lease price.

The march of the beautiful people into high-toned renovations on the Lower East Side continues apace. German-born model Manon Von Gerkan recently purchased a $1.7 million full-floor apartment in the same Henry Street building as pretty-boy actor Josh Lucas, whose $1.76 million deal in the building was reported last week in this space.

Widely known both for adorning magazine covers and dating superstar magician David Blaine (they’re “good friends” now), Ms. Von Gerkan has had real estate on her mind for the past four years-but when she got her first glimpse of the Garfield Building, which has been renovated to upscale, modern luxury, her longtime apartment hunt came to end.

“I like old architecture, old buildings, but everything renovated [and] done by architects that have very great tastes,” said Ms. Von Gerkan, who learned to appreciate the intricacies of bricks and mortar from her architect father.

This week, she’s beginning to have work done on the apartment, which she views as “a pretty raw, big space.”

With top-of-the line amenities built in, Ms. Von Gerkan is already off to a pretty good start. The 1,900-square-foot apartment features Miele appliances, a Sub-Zero refrigerator, a Jerusalem limestone bath and stainless-glass shower doors.

Located on a high floor-with smaller buildings surrounding it-Ms. Von Gerkan’s apartment enjoys superb 360-degree views provided by no less than 30 windows. In addition, a two-level roof deck is currently under construction for use by all the tenants.

Morton Square, 505 Greenwich Street and the Richard Meier buildings have had their fair share of celebrity buyers grabbing sponsor units. But with comparatively more restaurants and nightlife clogging streets like Orchard, Rivington and Stanton, the influx of high-end buyers could definitely affect the part of the Lower East Side where the Garfield was developed.

Four years ago, the (seemingly prescient) architects Ronald Castellano and Christopher Haynes-previously of Richard Meier and Partners-purchased the former manufacturing building for only $2.45 million. Despite having four apartments already occupied by artists with lifetime leases, the developers went ahead with a large-scale renovation that has been closely watched in the community.

“Since the building was three years in the making, there was a lot of neighborhood interest,” said Frank Torre of the Corcoran Group, who sold six apartments in the building and currently has a one-bedroom still available for $725,000.

In mid-December, Mr. Torre began having open houses, with over 50 groups arriving on the first Saturday alone. “There was the same level of interest throughout the holidays,” he confessed. By early January, the first contracts were signed, as luxury buyers began swapping apartments in the more established hip areas, namely Tribeca and the East and West Village.

“Part of the charm of the building is it’s off the beaten path,” said Mr. Torre.

Even so, Ms. Von Gerkan is still relatively close to Mr. Blaine, who purchased a 4,000-square-foot Tribeca loft for $1.675 million in April.

In addition to being represented by Next Models, Ms. Von Gerkan is about to relaunch her own jewelry line next month.

Musician Dr. John recently sold his Chelsea co-op for $825,000-$25,000 below the asking price. The two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment features high ceilings and fine prewar detail. However, the 1,200-square-foot apartment has plenty of work left to be done by the buyer, who was in search of a reasonably priced fixer-upper.

“He loved it,” said Mary Lou Currier, of William B. May Real Estate, who represented the buyer, a British film editor. “It needed a lot of work, but he knew it was right for him.”

Broker Chris Toland, who had the listing with Prudential Douglas Elliman before he jumped ship to the Corcoran Group, represented Dr. John. Mr. Toland declined to comment on the sale.

Born Malcolm Rebennack, the eclectic musician has proven his talent as a singer, keyboardist and guitarist over the course of some 20-plus albums. The “Night Tripper,” as he dubbed himself, also wrote a gritty 1994 autobiography, Under a Hoodoo Moon: The Life of the Night Tripper, published by St. Martin’s Press. Still active on the music scene, Dr. John embarked last week on a U.S. and European tour through September and couldn’t be reached for comment.