If you want an idea how rough it can be to enter the luxury-apartment market in Manhattan, consider the case of Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts.
She was hardly slumming it in her former digs at the same West End Avenue rental tower that fellow television host Kelly Ripa once called home—though Ms. Ripa, with her husband, Mark Consuelos, was soon able to drop $2.8 million to buy a 5,000-square-foot spread on Crosby Street. The couple has since upgraded to a $9 million loft upstairs, previously rented by Nicole Kidman.
Still, it seems like 20 years as a successful television personality should earn someone a luxury apartment sooner than it did for Ms. Roberts, who, in early August, finally signed a contract for a $2.575 million condo in the Heritage at Trump Place, according to deed-transfer records. The deal closed in late September.
Through a spokesperson, Ms. Roberts declined to comment on the deal.
It was 15 years ago that the former college-basketball star joined ESPN, becoming a prominent property for the channel as the host of SportsCenter. Ms. Roberts continued her work with ESPN when she began contributing to GMA in 1995, displaying a perhaps unlikely aptitude for reporting the hard stuff alongside more familiar material—filing reports from Capitol Hill and from the hardwood courts.
Last May, Ms. Roberts received her biggest promotion yet, joining television veterans Diane Sawyer and Charles Gibson as co-anchor on GMA.
Completed in 2005, the Heritage is the northernmost of several recently constructed Upper West Side buildings near Riverside Park. The Costas Kondylis–designed residential tower includes a 24-hour doorman, health club and pool, children’s playroom, video-screening room and courtyard.
The 1,568-square-foot apartment belonging to Ms. Roberts includes top-of-the-line appliances and finishes. There are two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a terrace.
Could a raging Super Bowl party be in the works at the Heritage? Sportscaster Warner Wolf picked up an apartment two floors below Ms. Roberts’ for $2.14 million over the summer.
Novelist Moves to Soho After A Divorce for $1.9 Million
Novelist Peter Carey recently sold his duplex apartment on Bedford Street for $2.45 million, according to deed-transfer records. The unnamed buyer purchased it through a Beverly Hills–based trust.
The prize-winning novelist had purchased the West Village apartment for his family in 1989; a decade later, he also purchased a one-bedroom apartment in the same pre-war building.
In January 2004, Mr. Carey sold the smaller unit for $540,000 to E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg. Mr. Weinberg—who also owned a nearby carriage house—sold both properties together last summer for $2.45 million.
In July, Mr. Carey reportedly put his three-bedroom apartment on the market, and he didn’t have to wait very long. A contract was signed in late August.
Currently embroiled in a divorce with his wife, Alison Summers, Mr. Carey—also a creative-writing professor at Hunter College—needed a new local residence.
A few weeks after selling his former home, Mr. Carey purchased a 1,925-square-foot Soho condo with Frances Coady, vice president and publisher of the Holtzbrinck literary paperback imprint Picador, for $1.9 million, according to deed-transfer records.
Built in 1894, the eight-story manufacturing building in prime Soho territory was converted to 14 sleek loft units in 2001.
Born in Australia in 1943, Mr. Carey worked for several years as an advertising copywriter. He transformed himself into a prize-winning fiction writer with Oscar and Lucinda, the 1988 winner of the coveted British Booker Prize. He won it again with True History of the Kelly Gang in 2001.
His most recent work, titled Wrong About Japan: A Father’s Journey With His Son, was published by Knopf in January 2005.
Mr. Carey declined to comment on the two deals.
Another East 60’s Mansion Trades Up From Nonprofit Offices to Personal Mansion
The neo-Georgian mansion at 9 East 69th Street, which has been on the market for $25 million since early this September, has gone to contract for an undisclosed sum.
The building, listed with Paula Del Nunzio and C. Graham Uffelman of Brown Harris Stevens, has been the home of the Synergos Institute, a nonprofit company that focuses on international development.
The company bought the six-story, 15,290-square-foot townhouse in 1999 from the National Council of Jewish Women, which had called the townhouse home since the early 1950’s.
The council made a sizeable profit on its investment of over four decades earlier, and subsequently purchased a 10,000-square-foot building on Second Avenue.
It’s happening again.
“We will be making quite a profit,” said Janet Becker, director of operations for Synergos. Ms. Becker wouldn’t elaborate on the specifics, but expects the company to double the amount it paid for the house, with the profits made to be earmarked for various institutional expenses.
Built in 1917, the marble and brick building was designed by renowned architect Grosvenor Atterbury, of McKim, Mead & White. The features include a large entrance foyer, double-wide staircase, floor-to-ceiling windows and a library with a black granite fireplace.
Because of the interior dimensions of the landmarked mansion, brokers say the best way to utilize the space could be to hark back to the original design—a massive personal residence.
“When sold, I would seriously doubt it would be anything other than a private residence,” said luxury broker George van der Ploeg of Prudential Douglas Elliman. “It feels like a single-family home.”
According to Ms. Becker, that’s just what the buyers think.
And so the sale continues a trend that has dominated the highest echelon of the East 60’s townhouse market of late.
In the $20 million–plus price range alone, two townhouses have sold and two more are currently under contact—all to buyers planning a single-family house of grand proportions.
And like other organizations that previously called grand townhouses home (ahem!), Ms. Becker believes that her organization will benefit from the relocation to a building with a more conventional layout.
“Really, we were effectively utilizing half of the building,” she said. “As we’ve grown, we started running out of space.”
Synergos is now moving its operation to Park Avenue South, leasing space in a building that Ms. Becker sees as an ideal fit.
“[The area] has good housing stock,” she said. “Even though it is not a townhouse, it has charm to it. It’s more in keeping with the kind of organization we are. While it’s not the same as owning the building, it is a lot less of a headache.”