All in the Family

Em101606 article transfers All in the Familyily T. Frick and Dr. Henry Clay Frick II, the grandson of the legendary steel magnate, have bought a co-op at 3 East 77th Street.

The $3.9 million purchase comes eight months after the couple sold their 7,000-square-foot house in Alpine, N.J., for $58 million.

How does one get into a building like 3 East 77th?

“In my opinion, rub shoulders with the du Ponts or Kennedys,” said the Corcoran Group’s Leah Ozeri-Elias, who listed the apartment with Wendy Sarasohn. “The finest people live there.”

(Incidentally, Mrs. Frick was married to a du Pont before Dr. Frick.)

“It’s a very social, clubby building,” Ms. Sarasohn said, “but in a low-profile way.”

According to her partner, that means a handful of potential buyers “were not board-qualified, socially, to buy the apartment.”

Yet the place is minor compared to the 63-acre New Jersey estate that the Fricks sold this January.

“From what I’ve heard,” said Dennis McCormack, the listing broker, “it was the highest non-waterfront residential sale in the United States.”

Why is the new co-op’s deed in Mrs. Frick’s name only? A source with knowledge of the New York deal said that the octogenarian Dr. Frick had arranged to stay on his old land in Alpine.

Mr. McCormack said he didn’t know the family’s plans, but confirmed that the estate’s buyer, real-estate investor Richard Kurtz, is planning on subdividing the land for individual sales.

Dr. Frick joined the board of the Frick Collection in 1953, and was its president from 1965 until the end of the century. His wife has been a trustee of the museum and of the Old Westbury Gardens on Long Island.

Appropriately, her new apartment has views of the Met and a neighbor’s orchid solarium. According to the listing, the three-bedroom co-op also has a formal dining room, two wood-burning fireplaces, and a windowed kitchen with sumptuous French limestone floors.

The seller is Hanne al Homaizi. Her profession isn’t clear, though Ms. Ozeri-Elias said she is a Danish widow.

Internet photographs show Ms. al Homaizi on safari. “Emily Frick, I know, goes hunting. She’s a real sportswoman,” said Ms. Sarasohn. “Often there’s like-to-like in transferring a property.”

City records don’t list another Manhattan home for Dr. and Mrs. Frick, though the New York Social Register puts their old address at 825 Fifth Avenue. That building and 3 East 77th are two of a handful left in Manhattan with a tenant-only restaurant. The family’s new in-house eatery, called the Georgian Suite, also serves the folks next-door at 960 Fifth Avenue.

“Mrs. Frick said that this was her kind of assisted living,” said Ms. Sarasohn. “Get it? The restaurants assist you with everything.”

Dr. and Mrs. Frick could not be reached for this article. Their broker, Brown Harris Stevens managing director Edith Tuckerman, would not comment.

She Sells Sanctuary

After a long and lonely struggle for cool-kid status, the meatpacking district is finally attracting modish artists: The poppy painter Ryan McGinness has bought a one-bedroom condo at 350 West 14th Street for $814,000.

“I plan to create a calming and warm environment that is going to provide me with the sanctuary I need when I am out of the studio,” Mr. McGinness wrote via e-mail while preparing a solo show in Amsterdam.

Listing broker Phillip Koeber had a different perspective: “It’s just a great apartment in a happening place,” the Prudential Douglas Elliman agent said. “It picks up a meatpacking district vista, definitely. From the bedroom you can see the Soho Club—no, Soho House, Soho something.” (It’s Soho House, the once-happening social club.)

But Mr. McGinness is less excited about the district. “I honestly don’t know much about the new area. I do know that it is loud on the weekends.”

Plus it’s far away from his old digs: Since 2002, Mr. McGinness has lived in an apartment around the corner from his studio on Centre Street. So the new 725-square-foot place is much less convenient.

“He may be living there for a while,” said his broker, Trish Goodwin. “But eventually it should just be an investment property, and a place where family can stay.”

Speaking of family, Ms. Goodwin is Mr. McGinness’ wife. (They’ve been married for nine years, and she’s been a broker since last November). How was their working relationship? “Very easy. He’s not a stereotypically disorganized, scattered artist,” she said. “Very Germanic, very Swiss—he knows what he wants. He saw the apartment, and that was it.”

What had the artist been looking for? “A place to hide, relax and be with friends,” he wrote.

Despite that domestic connection, the apartment won’t be graced with Mr. McGinness’ bright, ornate work. “Even in our apartment, I had to beg to have one piece of his,” Ms. Goodwin sighed. “He’d rather live with other people’s art.”

As for the layout, the one-bedroom condo has an open kitchen, plus a long entrance hall. “And that’s important for Ryan,” his wife disclosed. “He’s a no-shoes kind of guy.”

The Elliman broker, Mr. Koeber, said that the apartment’s seller, Brandon Conovitz, imports bags and cosmetics from China. Mr. McGinness would be proud: His art has a punky obsession with mainstream iconography, though his unicorns are usually double-headed and his voice bubbles are postmodernly empty.

Turnaround is Fair Play

It’s been more than two years since  sold his mammoth rental brokerage firm for $49 million, but his avid instincts for Manhattan real estate haven’t dulled.

Last month, the former proprietor of Citi Habitats flipped his condo at the Devon for $1,699,000—after the apartment had slipped from two Habitats brokers.

“It was great,” Mr. Heiberger said. “I sold for $450,000 more than I paid.”

He bought the place in April 2004, rented it out for two years and then gutted it.

The sale wasn’t smooth, though. Last December, the listing for the three-bedroom place went to Dina Cohen and Meta Wechsler at Citi Habitats, the firm Mr. Heiberger founded in 1994.

They wouldn’t comment on working with their brokerage’s creator, even though he stepped down from the presidency early last year. (He happily receded to his new $8.1 million house on East 63rd.)

Despite its double-sized living room, three marble bathrooms and what Mr. Heiberger called his “suburban-style country kitchen,” his Devon apartment still hadn’t sold by May.

“I was in a political quandary,” he said. “I couldn’t switch to another broker inside Citi Habitats, because that would be an insult; I couldn’t switch to a broker at Corcoran, because that would be an insult.”

So after the first exclusive expired, he gave the listing to a small group named Core Group Marketing.

“Shaun Osher was assisting me on a downtown building in the hopes of getting hired,” said Mr. Heiberger, speaking about Core’s C.E.O. “And when I made a decision not to hire him, I gave [his firm] the listing as a gratuity.”

“In all fairness to the initial broker,” he said later, meaning Ms. Cohen, “she had to sit and wait the thing out when I was reducing $100,000 every month. These people got it fresh off at $1.699.”

“That’s real estate,” said Meta Wechsler, who had shared the listing with Ms. Cohen.

Core Group broker Fredrik Eklund was gratified.

“I sold it one week, with three backups,” he said. “I was very happy about that deal …. The more experienced the seller, the easier it is; the quicker they get what they’re selling. If I want to spend $500 on flowers on an open house, I don’t have to explain why.”

Mr. Heiberger was so impressed with the turn-around that he gave Core the listing for his apartment at the Orion Condominium near Times Square. But the Habitats curse seemed to have lifted.

“He couldn’t sell it in three months, and he had it at $719,000. I turned it over to the same team at Citi Habitats, and they sold it at 729,000!”

The lesson: “Everyone’s got to remember, it’s not caveat emptor, it’s caveat venditor. Your broker is six feet tall, but the market is a tidal wave.”