It’s been a hyperbolic year for tip-top Manhattan real estate. Such dread! Such anxious nostalgia for the freewheeling days of old!
But there has also been a load of record-breaking sales, and now the bubbly giddiness has spread downtown.
According to the real-estate database ROLEX, a compilation of listings shared by city brokerages, a 55-foot-wide townhouse at 11 West 10th has gone to contract. (Fifty-five feet is about a third of the width of an N.F.L. football field.)
The blogging venture capitalist Fred Wilson owns the 15,000-square-foot townhouse, which he listed in July with Debbie Korb at Sotheby’s International Realty. The asking price was $37.5 million.
If it closed near there, this 1847 mansion would be the most expensive single-family residence downtown.
“There’s nothing that compares,” said Prudential Douglas Elliman’s Jan Hashey. In 1996, Ms. Hashey co-brokered the $3.9 million deal between the Ladies Christian Union (which had owned the mansion since 1919) and the N.Y.U. School of Law. N.Y.U. sold it to Fred Wilson and his wife four years later, though sales figures aren’t available.
The mansion was built as a Greek Revival row house in the mid-19th century. Afterward, it became the Milbank Memorial Home, and then the Milbanks donated the place to the lady Christians.
“It was an amazing place,” Ms. Hashey said, “with young women from out of state in, you know, 10-by-eight-foot rooms. Thirty of them! Thirty bedrooms!”
But its look has changed. Ms. Hashey, who last saw the house two months ago, said that the celebrity architect David Piscuskas “redid every inch of the house” for the Wilsons. The place now has an elevator to navigate among the five floors, plus a playroom that’s “like a basketball court.”
There have been other famous architects around. In 1888, Beaux-Arts master Ernest Flagg designed the mansion’s east-side library, whose books were later donated by Irving Berlin.
Now it has a New World elegance, Ms. Hashey said. “Charm isn’t exactly the word. It’s not an old Village townhouse anymore.”
Besides owning one of downtown’s New World masterpieces, Mr. Wilson has a big Internet hobby. He runs an endearing blog called A VC—as in “a venture capitalist”—and he just recently ended a 15-month series of podcasts called “Positively 10th Street”—as in 11 West 10th Street.
In his blog bio, Mr. Wilson said that he works 70 hours per week at his firm, Union Square Ventures. Maybe he can scale that back if his deal closes near the asking price? He didn’t return calls to his office.
And when a reporter went to his home to ask about profiling the 159-year-old mansion, a woman who answered the door said: “Never. Absolutely not.”
The Selling Magic of Abigail Disney
Walt’s grandniece, Abigail Disney, has sold her newly renovated townhouse on Central Park West at 85th Street to Coach C.O.O. and co-president Keith Monda. He paid $15.5 million for the newly renovated 11,800-square-foot mansion.
That’s $1 million less than the marketed price. But don’t fret for Ms. Disney: According to ROLEX, the house had been listed for only $2.7 million when she bought it in 1997.
City records don’t list a new Manhattan home for Ms. Disney, a former chairwoman of the New York Women’s Foundation and co-founder of the anti-poverty Daphne Foundation. She’s a businesswoman too, reportedly having had a hand in dad Roy Disney’s 2003 mutiny against Michael Eisner.
The sales deed lists Mr. Monda’s address at a condo on West 22nd, which he bought into three years ago for $2.749 million.
Maybe he’ll have more luck in his new place than Coach co-president and executive creative director Reed Krakoff, whose freshly purchased $17 million East 70th Street townhouse was gutted in a fire last month.
But back to the jolly numbers: The five-floor townhouse is 22 feet wide and 57 feet deep—which leaves quite a lot of space for backyard gardens, or a theme park, on the 100-foot-long lot. The house also has six bedrooms and six bathrooms (which came in handy when Ms. Disney was raising four kids), plus a circular staircase to whirl around on and an indoor lap pool.
What condition is it all in? According to the listing, the residence was “recently renovated to a state-of-the-art architectural masterpiece.”
Listing broker Michael Pellegrino at Sotheby’s International Realty didn’t return calls to his office, so the renovation maestro remains unknown.
But Mr. Pellegrino’s listing adds that the house “will afford any purchaser the most attractive residential life-style in Manhattan.” Ms. Disney’s assistant declined to comment.
Extra! Extra! Alt-Weekly Impresario Sells for $7.35 M.
John Sutter, publisher of downtown community newspapers The Villager, Gay City News and Downtown Express, is leaving his triplex penthouse at 16 Jay Street. According to city records, he and his wife, the artist Kathleen Kucka, have sold their Tribeca mega-loft for $7,355,000. They had owned the place since January 2001.
The buyer is Shlomi Raz, who closed on the deal last month—one year after making managing director at Goldman.
Now he possesses a 4,400-square-foot trophy loft to go with his highfalutin title. And according to the listing, that trophy loft even has “tasteful pear wood accents throughout.”
There’s also a chef’s kitchen with a 10-foot-long stone-topped center island. On the down side, there’s only one wood-burning fireplace. On the up, the penthouse has six bedrooms.
And if you take the sky-lit staircase to the top floor, you’ll find two landscaped terraces.
Reached through The Villager, one of the four local newspapers published by Mr. Sutter’s Community Media, the weeklies tycoon declined to comment.
His broker Richard Orenstein, a senior vice president at Halstead, said: “I never sell and tell. I’m completely discreet.”
Same goes for architect Andrew Bartle. According to his studio’s Web site, Mr. Bartle designed the Jay Street triplex and renovated Mr. Sutter’s nearby loft on Warren Street.
But the architect didn’t return several phone calls, and it isn’t clear from city records whether the Sutter family still owns the Warren apartment. Still, the Jay Street listing gives a sense of Mr. Bartle’s work. The triplex had timber columns and “endless” ashwood cabinetry, and even central air.