People magazine executive editor Jeannie Park has bought a 166-year-old Washington Square Park brownstone for $5.1 million. It was a bargain: The five-story townhouse at 109 Waverly Place was first listed in July 2005 for $200,000 more.
Ms. Park, who is a founding president of the New York chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association, did not return calls to her office. And the listing broker, Amanda Sawyer, said she had been asked by the buyer not to comment for this article.
A description of the place on Ms. Sawyer’s Web site is more gregarious. For example, the 25-foot-wide Greek Revival townhouse apparently has 14-foot ceilings (which is very high) and nine fireplaces (which is a lot). And in front of the prettily renovated façade are pretty, wild rosebushes, and in the 42-foot backyard are two maple trees, too.
But Ms. Park and her family might not have the 7,150-square-feet interior all to themselves. The listing says that the townhouse is split into six apartments and an owner’s duplex.
Broker Mark Cole, who sold the twin brownstone next-door—and listed this house before his exclusive expired—wasn’t sure if the place would be delivered vacant. “That was one of the hitches,” he said. “There was one rent-controlled unit and three rent-stabilized units.”
On the bright side, if Ms. Park finds it hard to (lawfully) evict those tenants, she’ll still have that duplex.
According to city records, the seller is Julie H. Hoover. She’s listed in recent press releases as a senior vice president and director of sustainable development for the engineering group Parsons Brinckerhoff. An H.R. representative at the firm said Ms. Hoover no longer worked there.
David Zwirner: Going Up!
When art dealer David Zwirner tripled his headquarters at West 19th Street this year, his new 30,000-square-foot space became the grandest, plumpest gallery in Chelsea.
But he’s been quietly expanding elsewhere too, recently paying $3.65 million for a four-floor building at 232 East 13th Street. Conveniently, the place is next-door to his five-bedroom brownstone—which was listed for $2 million when Mr. Zwirner and his wife bought it in 2002.
Is he planning a Chelsea-like residential expansion on East 13th? The Web site PropertyShark.com lists the new place as a mirror image of his old one—with the same lot size and same building dimensions—which means the two would be less awkward to combine. Plus, there aren’t any local landmark regulations to hold back construction.
And the seller, real-estate investor Patrick Thompson, said he delivered his building empty. He had been living in a unit and renting out seven others.
“It was just an apartment building,” he said, “nothing super or bad one way or the other.”
But the Zwirners aren’t strangers to superb home redecorations. “A complete gut—they totally ripped it apart. One of the most amazing renovations I’ve seen in the city,” said broker Patrick Vernon Lilly about the townhouse he sold the Zwirners in 2002. “They’re the type of people who see real value when other people can’t.”
Evidently they also saw value in their next-door neighbor, although a spectator might think they wouldn’t need any more legroom after their first purchase. “They put an elevator in the building. It’s a substantial house,” said Mr. Lilly, who is a senior managing director at Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy. “More than enough for them, I believe. They may have a different opinion on that.”
This time around, according to Mr. Thompson, there was no need for outside agents, and his building was never officially on the market. He said the deal evolved from a neighborly conversation. Periodically, conversing with one’s neighbors can pay off.
Mr. Zwirner didn’t return several messages left at his office, and a press liaison asked a reporter to please stop calling the gallery.
Makeup Maven Sprinkles $6.7 M. on Chelsea
Makeup guru Laura Mercier has parlayed her Secret Brightening Powders and Hydra Soothing Gel Masks and Crème Brûlée Sugar Scrubs into a $6.7 million Chelsea loft.
Ms. Mercier’s new 5,500-square-foot apartment, which takes up the ninth floor at 205 West 19th Street, has 30 oversized windows on all four sides. There are also electronically controlled blinds if the panorama tires her out.
“I can say she’s a wonderful woman and it’s a wonderful building, and I’m very, very happy that they ended up together,” said seller James Polsky, who founded the East Side barbecue joint Blue Smoke/Jazz Standard with his cousin Danny Meyer.
Mr. Polsky also runs the luxury-wine storage group Manhattan Wine Company, so it’s not a surprise that he left the apartment with a moisture-controlled 1,200-bottle cellar.
According to the listing, the loft also has a 68-foot “living/dining room” with carpentry like Zebrawood shelving and dark-brown “wide plank Brazilian walnut floors.” Brazilian is the new black!
Mr. Polsky wouldn’t talk about his apartment, but he said: “I can tell you that Laura is an ideal person to come in. How should I put this? She’ll fit in very well.” Maybe that’s because the apartment’s master bathroom (a makeup guru’s domestic HQ) comes with heated floors and custom-made vanities.
And if her 30 windows don’t provide enough light, there are three lamps by the modernist Serge Mouille, plus two blown-glass lights by Massimo Vignelli hanging over the kitchen’s center island. “So they’re pretty well-known, pretty expensive,” said listing broker David Margolies.
That’s up Ms. Mercier’s alley. The former Madonna makeup artist—she also gives “a big ‘thank you’” to Angelina Jolie and Sarah Jessica Parker on her Web site—sells her cosmetics in 400 stores and 21 countries. Her 0.6-ounce Multi-Vitamin Serum goes for $65.
The 10-year-old Laura Mercier company was sold to the door-to-door company Alticor this July, reportedly for over $100 million. She closed on the Chelsea loft a few months later, on Halloween.
“The building has good karma, the apartment has good karma, and we’ll miss it,” said Mr. Polsky.
According to city records, this September he bought a $5.397 million loft on Hudson Street. The floors there are white oak.
Cantor Flips at Old Navarro
Back in the 20th century, 110 Central Park South was known as the hotel Navarro, and Random House founder Bennett Cerf kept an apartment there. But this year, the 81-year-old tower was reborn as a co-op.
Up on the 24th floor, arts philanthropist Iris Cantor—whose late husband, G. Bernard Cantor, co-founded the investment bank Cantor Fitzgerald—is already flipping the floor-wide penthouse she bought for $15,044,644 just this May. Key-Ventures president A. Larry Kaiser IV is listing the eight-room apartment for $18.95 million.
“This is the quintessential apartment,” Mr. Kaiser said, “the most exciting terrace apartment in New York.”
He’s probably right. From four queenly perches, Central Park stretches out like an enormous Frederick Law Olmsted carpet. Even the building’s sixth-floor views merited a breathless essay in The New York Times this summer.
Though some buyers’ attention may be diverted.
“You’re one block from Bergdorf’s,” Mr. Kaiser said. “Let’s face it, substantial older ladies like to be one block from Bergdorf’s and Cipriani’s.”
What kind of substantial buyers has Mr. Kaiser brought to Ms. Cantor’s never-used penthouse?
“Major industrialists,” he said, “and, quite frankly, I’ve shown it to widows and international fashion designers.”
Maybe those designers will decorate the place, because it’s still stark naked.
“You know, I think it sells itself. It’s spectacular!” said Mr. Kaiser. “And to dress it up—I think, in a way, that’s a California mentality.”
No offense to California, though. According to Mr. Kaiser, Ms. Cantor keeps a home in Bel-Air (and, reportedly, a Park Avenue apartment, too).