Robert F. Fairchild used to stare jealously out the window of his combined-unit apartment in the Museum Tower. He saw butler service.
“I used to get up in the morning and look up across the street and watch some maid make someone breakfast,” he said. “And I thought I would change my perspective.”
So Mr. Fairchild, a Burgundy connoisseur, paid $2.95 million for a high-floor apartment a few blocks over. His new West 56th Street condo has floor-to-ceiling windows, with views of southern Central Park from the living room. His bedroom and bath look out on the river.
And it seems there’s maid service, too. When renovation is done, he can gawk at the suckers who have to make their own eggs Benedict.
Mr. Fairchild owns the 146-year-old Burgundy-makers Maison Prosper Maufoux, as well as New York’s 72-year-old House of Burgundy importers. Does he have a nice wine shop near his new apartment?
“Yeah—I haven’t really shopped in the stores,” he said.
But he still likes the restaurants. “It’s a lovely neighborhood,” he said. “I’ve been living in it for 20 years.”
Mr. Fairchild’s father is the late Edgar W.B. Fairchild, a chairman of the family’s eponymous publishing group.
His new 1,477-square-foot place was listed at $3.395 million, which means that he got a nice $445,000 discount.
That means he can buy more Burgundy.
Jemal Buys $3.25 M. Empty Nest
Three days into his trial for bribery and conspiracy, big-time Washington, D.C., developer Norman Jemal closed on a six and-a-half-room apartment at Trump Palace.
He paid $3.25 million, which works out to about 9,285,714 cigarettes.
But his acquittal last Friday means that he won’t need them to guarantee his safety; and in the comfy 1,985-square-foot apartment that he bought while fending off the feds, the toilet is in its own room.
There are other amenities! Views of Central Park, the Chrysler Building, the East River and the Queensboro Bridge, for starters.
So will he move there?
“It’s for my parents,” said Mr. Jemal, when reached at his office after his acquittal. “And there you have it. Whatever makes them happy makes me happy.”
His dad, Douglas Jemal, stood trial with him for allegedly bribing a city official to get millions of dollars in government leases.
Late last week, they were acquitted of the hefty charges—but unlike his son, Douglas Jemal was convicted of wire fraud. (It was a lesser count, and according to published reports, he is unlikely to do much time for it.)
The mogul founded Douglas Development in 1985, which rose to prominence through lucrative revitalization efforts in D.C. neighborhoods like Chinatown; his son serves as the company’s vice president.
On the deed, Norman Jemal’s address is listed at 923 Fifth Avenue. So why did he choose Trump Palace for his folks?
“I think there are nicer buildings,” he said. “It’s certainly a very known commodity. And it does have a lot of amenities near it. But I don’t think the ceiling heights are spectacular or the building is outrageous. But it is a nice building.”
Though the original listing described the apartment as being in “perfect original condition,” broker Penny Toepfer said that the buyer was planning to redo the place.
For the time being, the bathrooms have cream-colored marble. Also, “the building was built in 1992, so the kitchen is all-white,” Ms. Toepfer said. “The early 90’s was a time for white kitchens.”
We were all so innocent back then.
Mr. Jemal must have liked what he saw, because he signed a contract within 48 hours. (That was back at the end of June, when the family was preparing for trial.)
The sellers are four investors who had rented out the place, and now that group has bought another apartment in Trump Palace. “Most people don’t leave this building,” Ms. Toepfer said.
It’s true. Mr. Jemal said his parents had already been living there: “The unit they were renting in got sold, and I ended up buying a unit. They didn’t want to bounce around.”
Silk Building Gets Taki
The Silk Building on East Fourth Street has been a harbor for superstars young and old (Keith Richards, Britney Spears), but it never had a young member of a four-centuries-old Japanese fashion dynasty living in it—until now.
Adam Taki bought a 1,831-square-foot duplex there for $2.1 million. Mr. Taki’s family founded the textile and retail group Takihyo back in 1751, and more recently they owned the Anne Klein label (from 1973 to 1999). Adam’s father, Tomio Taki, was an original investor in Donna Karan.
“It’s pretty gorgeous,” said listing broker Frances Katzen about the duplex. “The building is interesting, because the whole layout has a prewar-bones vibe. And they’ve got real wood-burning fireplaces! Not gas.”
Are there any other vibes?
“There’s a high-end, sophisticated vibe,” she said rather improvisationally. “We sold it to a young boy, but he has a mature and gentlemanly quality. He got it. You’re just looking for one person who gets it.”
Indeed, Mr. Taki made an offer the day after he saw it. Earlier visitors had given Ms. Katzen a hard time over the eastern exposures: “Someone asked, ‘We’re facing south, right?’ And I said, ‘No, east.’ And she said, ‘Oh! I can’t do it.’”
On the deed, the buyer is listed as a trustee named Grabel. “That’s my father—my father’s an attorney,” explained Mr. Taki’s broker, Brett Grabel.
Mr. Taki didn’t immediately return an e-mail asking for comment, but the young Mr. Grabel explained his client’s interest in the apartment: “This had width. You really felt the size when you walked in.”
The size vibe!
And there’s a Jacuzzi, plus 21-foot ceilings at the duplex’s deepest point.
Best of all is the secret Silk Building exit for “high-profile clients.” According to Ms. Katzen, the bottom floor of the duplex gets you there: “You walk out, take a left, and take an elevator that gets you out on a side street.”
Mr. Taki’s seller is Jerrold Klein—who, according to public records, owns a party-favor store. If you’re keeping score, that’s less glamorous than a 255-year-old fashion company.
Yet Ms. Katzen said his apartment had beautiful art, including work by ur-architect Mies van der Rohe.