Conan O’Brien has signed a contract for a corner penthouse at the Majestic, according to a source with knowledge of the deal. The Web site of the Stribling brokerage lists Mr. O’Brien’s new place for $9.95 million—but there was no word yet what the everlastingly droll Late Night host paid for the apartment.
According to city records, he already has a place in the building, which you will know as one of the prominent twin-towered Central Park West buildings. This one, an Art Deco beauty opened in 1931, used to be the Majestic Hotel and housed the Explorers Club—as well as mobster Frank Costello, whose apartment reportedly had 17 rooms.
The apartment was listed by Stribling senior vice president Cathy Taub, whose company biography says that she lives in the Majestic. (Manhattan brokers are suave like that.) Her Web site lists the apartment as “contract signed,” and says the place has “three terraces high above Central Park.”
Ms. Taub confirmed that the apartment was in contract, and though she wouldn’t identify the buyer, she did call the place “one of the most spectacular penthouse apartments on Central Park West that have come on the market in the past few years.”
“The rooms are spacious and grand, naturally,” she said. “It’s in one of the top buildings on Central Park West.”
Public records show that Mr. O’Brien and his wife currently have a combined-unit place on the 17th floor of the building. The source who confirmed the deal said the new penthouse is immediately above it, which means the couple could potentially make a duplex to rival Mr. Costello’s gangster paradise.
Ms. Taub, who would not say whether the buyer owned the apartment below, said that the co-op board would have to approve any combining of units in the building.
Mr. O’Brien probably knows about the building’s “period details, unique moldings and high ceilings,” plus the playroom, private gardens and solarium. Comedians love playrooms and period details too.
And the apartment’s floor plan has a nice ring to it: There’s the 22-foot-long “master chamber,” a slender “boudoir,” a 28-foot-long “drawing room” and, of course, twin maids’ rooms.
No word on whether he’ll keep the place after his planned takeover of The Tonight Show in 2009. Though there’s lots of Art Deco in Hollywood, too.
Moore the Merrier
Developer Marc Mancinelli was so keen on the 4,405-square-foot duplex penthouse atop the new condo he built at 304 Spring Street that he decided this September to keep it for himself.
And four of his investment partners—the Tribeca-based architect Peter Moore, the married architects Marianne Hyde and Stas Zakrzewski, plus the actor John Slattery—felt the same way.
In city records, the purchase price for the insiders’ apartments are crossed out and replaced with handwritten zeroes.
Were they gratis? “No, no, no,” said Mr. Mancinelli. “Dude, this is the world. Nobody gets anything for free.” Yet he said the investors got discounts “related to their return on invested capital,” though he wouldn’t identify specific amounts.
“It was a good endorsement that several of our investors actually decided to take occupancy in the building,” Mr. Mancinelli said. But his development partner Mr. Moore won’t be occupying his 3,184-square-foot apartment. “I’m keenly aware that it’s an imperfect project,” Mr. Moore said.
“The bedrooms are small,” he sighed. “In hindsight, the units are more chopped up than we thought. In hindsight, if we had spent more money designing the building, if we had allowed ourselves a larger budget, we would have done a building of really superior quality.”
How do the building’s architects feel? “We had to come up with an economic, yes, inventive way of doing the building,” said Mr. Zakrzewski, who designed the condo with his wife.
It’s not all so bad: The apartments have eight-foot custom-made windows, walnut floors and even cast-iron tubs. The top levels have big Hudson River views, but Mr. Moore says the duplex is “the really phat pad there.”
“It’s got three terraces,” said Mr. Mancinelli. The best outdoor space is the panoramic rooftop; the best inside space is the double-height living room. He said the penthouse is still in the name of the development group.
The other investors’ apartments have sales deeds with crossed-out prices: Mr. Slattery, who appeared in Sex and the City and Flags of Our Fathers, has the $2 million apartment on the third floor. And Mr. Moore owns a $3.3 million place on the sixth floor.
As reported by the Web site Gothamist, Mr. Zakrzewski and Ms. Hyde have taken the fifth-floor apartment. They’ve also temporarily moved their eponymous architecture firm into a first-floor commercial vacancy. (That means a short walk to work.)
City records list the couple’s two spaces at $3,909,647. As in the other cases, it isn’t clear how deep their investor “discounts” were.
“You come to a deal like that, it’s because of a relationship,” Ms. Hyde said about the circle of investors, who knew each other beforehand. “It’s not an open call.” Do other real-estate entrepreneurs enlist apartment-hungry pals to put up money for buildings?
“It’s a little unorthodox,” Mr. Moore said. “If you’re going to do a project of some merit, you’re probably better off raising capital from sympathetic friends than large hedge funds.”
But sometimes even sympathetic backers aren’t enough to make a building perfect. “For me, I prefer kind of old-bones older buildings,” said Mr. Moore, who has made conversions of loft buildings in Tribeca his trademark in the past. “Its very hard for new construction—very difficult to give it that same patina.”
Marburys Hold Court in $1.375 M. Hudson Condo
The Knicks’ star point guard, Stephon Marbury, has long been accused of on-court egoism, but in the real-estate world he has at least $1,374,637.50 of familial generosity in him.
According to city deeds, Mr. Marbury paid that sum for a 15th-floor apartment at the luxury Hudson Condos on West 60th Street.
The two-bedroom, 1,167-square-foot apartment was bought in the name of the Stephanie Marbury Support Trust, with Marcia Marbury as trustee.
Marcia Marbury, who is the basketball star’s older sister and handler, didn’t return calls to her cell phone.
Who is Stephanie? Ms. Marbury has a twin sister by that name, and the Knick has a daughter named after her. (Cutely, the press sometimes lists the 11-year-old’s name as Stephonie.)
Either way, the new Marbury family condo has some significant amenities. There’s a gym and “private health club,” according to the marketing material, plus a roof deck and “yoga terrace.” And, of course, there’s a children’s playroom.
More adult touches include the floor-to-ceiling windows, plus a curiously universal array of carpentry: “Jerusalem Bone” tiling, Afrormosia wood kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanity, and “Honed Lava Gold” stone kitchen countertops.
The only other thing Mr. Marbury’s family might still want is success for the doleful New York Knickerbockers. The team’s winning percentage was .280 last year, and things this season are barely looking brighter. Might wanna hit that yoga terrace.