Billionaire J. Christopher Flowers has put the East 73rd Street mansion he bought just three months ago on the market, with a $6 million markup.
He was halfway through renovating the 87-year-old mansion at 12 East 73rd Street when he listed the building with broker Sami Hassoumi, a managing director of Brown Harris Stevens, for $23 million.
It’s actually been a long time since Mr. Flowers first decided to buy the house. According to city records, he signed his contract to buy the place from Dominion Management all the way back in January 2004.
The buyer and the development firm were reportedly tied up in litigation, which delayed the closing.
The 21-room, 11,200-square-foot limestone mansion, around the corner from Central Park, is “the diamond in the rough that everyone has been waiting for,” according to the listing at Brown Harris Stevens.
“You look at the façade,” Mr. Hassoumi told The Observer, “and it’s drop-dead gorgeous.”
The locale is thoroughbred, too.
“The real issue is the availability of imposing mansions in the East 70’s off Fifth Avenue, which everyone feels is the most desirable area,” Mr. Hassoumi said.
Why? “The 60’s are busy,” said Mr. Hassoumi. “The 80’s are a bit high.” Mr. Flowers, a former partner at Goldman Sachs, must be enormously fond of the location. According to deeds and published reports, last year he paid a citywide-record $53 million for the monolithic Harkness Mansion on East 75th Street, and $19 million for a duplex four blocks north.
But neither place has a parlor-floor drawing room with three sets of floor-to-ceiling French windows.
“Unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” Mr. Hassoumi pronounced the room, which overlooks 73rd Street. But the mansion needs work. According to the broker, it is “halfway renovated—it’s six months to a year to finish the house properly.”
It’s been much longer since a family lived there. The prep school Lycée Français de New York owned the house from 1994 to 2001, selling it for $6.8 million to artsy developer Aby Rosen. Two years later, Mr. Rosen flipped to Dominion for $9 million.
Whoever finally buys the house will have a leafy estate: There’s a 30-foot spread in the back, plus a roof garden with views of Central Park.
Is it landscaped?
“No, not yet,” Mr. Hassoumi said. “I mean, the house has to be finished.” But Mr. Flowers may obtain his asking price anyway.
“He’ll probably get it,” said Warburg senior managing director Richard Steinberg. “Because everything he touches turns to gold.”
Luca Luca Guy Drops $3.345 M. in Gramercy
Forty-two-year-old Luca Orla ndi, the celebrity-friendly founder of Luca Luca, will have a nice new nest to feather now that his fall line has finished exhibiting at Fashion Week.
According to city records, the designer has bought a duplex penthouse co-op at the Gramercy House at 22nd Street and Second Avenue for $3.345 million.
Listing broker Kathy Sloane, a managing director of Brown Harris Stevens, wouldn’t talk about the deal, but she said the buyer was a good fit.
“Design is what he does, so he’s going to take his own remarkable sense of style—Italian sense of style—and make this one of the most glamorous apartments in New York,” Ms. Sloane said. “It’s a shimmering jewel box at night because of all the landmark spires,” she added.
It was probably time for a move. The Milan-born Mr. Orlandi, who founded the Luca Luca line with a Madison Avenue boutique in 1992, appears from city records to have been living at the decidedly bachelorish and uptownish skyscraper Cityspire condo on West 56th Street.
But things are changing for the designer, who pledges to make “prestigious couture fabrics in ready-to-wear clothing for the Grace Kellys of today.”
In August 2005, Mr. Orlandi married the Nigerian-born supermodel Oluchi Onweagba; recently, his firm moved its offices from above the store to an office building closer to Bryant Park.
The heart of the new apartment is the 450-square-foot living room with 20-foot ceilings on its first floor; bedrooms open up from either side. On that level, a 1,000-square-foot terrace has a wild rose garden, plus views up and down Manhattan.
The master bedroom upstairs has a grand balcony overlooking the vast living room, plus an outdoor terrace facing west. “It’s tiny, though,” Ms. Sloane said.
But there’s also a stand-alone artist’s studio upstairs on the east side of the apartment.
Will Mr. Orlandi think up new evening gowns and sinewy jackets there? His famous fans, like Kanye West and Paris Hilton, must wait and see.
According to the sales deed, the sellers are Wendy Schrijver and her husband Robert, a veteran food advertiser.
It isn’t clear from realtor databases when the apartment was first listed, but it had been on and off the market for at least four years.
TV Cop D’Onofrio Sells for $2.6 M.
The 47-year-old actor Vincent D’Onofrio, perhaps most famous for his portrayal of the eccentric Detective Robert Goren on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, has sold his East Village apartment for $2.6 million.
The apartment, a condo in the imposing Christadora House on the east side of Tompkins Square Park, was actually two adjacent apartments.
According to the listing posted on the CitiHabitats Web site by agent Danny Davis, Mr. D’Onofrio and his wife, Carin van der Donk-D’Onofrio, never knocked down the wall between the neighboring units.
According to the broker, though, it would be wise to merge the apartments. “The combination will have three exposures,” said Mr. Davis, “with 50 feet of frontage on the park.”
Together, the two apartments—which the couple bought together in December 1998—would have three bedrooms.
There are also lots of 79-year-old furnishings, like cast-iron tubs and subway tiling. And the 684-square-foot living/dining room is quite Hollywood-ish.
“The perfect spot for elegant dinner parties overlooking the park,” Mr. Davis said. “On the fifth floor, you’re right above the tree line, so it’s gorgeous.”
“It just had a warm, welcoming environment,” Mr. Davis said. “Very laid-back atmosphere.”
And while plenty of brokers in the East Village would relish the opportunity to market the apartment as a Somebody-Slept-Here property, Mr. Davis said he restrained himself.
“Absolutely nobody knew who the owner was,” he said. “It was no one’s business! It was more about the apartment and the cachet of the building.”
Hollywood, Ho! Sherwoods Sell for $2.45 M.
Imagine Films co-chairwoman Karen Kehela Sherwood and her novelist/newsman husband, Ben Sherwood, have sold their 11th-floor loft at 684 Broadway for $2.45 million.
“My wife and I share wonderful memories of that apartment,” Mr. Sherwood wrote in an e-mail to The Observer. “Our son took his first steps in that kitchen. We hope to return to the city someday and find as magical a home.”
For now, the couple is living in Los Angeles, where½½½ Ms. Kehela Sherwood produces films like last year’s Spike Lee hit Inside Man and 2001’s A Beautiful Mind (made by Imagine founders Ron Howard and Brian Glazer).
Their old apartment, at Broadway and Great Jones Street, has two bedrooms with southward city views, plus a study looking north. According to the floor plan, that room has a Murphy bed and 10½-foot ceilings.
The Stribling listing promises that the loft has been “meticulously renovated.” It’s not clear what work was done, but the master suite has a “seamless glass shower,” his-and-her sinks, and a 10-by-5-foot dressing room.
That giant closet is one of the only spaces in the apartment without a window: There are 18 in the loft—including oversized windows, with restored wood, in the living room.
Last year, The Observer reported that Mr. Sherwood would be leaving ABC’s Good Morning America, where he had been an executive producer since the spring of 2004, and going to California for personal reasons.
According to his blog, he’s working on a “nonfiction book about survivors” (like John McCain, not like reality-TV-show winner Richard Hatch.)