Robert Thorne, the entertainment lawyer who crafted the dainty child actresses Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen into a billion-dollar behemoth, happens to have a way with Manhattan real estate.
According to city records, he’s paid $2.05 million and $1.975 million for two high-floor apartments in the new and very glassy Centria condo on West 48th Street.
Both sprawls are available to rent—for merely just a smidge over $10,000 a month—or available to buy for a tad over $2.5 million through Stribling vice president Charlotte Van Doren. “Realty investment is not my principal occupation, but it’s been very lucrative,” Mr. Thorne told The Observer from California.
When did he start? “Four or five years ago I invested—working with Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen at the time. You know the Olsen twins?” Indeed! “They had a broker who found them a penthouse unit in the just-being-finished Morton Square.”
Of course, as the C.E.O. of their Dualstar firm, it was only natural that he buy a sprawling townhouse in that building, plus an apartment below the ladies’ penthouse. He reportedly paid $5.48 million for both.
He said they’ve since tripled in value—but, probably more lucratively, the twins bought him out of Dualstar two years ago. “They are a property now,” he has said about the Olsens, “aside from being people with a heartbeat.”
Speaking of which, Morton’s developer is J.D. Carlisle—who developed the Centria, too. “I was interested and got in there early,” he said, “and got two high-floor units, two bedrooms each … good pick of the litter.”
And there are entertainment-industry perks as well: In one apartment, Mr. Thorne said, “you can sit in the living room and look right out the picture window and watch the outdoor performances of the Today show” in Rockefeller Center.
Because it’s so profitable to rent out his Manhattan property, Mr. Thorne stays in a meatpacking-district hotel (“really cool vibe”) on the few days he spends in New York each year. And outside of New York, he happens to own in Beverly Hills, Las Vegas, Atlanta and, best of all, Catalina Island off California, where he has two buoys for boat-mooring.
“These buoys are $3 to $4 million each,” he said. “I bought them for a few hundred thousand.”
Putting buoys and real estate aside, who is he representing in this post-Olsen era? “I don’t really represent people, I build businesses,” he said. Those businesses include the pop starlet Hilary Duff, plus the monumentally cooler producer Quincy Jones.
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