The glitzy South African gambling and resort magnate Sol Kerzner, who founded Sun City, is a weirdly generous father. Last year he was reported to be spending $10.5 million on the 5,845-square-foot penthouse at Philip Johnson’s Urban Glass House for his daughter Beverley.
But according to records filed with the city this week, Ms. Kerzner has quickly upgraded. A holding company in the heiress’ name paid $8.35 million for a colossal basketball court-turned-triplex at 213 West 23rd Street.
The 7,000-square-foot, five-bedroom, three-tier condo wonderland was designed by the sellers, Gina Alvarez and Stefan Boublil. “We got rounded up by a group of investors to basically invest in the space,” said Mr. Boublil, whose seven-year-old design firm, called the Apartment, is now building an ecologically sound town in Ukraine, “and when we saw the basketball court we kind of fell in love.”
In December 2005, according to city records, they paid $3.3 million for the space at the old McBurney YMCA. They spent around $3 million more on renovations, designing wallpaper and furniture, building a giant 30-foot wood-strip wall, and putting in two home theaters and a concrete garden (“with fake sunlight so the plants could grow at night.”)
They even hung a 14-foot Swarovski chandelier from the 30-foot ceiling for their preconstruction party. “We said, ‘You see this place like now? It looks like war-torn Beirut. Come back in one year.’” But the massive industrial tresses, running across the triplex, are still exposed. “The person who bought the apartment on the same floor, he boxed in the tresses. It’s ridiculous!”
But what will Sol’s daughter do? Lauren Snyder, who runs global communications for Kerzner International, would not say. And listing broker Leonard Steinberg, who reportedly represented the family on the Glass House penthouse purchase, refused to comment, too.
“Actually the buyer, as far as we know, is redoing the whole thing,” Mr. Boublil said. “I hear she’s keeping the kitchen and the bathrooms and redoing everything else. I kind of let it go emotionally; when we decided not to live there about a year ago, we let it go.”
Bizarrely, the couple spent just one night in the triplex: Instead they live in a Crosby Street loft, down the block from the Apartment office. Will they miss the YMCA triplex? “We actually took everything out,” Mr. Boublil said, “every TV, every speaker, every piece of furniture.”