Why Is This $17.9 M. Penthouse On the Market? President Obama, for One Thing

A duplex apartment that stretches across two Tribeca buildings, 39 and 41 North Moore Street, just hit the market for $17.9 million. The listing broker, Helen Dreyfuss, says there’s about 3,973 square feet of interior space (that’s 11 rooms, four bedrooms, two wood-burning fireplaces, an office, a media room, and windowed double kitchen), plus 2,321 square feet of epic terraces (“seamless integration from predinner cocktails to dinner to after-dinner drinks and cigars in a finely articulated sequence of individual spaces.”)

The sellers are Joy and Leonard Toboroff, the 74-year-old vice chairman of a Houston-based oil/gas-drilling outfit named Allis-Chalmers Energy. They got the place a few years ago from Tom Freston, the felled MTV and Viacom chief.

Reached through his broker, Mr. Toboroff had this to say when asked why he’d put the place on the market: “We have two kids that are out on their own now–my daughter got married last summer; we’re out of the country about 100 days of the year anyway.” Then he paused. “I don’t know! No real reason. But I think an economic reason can be made that Obama can be elected and he’s pledged to raise capital gains.”

If the capital-gains tax went up, the oil executive would have to pay more on his profits from the duplex penthouse sale–profits that he said would be millions of dollars. So does he want to sell now before Bush leaves the Whtie House? And will other plush-apartment owners follow suit? He wouldn’t say, and wanted to stress that there other reasons to sell. “I’m at an age where I should be retired and living in a sunny place,” he said.

And then when this reporter asked Mr. Toboroff what he thought about the idea that the wealthiest should be taxed on their large profits, he said: “You’re for wealth distribution? Don’t be ashamed! It’s O.K.”

Why Is This $17.9 M. Penthouse On the Market? President Obama, for One Thing