Inside New York’s Biggest Co-op Deal!

Even though Tom Wolfe didn’t include 1060 Fifth Avenue in his canonical 1985 list of the most high-heeled, high-nosed, high-fenced Manhattan buildings, it’s the kind of co-op where the very proper, philanthropic financiers who are allowed to buy the most massively expensive apartments are, by silent decree, supposed to stay for at least a few presidential administrations.

“We certainly would not look favorably if we thought someone was coming in with the notion of turning around and leaving quickly,” an owner at 1060 Fifth, built by J.E.R. Carpenter in 1928, said this week. George Soros stayed in the building after his divorce (his ex-wife got $24 million for the apartment). Others have been there for over 30 years. “But if it happens for reasons that you don’t foresee, it is what it is. What are you going to do, tell them you can’t sell? You can’t do that. I don’t think any building does that.”

On Aug. 28, The Observer’s Web site broke the news that Scott Bommer, a Harvard-trained hedge fund executive, and his wife, Donya, who left Good Day Philadelphia when they married, have sold their duplex penthouse at 1060 Fifth for $48.9 million.

The couple bought the apartment on Jan. 23, seven months and five days earlier, for just $46 million. Despite the fact that no major renovation permits were filed with the city’s Department of Buildings since then, which means they didn’t do any significant work, and setting aside taxes or other petty costs, that’s a difference of $2,900,000.

It’s the kind of co-op that will need years of overhaul, which is imperfect for a couple like the Bommers, who have a new baby.

“You fall in love with an apartment,” a source close to Mr. Bommer said. “But be careful what you wish for, because it’s going to be a lot of work!” When the couple bought the co-op from a writer named Georgia Shreve, her 13th-floor space and her unrenovated penthouse unit upstairs had sat uncombined for years.

Ms. Shreve’s plans to turn the co-ops into a connected duplex (designing in the style of the 18th-century Scottish Neo-Classicist Robert Adam, naturally) had been turned down, she said then.

Despite the needed renovations, this $48.9 million deal means that the sprawl will once again be the most expensive co-op in New York city, just trumping the $48 million that Jonathan Tisch is said to be paying for a spread at 2 East 67th Street. That upcoming sale would have beaten the Bommers’ $46 million price from January.

But will the $48.9 million buyers, as yet unknown, flip, too? “Let me just say that we think that the people who bought the apartment are appropriate for their apartment and for the project, and that’s really all I can say,” a board member at 1060 Fifth said.

The couple wouldn’t comment for this story, and Ms. Shreve didn’t return calls to her apartment. But Ms. Shreve’s ex-husband, a massively respected investor named Glenn Greenberg, was willing to share memories of the spread, even though he hadn’t been back since his divorce, when his ex-wife got the co-op. “A lot of dentil molding and very intricate work in a lot of rooms—it was tasteful, but it was not in everybody’s taste,” he said.

Did it bother him when Ms. Shreve sold the place for a record price? “When my ex-wife got the apartment, I got most of the stocks,” he said. “It’s not like I’m here eating fish bones.”

Later, he offered that he’s happy for everyone involved, including the Bommers, who didn’t have to lose money when they decided the place wasn’t quite right—a decision, he thinks, that shouldn’t be seen as too big of a deal. “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, is what I’m saying. Sometimes it’s no more complicated than somebody changes their mind and the opportunity presents itself. And they go live in something that suits them better.”

Inside New York’s Biggest Co-op Deal!