The world of expensive Manhattan real estate is an outstandingly weird one. When proper Upper East Side brokers don’t get an exclusive listing they were hoping for, sometimes they’ll complain to you: “She’s a bitch with fake blond hair, one kidney and a bad nose job.” On Sept. 29 alone, city records showed that a man named Stuyvesant P. Comfort bought a $5.9 million apartment on Park Avenue, and Mr. Lloyd Plenty paid $4 million on East 86th Street.
Things get odder. In April, Curbed.com wondered why a $4.5 million unit at the beautiful new 40 Mercer Street condo, whose Pritzker Prize–winning architect, Jean Nouvel, sprinkled reds and blues into its glass, could have resold for only $135,000. As it turns out, it didn’t. The six-digit deed was for a separate cabana there, a source in the building told The Observer.
Half a year later, that $4.5 million unit was actually just sold off, according to another deed, for only $4,220,000—still a relatively sad sum, especially considering that the condo’s asking price was once as high as $7.25 million. The buyer is a limited liability corporation that seems to be connected to Tamares Real Estate, which, among other things, is a big Las Vegas gaming landlord. Executive Kenneth Landfield, who is listed in the deeds, did not return a call.
Weirdly, the buyer signed a $2 million financing agreement with Pocal Industries in Scranton, Penn., records show. Pocal’s Web site says the company has been “manufacturing high quality, mortar training ammunition since 1981.” A call to the firm was not returned.
But oddest of all is how humdrum it’s become to sell an apartment at a loss. What would have seemed like an amusing impossibility a year and a half ago is now pedestrian: No one would really be offended to hear that the apartment was sold for $280,000 less than the $4.5 million its seller paid in 2007. At least it didn’t sell for $135,000! “Well, look, any time you buy during a peak, if you have to sell within the next couple of years, you’re out of luck,” Douglas Elliman’s president and CEO, Dottie Herman, said in August. “That’s life.”