Russia's Gambling Man Belotserkovsky Loses Bet on Plaza

plaza 13 bed2 Russia's Gambling Man Belotserkovsky Loses Bet on PlazaAs Mikhail Prokhorov and a cadre of globetrotting countrymen continue to expand their presence in the city, one of their comrades is shedding some of his, and at a considerable loss. In the summer of 2007, Boris Belotserkovsky, the boss of Russia’s one-armed bandits, bought a sizable one-bedroom on the 13th floor of the recently converted Plaza for $5.1 million. Now, the 1,100-square-foot jewelbox on the north side of the luxurious landmark has just sold for $4.43 million.

While well below what Mr. Belotserkovsky paid for the condo, the price still reflects a premium for the Plaza, as the unit cost $3,693 per square foot, and StreetEasy shows it as one of the most expensive spaces in its class in the neighborhood. Yet the Plaza, long-plagued by construction delays, contract disputes and plenty of snickering, is still finding its footing. There have been 22 resales in the past two years, according to StreetEasy, and all have sold at a discount from their asking prices, many in the double-digit range, some as high as one-third off. (This does not necessarily mean people lost money on the deals, however, as Mr. Belotserkovsky did.)

SLIDESHOW: A Casino at the Plaza, So To Speak. >>

“It sounds crazy at $3,700 a square foot, but this is the Plaza,” James Cox Jr. of brokerage Earth 316 told The Observer. “Obviously, everybody knows the history. It’s appealing to people outside the city who know the building. They see it as a valuable addition to their portfolio.”

And yet, it went to local buyers, Alfred and Stephanie Shuman, who happen to own a three-bedroom two doors down. Mr. Shuman has been banking for almost 50 years, first with Bear Stearns, then as head of Archstone Portfolios, a fund of funds—”‘Ten best and forget the rest,’ was the message Shuman exuded,” writes the New York Social Diary. The couple are regulars on the city’s social circuit, and a party they held in the Hamptons in 1998, at which they celebrated their 15th anniversary by burning their prenuptial agreement, was once featured in this very paper’s Transom. The Observer is thrilled to hear the Shumans are but two years away from their 30th anniversary. A hearty mazel tov on that feat, as well as the second apartment.

The three-bedroom was bought in 2007, when the Plaza was just taking off, for $10.98 million. Just last year, the Shumans sold their penthouse at 1088 Park Avenue for $4.8 million, more than enough to cover their latest acquisition. It also turns out the one-bedroom in between their two condos was on the market in 2009 for $2.425 million, in part because it is two-thirds the size of Mr. Belotserkovsky’s space. Still, how long before the Shumans have cobbled together an Eloise-worthy five-bedroom?

Even if that is not the plan, Mr. Cox said the couple has picked up a gem. “There are no other one-bedrooms like it on the market,” he said. “There is one two floors up, but it has obstructed views. You have to go right up to the window to see the Park. This is the one.”

SLIDESHOW: A Casino at the Plaza, So To Speak. >>

Read past Manhattan Transfers. >>

mchaban [at] | @mc_nyo

Article continues below
More from Politics
STAR OF DAVID OR 'PLAIN STAR'?   If you thought "CP Time" was impolitic, on July 2 Donald Trump posted a picture on Twitter of a Star of David on top of a pile of cash next to Hillary Clinton's face. You'd think after the aforementioned crime stats incident (or after engaging a user called "@WhiteGenocideTM," or blasting out a quote from Benito Mussolini, or...) Trump would have learned to wait a full 15 seconds before hitting the "Tweet" button. But not only was the gaffe itself bad, the attempts at damage control made the BP oil spill response look a virtuoso performance.  About two hours after the image went up on Trump's account, somebody took it down and replaced it with a similar picture that swapped the hexagram with a circle (bearing the same legend "Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!"!). Believe it or not, it actually got worse from there. As reports arose that the first image had originated on a white supremacist message board, Trump insisted that the shape was a "sheriff's star," or "plain star," not a Star of David. And he continued to sulk about the coverage online and in public for days afterward, even when the media was clearly ready to move on. This refusal to just let some bad press go would haunt him later on.
Donald Trump More Or Less Says He’ll Keep On Tweeting as President