As chief of executive officer of Grameen America, a micro-lender founded by Nobel Peace Price winner Muhammad Yunus, and a partner at prepaid debit card company NetSpend, Stephen Vogel knows a thing or two about the “unbanked”—the 60 million Americans without bank accounts. Thankfully, Mr. Vogel and his wife, Laurie, are not among them: the couple dropped $6.6 million on a unit at the Beresford at 211 Central Park West, according to city records.
The eighth floor unit, which the Vogels bought from Donald and Leila McCollum, was poised to enter the sparsely-populated ranks of New York City co-ops to be foreclosed on, according to The Real Deal. Fortunately, the couple’s attorney finally convinced lender JPMorgan Chase to let them save face by selling it themselves and paying back the $1 million lien.
“They gave us some time to conclude the deal,” broker Chandru Ramnani of RSNY told The Real Deal, but “the way [the bank] was dealing with this was totally out of line.”
The Classic Seven sold significantly under the asking price—at one point the sellers wanted $7.85 million. The discount may have had something to do with the pressure that JPMorgan Chase was likely exerting on Mr. and Ms. McCollum. Or it could have to do with the fact that the apartment is, according to Mr. Ramnani’s listing description, in its “original condition,” dating back to the Beresford’s erection in 1929, when pink crown moldings and double maid’s rooms were considered the cat’s pajamas.
Ms. McCollum, née Benitez, was once a television star in the Philippines, where she met her husband. Mr. McCollum, for his part, was “a US Army photographer,” reported the Philippine Daily Inquirer, “who was with Gen. Douglas MacArthur and Carlos P. Romulo during the Leyte landing at the end of World War II.”
“I miss Manila,” Ms. McCollum told the Inquirer. “But when I get homesick, I go to Queens where you can get all the Filipino food you want. Even kalamansi or sitaw!”
We just hope that Ms. McCollum won’t be homesick for the Beresford. The luxury co-op lifestyle might be harder to replicate outside of the Upper West Side’s hallowed halls.