Randy Lerner has had a rough few years. The (barely) billionaire made a cool $1 billion last year when he sold the Cleveland Browns, which he inherited from his father upon his death in 2002, but his own sports investments have been far less lucrative.
In 2006 Mr. Lerner set out across the pond and bought the English Premiere League’s Aston Villa Football Club, which hasn’t exactly been the money-maker that Mr. Lerner’s days as an investment banker were. “What exactly keeps Lerner engaged in Villa becomes more mysterious with every financial bulletin,” wrote The Telegraph in March. “The £17 million loss announced for last season represents an improvement on the £54 million, £38 million and £47 million lost in the previous three years, but it still costs a man once billed as the perfect owner dearly.” (Aston Villa, we also learned from that article, is in hock to the…Icelanders.)
Compared to those losses, the $200,000 haircut he took on the Greenwich Village pad that he just sold doesn’t look so bad.
Mr. Lerner picked up his sixth-floor combination co-op at 15 West 11th Street in October of 2008, closing on the sale just weeks after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. He clearly didn’t see the recession coming, though, as he paid Will & Grace co-creator Max Mutchnick $4.06 million for the apartment—nearly $1.5 million more than Mr. Mutchnick bought it for in 2005.
And after just three weeks on the market, Mr. Lerner has divested himself of his two-bedrooms, 2.5-bath apartment, parting with it for just $3.85 million, according to city records. Mr. Lerner’s loss was buyers Cory and Lisa Rapkin‘s gain.
“The market’s up over 30 percent in the West Village over the last 18 months,” Douglas Elliman broker Darren Sukenik, who was not associated with the transaction, told The Observer. As for the peak of the last market cycle, “we’re well above that—10 to 12 percent above that,” he estimated.
“He was fine with the number he got,” Town Residential’s Erin Michelle Stabb, who brokered the sale on behalf of Mr. Lerner, told The Observer of Mr. Lerner’s sale. “The renovations are very high end,” she said, but the changes made by Mr. Lerner were “minimal,” which somewhat blunts the blow of losing money in a market where inventory is nearly non-existent and buyers are falling over themselves to pick up a slice of Manhattan of their very own.
Still, with all that this apartment has to offer—”triple south/east/north exposures throughout,” fifteen “large windows,” and, as Ms. Stabb pointed out, a good flow, which is not always a given in combinations—we have to wonder if Mr. Lerner couldn’t have at least broken even with a bit more patience.