In 1996, when Dana Lowey, then a producer at The Geraldo Rivera Show, married David Luttway, a French investment banker, the pair gave no indication that they would become a property-flipping power duo, collecting big profits with luxurious Manhattan townhouse overhauls. Ms. Luttway, after all, was—and remains—the daughter of Bronx-born Democratic Representative Nita Lowey, and the two wed in Queens. (Of all places!) But the couple’s latest sale, of a 9,000 square-footer at 47 West 70th Street for $19.27 million, is just one in a series of multimillion-dollar deals over the last several years.
As far as we can tell, it all started back in 2007. That winter, the Observer reported on the Luttways’ $4.95 million sale of an East 86th Street co-op to the novelist Molly Jong-Fast—daughter of Fear of Flying writer Erica Jong. Though certainly nothing to sneeze at, that price was more than $1.5 million shy of the initial asking price, and the discount seems to have lit a fire under the couple. City records suggest that when Ms. Jong-Fast bought their old place, Mr. and Ms. Luttway were renting on West 88th Street. But within a month of the deal, they’d picked up a $4 million townhouse just down the road, at 53 West 88th, which they would renovate over a period of four years, updating the 1890s home with gas fireplaces, a chef’s kitchen, elevator, gym, excavated wine cellar and a slew of other amenities. It’s no wonder that they managed to sell it in 2013 for $14.39 million. By then, however, they’d already acquired the brownstone on West 70th, for $8 million.
At the time they bought it, the home was subdivided into 10 rental units. Its listing declared, though, that it could be transformed into “a magnificent single-family residence.” That proved no exaggeration. Located a short walk from Lincoln Center, the house is all but sure to exceed even the most demanding aesthetic standards. Twenty feet wide, with seven stories to its name, it contains seven bedrooms and seven full baths, plus more than 1,000 square feet of exterior breathing room and five separate levels of outdoor space. There is a penthouse addition with north and south facing roof decks, and elevators for both people and comestibles. (The latter, for you plebes, is known as a dumbwaiter; and the opulence of the property is such that one does not have difficulty imagining that it might actually see some use.) Like the Luttways’ first townhouse project, this one called for an excavated wine cellar and the listing was also held by Mike Sieger at Fenwick Keats.
It looks to us like the Luttways are renting again these days—a four-bedroom this time at Extell’s ritzy Belnord at 225 West 86th Street, a steal at $18,500 a month. Of course, they’ve cleared nearly $22 million in closings in the last half year, so we doubt very much that they’re sweating it. And with recent history as our guide, we’d venture to say they might be preparing once more for a townhouse takeover. At any rate, we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for contracts on brownstones in the $10 million range in need of some tender love and care. Bring your architect? We suspect this couple keeps theirs on speed dial.