In October, when a four-bedroom duplex in the tony 830 Park Avenue went into contract, real estate gossips were all atwitter, speculating as to whether it was actress Drew Barrymore and her husband Will Kopelman who had made a deal for the co-op unit. Anonymous sources confirmed those speculations last month, and Barrymore fans everywhere breathed sighs of relief as still further rumors suggested that the actress had made it past the building’s co-op board. (Even traditionally stuffy co-ops have become more relaxed in recent years, but we bet Ms. Barrymore would have fared well even in stricter times. She always makes such a nice impression!) And now, if in fact all of the aforementioned rumors were true, Ms. Barrymore and Mr. Kopelman have closed on the apartment, most recently asking $8.3 million, according to the Sotheby’s website; Roger Erickson had the listing. Read More
By Chris Pomorski 1/31 5:53pm
When we spoke earlier this month with Corcoran’s Vicki Negron about the recent sale for $7.5 million of a kingly assemblage at 164 South Oxford Street in Fort Greene—a deal on which she acted as the seller’s broker—she expressed hope that the buyer would not badly violate the neighborhood’s pseudo-countrified character. “The new owner Read More
A mysterious buyer, hiding—as mysterious buyers will do—behind the camouflage on an LLC, is scooping up property in the Century Condominium building, at 25 Central Park West, The Observer has learned. A three bedroom condo on the 27th floor has just sold for $8.575 million, according to Stephen P. Wald’s Laura Gruber, who had the listing. The very same buyer, she said, closed recently on a floor-through two stories up, in a $14 million deal. The 27th-floor combo was last available 24 years ago, when Ms. Gruber sold the apartment to a man who has lately decided he’s held on to the property long enough.
Just when we were starting to think that every Walker Tower unit might be claimed by a movie star, music mogul or finance titan cloaked in a bland-sounding LLC—the developers go and sell an eighth-floor unit to a pair whose names have a good deal more cachet in philanthropy and social advocacy circles than in the Hollywood Hills or on Wall Street. (Though they’re no strangers to such tony precincts.) Former NAACP president Bruce Gordon and his wife, Tawana Tibbs, have just bought a three-bedroom unit at 212 West 18th Street for $7.17 million, according to city records. Read More
The Wages of Regret: How Do We Remember Painful Portions of History in the Context of a Modern City?
By Chris Pomorski 1/29 1:11pm
In 1991, when construction crews digging at the corner of Broadway and Reade Street came upon a colonial-era cemetery known as “Negros Burial Ground,” much was made of the find’s archaeological significance. Familiar to historians, the site entombed slaves and free blacks, as well as American Revolutionary War Prisoners. But scholars hadn’t, up until then, had any notion of how much of the burial ground remained.
“The mind-boggling thing about this site is that so many research areas have been opened,” Michael Parrington, a New Jersey-based archaeologist, told the New York Times. The paper’s report, however, had little to say on the subject of memorial. There were murmurs about removal of remains to the Trinity churchyard, in Harlem, and discussion of a permanent exhibit to occupy the lobby of the building—a 974,000-square-foot, $276 million federal office tower—that had been planned for the site, but little else. Read More
Slated for occupancy in the second half of 2014, Alchemy Properties’ 35XV building, at 35 West 15th Street, has neither attempted nor commanded the astronomical prices of the most rarefied units at nearby Walker Tower. But this week, as Walker Tower’s Penthouse 1 closed for a record-setting $50.9 million, The Observer learned that Alchemy had ratcheted up their high-end price point, entering contract on an unlisted 18th-floor combination for $16.95 million. That figure—all but certain to represent the building’s priciest deal—does not, of course, catapult Alchemy quite into Walker Tower territory, but it does make the apartment in question comparable to the more expensive building’s higher-end, mid-priced units. (35XV’s smaller properties are likewise largely comparable in price to the more earthly contracts at Walker Tower.) Read More
A year ago, when Donald Brennan first brought to market the three townhouses he planned to construct on Strong Place in Cobble Hill, he ran into difficulties. “The purpose of the marketing was to see if I could pre-sell just one of the three houses,” he recently told The Observer. “I had no intention of getting all three into contract. I brought them to market in order to mitigate some of the risk associated with the development.” Read More
We read a lot in real estate news about records and benchmarks set by Manhattan’s most spacious and expensive properties, a trend for which we are willing to take partial credit—or blame. And amid talk of $100 million apartments, it is easy to forget that the little guys can leave a mark, too. Lately, a studio apartment at 75 Wall Street has done just that, fetching $790,000 for just 445 square feet—or $1,775 a square foot—a figure that nearly doubled the average square-footage price for a FiDi studio in 2013′s fourth quarter, according to Miller Samuel’s data. Read More
Over the years, record executive Todd Moscowitz has held a number of bold-faced titles at some of the music industry’s largest companies. He has been head of Russell Simmons’ Rush Communications, served as general manager of Def Jam Records and as CEO of Warner Brother Records. In a 1998 New York Times article chronicling New Year’s revelry on the island of St. Bart’s, Mr. Moscowitz, then 28, appears beside personalities including Mr. Simmons, Olivier Picasso, Anna Wintour and a young man known at the time as Sean “Puffy” Combs. But more recently, he has focused his attentions—together with fellow Def Jam and Warner alum Lyor Cohen—on a label dubbed 300, after the film of the same title and oriented, like the movie’s badly-outnumbered Spartans, toward doing more with less. That impulse can be detected, too, in Mr. Moscowitz’s latest real estate transaction, which, The Observer has learned, involves the acquisition of a three-bedroom condo at 345 West 13th Street, for the price of $4.56 million. Read More
By Chris Pomorski 1/23 12:30pm
In the nomenclature of American popular culture, the subdivision often acts as a kind of emblem of soullessness—a synecdoche for the vapid, homogenous worst of postwar middle-class life. The term conjures images of cheaply made houses that have been designed to appear expensive, with fat colonnades and grand chandeliers suspended in windows over entryways.
Here, Read More