Let's Not Make a Deal
Who knew that locating a buyer for a $16 million loft conversion in Chelsea would be as hard as finding the Ark of the Covenant? Indiana Jones, a.k.a. Harrison Ford, has certainly had a lot of trouble pinning down buyers for his four-bedroom, 4.5-bath spread at 206 West 17th Street.
The actor first listed his 5,664-square-foot condo for $16 million back in December 2010. Now, some two years later, Mr. Ford is finally in contract, according to the Olshan Luxury Market report. Certainly, it’s not the longest time a property has lingered on the market. But let’s face it, this place was not moving at the speed of light, or even the speed of a competently-wielded light saber.
Penthouse A/B at 129 West 20th Street appears to be a place where nearly anyone would want to live. Flicking through the multitude of listing photos from the many brokerages and brokers who have tried to sell the 4,500-square foot Chelsea loft, one sees an apartment that seems to embody the dream of downtown luxury living: five bedrooms, four mosaic-tiled baths and two expansive terraces pinwheeling off the home’s showy heart: a sun-flooded double-height living room/dining room with 22-foot-high ceilings, two wood-burning fireplaces and an open staircase of wood and steel. The only problem is that it’s a dream no one wants to buy.
The home, which made its market debut at $8 million in April 2006, in the midst of massive renovation intended to set buyers’ hearts aflutter, has lingered there ever since. A handful of renters have come and gone, but none have wanted to sign the deed. Not for $8.5 million (the highest ask), not for $6.45 million (the lowest and most recent ask) and not for anything in between. It’s now listed for rent at $25,000 a month.
When The Observer visited 129 West 20th Street on a recent afternoon, we found an apartment that was many of the things it has claimed to be over the years: “glamorous, dramatic and refined,” just as the first Corcoran listing had promised, as well as “cinematic in scale and scope” like the Prudential Douglas Elliman listing bragged a few years later. (It had, in fact, starred alongside Keira Knightly and Eva Mendes in Last Night and Mariah Carey in an AT&T commercial.)
We can’t be sure what sold Kati Marton on the two-bedroom co-op at 33 Riverside Drive, but we wouldn’t be surprised if the building’s storied past had something to do with it. After all, 33 Riverside Drive, where George and Ira Gershwin lived in adjoining penthouses that they opened for legendary parties, has obvious journalistic appeal.
But the 14th-floor apartment that Ms. Marton purchased for $2.9 million from Daniel B. Cohen is certainly appealing in its own right. The Hungarian-American author, foreign correspondent and NPR luminary was quick to jump on the airy apartment, which spent only 20 days on the market listed with Donna Olshan of Olshan Realty.
Ah, spring! The season of warm breezes, blossoming trees and brisk home sales is upon us. And last week saw a flurry of activity, with 22 contracts signed for homes $4 million and above, according to the Olshan Luxury Market report.
The number was a luxury market record for 2012, with the biggest contract signed for the $22 million duplex co-op at 88 Central Park West (12 room duplex co-op, park views, 6,000-square feet). However, most of the action was happening downtown and most of it involved condos (10 of the 22 contracts signed were for downtown condos).