Drat! Perelman Gets Outsold Again; Katie Couric Looks to Move to Park Avenue

Upper East Side


The financial windfall that Scott Sassa, president of NBC Television Stations, is having at Ronald Perelman’s expense continues. First, Mr. Perelman laid out $10 million for a town house in order to lure Scott Sassa, a former Turner Broadcasting System entertainment executive, from Atlanta to run his Marvel Entertainment Group Inc. Then, after Mr. Perelman lost Marvel to his archnemesis Carl Icahn in June, Mr. Sassa turned around and became president of NBC Television Stations and earlier this year bought the house from Mr. Perelman for only $7.9 million. Now, according to real estate sources, Mr. Sassa has found a buyer willing to pay $14 million for the town house, the price at which he placed the house on the market shortly after buying it.

The house, at 11 East 82nd Street, is 9,000 square feet and was thoroughly renovated by its previous owners, although sources say that it was somewhat unfortunately Atlanta-ized by Mr. Sassa. Mr. Sassa’s $6.1 million profit may be chump change for Mr. Perelman, but it doesn’t leave him feeling marvelous. Reached at his office, Mr. Sassa had no comment.

East 80’s, between Lexington and Third avenues

Seven-bed, seven-bath, 4,200-square-foot town house.

Asking: $1.995 million. Selling: $1.9 million.

Time on the market: 4.5 months.

GIRTHY TOWN HOUSE SELLS IN TIME TO BE WRITTEN OFF. “Its claim to fame is that it was over 20 feet wide,” said broker Anne Snee of this girthy four-story house, which, like a lot of its turn-of-the-century brownstone brethren in this town, at some point found itself divided into two units and given a stoop-ectomy. Not that it doesn’t still have some of its dowager charm: The fireplaces work, there’s a nice garden and “lovely proportions,” she said. The owner donated it to an institution, and the institution handed it off to Ms. Snee to sell. It took a little while to get the sale going, but the broker reports she had a three-way bidding war in the end. Now the place is going back to the good old days as a single-family home. The lower duplex has already been gutted, and the tenants are moving out of the upper two floors so work can begin up there. Broker: Corcoran Group (Anne Snee); Stribling & Associates Ltd. (Alexa Lambert).

140 East 81st Street

Two-bed, 1.5-bath, 1,150-square-foot prewar co-op.

Asking: $449,000. Selling: $460,000.

Maintenance: $984; 50 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: one month.

GROOM SELLS REHEARSAL HOME. He “made a spectacular one-bedroom out of a small two-bedroom,” said broker Robin Morrissey of her client, the seller of this sixth-floor apartment on the corner of Lexington Avenue. By installing French doors in one of the bedrooms, he’d opened up the living room, creating a 35-foot-long space big enough to get a whole crowd doing the macarena. But after an extensive renovation over the last couple of years, the seller was moving to Chicago to start a new job and be with his fiancée. The buyer had to pay more than the asking price when all was said and done. Which must have been nerve-racking for the buyer. “Oh, tell me about it,” said Ms. Budow. But the seller getting more than he asked for for the apartment must have taken some of the sting off having to leave so soon after renovating. Ms. Morrissey agreed: “He’s moved into a very large house in Chicago and getting married. He’s doing just fine.” Broker: Bellmarc Realty (Fern Budow, Robin Morrissey).

YES, KATIE COURIC DOES SLEEP. On the heels of her husband’s death from colon cancer in January, Today show co-host Katie Couric has had to find a new place to live. Earlier this year, the lease on the Upper East Side co-op Ms. Couric and her family had been subletting expired and, based on board rules, she was not allowed to renew. Now, Ms. Couric has signed a contract to buy a 4,000-square-foot, 12-room apartment on Park Avenue near East 92nd Street; sources said Ms. Couric paid about $3.6 million for the apartment. The apartment, which has four bedrooms, three and a half baths, three maid’s rooms and a library, is on the second floor and has been on and off the market since 1993; two years ago it was priced at $2.9 million, but most recently it was on the market for $3.6 million. Despite the fact that Ms. Couric admitted to People magazine that she “can barely remember to put on deodorant in the morning,” the board is expected to be a fan base she can count on. Brokers familiar with the deal agree “it would be a lot sweller if it were on a higher floor,” envisioning a crowd on Park Avenue holding up placards: “I’m from Wisconsin!” “We love you Katie!” “What have you done with Bryant?” Ms. Couric’s spokesman didn’t return calls.

Upper West Side

124 West 93rd Street

Two-bed, one-bath, 1,100-square-foot prewar condo.

Asking: $325,000. Selling: $345,000.

Charges: $452. Taxes: $214.

Time on the market: two months.

SHERMAN’S MARCH ENDS IN EASY BATTLE. “It was a rainy day in December–one of those really bad ones,” said broker Wendy Sherman. She’d sold an apartment to an older gentleman who suggested that she find his son an apartment. And that was who she had to meet that foul winter day. She and the son looked at four apartments, and even though he’d gone out thinking he wanted to live in a brownstone walk-up, he liked this prewar doorman-attended apartment, the last stop on the tour. It’s in a hard-to-find prewar condo and has herringbone wood floors and those college-professor Upper West Side built-in bookshelves. The second bedroom is small (the seller was using it for a nursery for her twins), but that didn’t bother him since he will use it for a study. (Did we mention that this apartment is on the Upper West Side?) When he put an offer in, he was told that someone else had beaten him by just a few minutes and more than a few dollars. So he upped his bid. “He understood what had to be done,” said the broker. These days, “you’ve got to precondition the buyer about the market,” which can be pretty unforgiving. But in this case, “there was just a sense of calm through the whole thing,” said the broker, who had been lulled into such a sense of peace by the deal that she and the selling broker almost forgot to turn in an important piece of paperwork. The seller and her twins have returned to Australia, where her family lives. Broker: William B. May Company (Wendy Sherman); Halstead Property Company (Andrew Phillips).


250 West 27th Street

One-bed, one-bath, 1,150-square-foot prewar co-op.

Asking: $279,000. Selling: $275,000.

Maintenance: $681; 64 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: one week.

THE APARTMENT TITANIC BOUGHT. After years of living in a rental in Hell’s Kitchen, this music video director hit it big working with Celine Dion (he’d also worked with Harry Connick Jr. and Barbra Streisand) and decided that it was time to buy himself a titanic loft. He knew what he wanted: “I showed him only a few things,” reported his broker, Linda Gertler. The one he booked himself in is located between Seventh and Eighth avenues; the big, concrete Fashion Institute of Technology fortress occupies most of the block. Thanks to the school security patrol, the street’s safe, and even if there’s not much of a view from the third floor, you can look down and watch all those cutting-edge kids walk by. The loft has hardwood floors and 10-foot ceilings, and the living room and dining area is about 40 feet long. What really sold the VH1 hit man on the loft: the office the seller had built on a kind of podium in the middle of the living room, with a little staircase leading up to it (he showed it to his posse to get their approval first). Unfortunately, the lease ran aground on his other apartment before the co-op board met, so he slept on a friend’s couch for a couple of weeks. He was brought before the board on Grammy Awards night–he had his ponytail tied neatly back and was in a tux. “He charmed them,” reported the broker. The building has concrete between the floors, but the buyer has a big stereo. “He had to promise that he wouldn’t be blasting it at 3 A.M.,” reported Ms. Gertler. Corcoran Group (Linda Gertler).

East Village

115 Fourth Avenue (Petersfield)

Two-bed, two-bath, 1,200-square-foot prewar condo.

Asking: $599,000. Selling: $585,000

Charges: $720. Taxes: $383.

Time on the market: two months.

EVIDENCE THAT SOMEONE SOUTH OF UNION SQUARE HAS USED HIS OVEN. Don’t be deceived by the Petersfield’s full-time doorman. It’s a converted loft building in the East Village. Of course, Fourth Avenue is only a few blocks long and certainly lacks the Rent -style zaniness of the rest of the neighborhood. This apartment is a quite elegant loft and had been totally renovated four or five years ago by a previous owner. “It has one of the most beautiful kitchens and baths I’d ever seen,” said broker Susan Moss, who sold the apartment to friends several years ago and now has sold it for them. “It is exquisite,” she said of the low-floor apartment. The master bath has a steam shower and was tiled in African slate; the kitchen features slate countertops and a wine refrigerator. “My friends bought it initially because the husband was a gourmet cook,” she said. But after a few years of living on the truncated avenue, navigating among the New York University masses and being only a short walk from the Union Square Greenmarket, they decided to move uptown to a more conventional co-op. Broker: Corcoran (Susan Moss, Leonard Steinberg).


STEVE KROFT AND JENNET CONANT TO BUY PAIR OF WELL-INVESTIGATED HOUSES. Sixty Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft and his wife, Vanity Fair contributing editor (and Rudy Giuliani adultery-investigator) Jennet Conant, have signed a contract to buy his-and-hers Tuscan-villa-style houses off Noyack Road in Southampton for around $2 million, according to sources familiar with the deal. Those sources say that the compound, which sits on five acres in one of the less emphatically fashionable sections of the Hamptons, had been examined by Mr. Kroft’s earringed colleague Ed Bradley, who passed on it to buy a lot in the Hamptons fabulousness-expansion zone of Northwest Harbor, home to Sean (Puffy) Combs and Donna Karan. Christie Brinkley is also said to have come out and looked at it with her husband Peter Cook, but nixed it for karmic reasons: Her ex-husband Billy Joel had rented it one summer. But it’s good real estate karma all around for Mr. Kroft and Ms. Conant, who bought their house in North Haven for more than $450,000 and then unloaded it for $1.5 million before going Tuscan. Sources say the two houses–a main house and guest house–were on the market for about $2 million and face a nice, sandy beach on Noyack Bay. Through a spokesman, Mr. Kroft had no comment.

Drat! Perelman Gets Outsold Again; Katie Couric Looks to Move to Park Avenue