Matthew Marks Buys a House; Mike Ovitz Doesn’t

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WHEN’S THE OPENING, Matthew Marks?

Gallery owner Matthew Marks, who has become an art-world burgher peddling Nan Goldin’s sleazy photos and Richard Serra’s big chunks of twisted metal, bought a town house at 830 Greenwich Street which sources say he is gut-renovating for himself. The three-story, 22-foot-wide house, which is near Jane Street, had been parsed into two one-bedroom apartments and two studios years ago; it comes with a carriage house with a separate address on Horatio Street. The house’s owner, Saint Petersburg Junior College in Florida, put it on the market for $1.25 million, and Mr. Marks paid $1.23 million. Mr. Marks purchased the house several months ago, and work has begun on it. Mr. Marks is known for being quick off the mark; his is one of the only notable galleries to emerge in the 1990’s. He moved his gallery to West 22nd Street amid the taxi garages in 1994, before almost anyone else had. Last year, he opened a second outlet in a former knife warehouse on West 24th Street, creating one of those new Chelsea art mini-malls with Barbara Gladstone and Metro Pictures. (At the moment, his Ellsworth Kelly exhibit is split between the two locations.) Mr. Marks did not return calls for comment.

Upper West Side

GOLDMAN SACHS BROKER-NOT MIKE OVITZ-INTENDS TO BUY PRICIEST HOME ON CENTRAL PARK WEST Rumors that Michael Ovitz was moving to Manhattan full-time and looking for a more opulent city apartment began to resurface in May, when his name was bandied about as the man who just signed a contract to buy the most expensive apartment on Central Park West to date. In fact, the apartment, unit 12C at the San Remo, a prewar co-op near West 74th Street, is under contract for $9.5 million by a partner at Goldman, Sachs & Company. It is 4,500 square feet, has 12 rooms and four bedrooms, but “no terrace, no air conditioning and the wiring needs replacing,” according to one broker. If the deal goes through, it would be the highest price ever paid for a co-op on Central Park West, surpassing Ian Schrager’s $9 million purchase at the Majestic last fall. Sotheby’s International Realty had the San Remo apartment on the market for $9.7 million. Residents include Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw, Dustin Hoffman, Demi Moore and Bruce Willis and, for the time being, David Geffen, who’s staying in the tower-top duplex owned by Steve Jobs while his apartment is being renovated. (You can evict him if you can put up $15 million to buy the place.) Mr. Ovitz’s diffidently furnished 2,100-square-foot apartment at Metropolitan Tower will have to do for now.

East Midtown

630 First Avenue (Manhattan Place)

One-bed, two-bath, 950-square-foot postwar condo.

Asking: $328,000. Selling: $325,000.

Charges: $512. Taxes: $565.

Time on the market: six weeks.

ARE YOU GOING TO LET THEM CALL YOUR APARTMENT ‘JUNIOR’? Manhattan Place is one of those 1980’s high-rise yuppie housing projects. It stands 35 respectable-looking stories tall, with all the usual luxury amenities, right on the East River; a Mediterranean-theme gourmet grocery called Karabela’s serves up prepared foods for the suits-who-don’t-cook from the first floor of the building. This apartment is what brokers call a “junior four.” It’s on the 26th floor of the building, with a view northeast. The seller was a Korean woman who decided to move back home. It sat on the market for two months at a higher price with the owner’s cousin squatting in it. Then the price dropped, and the cousin was shown the door. Broker: Bellmarc Realty (Steve Mandresh, Fred Taubner).

721 Fifth Avenue (Trump Tower)

One-bed, 1.5-bath, 1,060-square-foot postwar condo.

Asking: $625,000. Selling: $610,000.

Charges: $1,141. Taxes: $936.

Time on the market: seven months.

IF THERE WAS GOING TO BE GROVELING, WHY DID IT HAVE TO BE AT TRUMP’S DOORSTEP? A Chicago attorney came to town last fall shopping for a pied-à-terre . When he walked into this apartment at Trump Tower-for sale for $625,000 or for rent at $4,500 per month-he thought he had found a loophole in the iron-clad condominium market. As he walked around the 42nd-floor apartment with views they don’t have in the Second City, he spotted an information sheet left by the broker who was selling the apartment-she wasn’t able to show it to him personally. On the bottom of the sheet there was a notation that said if the apartment sold by the end of September, it could be had for the discounted price of $580,000. Even though it was November, the attorney made an offer to buy the apartment for $575,000 in cash. When his offer was rejected, he stood his ground and looked at five other apartments in the building. “A lot of them were too glitzed-up,” said his broker. “A lot of the people in Trump tend to use a lot of mirrors and very ornate furniture.” The lawyer was still high and dry when he asked his broker to make another inquiry about the no-longer-discounted apartment he’d first seen. Thanks to two deals that proved not to be lawyerproof, he was able to make a second offer-$610,000-and buy his little piece of Fifth Avenue. Broker: William B. May Company (Lorri Gorman); Alice Mason Limited (Claire Kaufman).

Gramercy Park

326 East 18th Street

Three-bed, 2.5-bath, 3,840-square-foot town house.

Asking: $1.35 million. Selling: $1.255 million.

Time on the market: three months.

ON WALL STREET, HISTORY REFERS TO THE DOW AT 7,000. “The people who are buying these historic houses are all young Wall Streeters,” sighed broker Jerry Senter. “Their sense of history is not the same … A lot of people used to be able to live with floors which are slightly creaky, with houses that leaned a bit. Now they pretty much overlook everything and say, ‘Oh, we’re going to take all this out, anyway.’ And your heart kind of drops.” This house, near First Avenue, is one of three three-story houses with front yards and ornamental ironwork that seems New Orleans-inspired. The houses were built around 1855 on land owned by the Stuyvesant family-Stuyvesant Square is one block north, Stuyvesant Town is just to the east-and have remained pretty much as they were even as the neighborhood became home to tenements, planned developments and an ever-expanding Beth Israel Medical Center. This house received a new kitchen and bathrooms about eight years ago, but otherwise has been left pretty much intact, down to the cast-iron moldings and creaky floors. The sellers put it up for sale at $1.45 million, then changed their minds, considering there were changes afoot regarding the capital gains tax. When the house returned to the market, the price had dropped to $1.35 million. After one potential buyer bolted, a young couple of Wall Street attorneys came around, offering $1.25 million, and because the sellers were what brokers term “motivated”-they had to move soon-the financiers got themselves a pretty good deal. The house has three working fireplaces, a formal dining room and a solarium off the back, which was added after the house was built. Even though they could just move in, Mr. Senter expects the buyers to thoroughly renovate the house. Broker: Corcoran Group (Jerry Senter).

Greenwich Village

77 Bleecker Street (Bleecker Court)

Two-bed, three-bath, 1,750-square-foot prewar co-op loft.

Asking: $550,000. Selling: $490,000.

Maintenance: $1,842; 58 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: three weeks.

COUPLE HANDS DOWN VILLAGE LOFT BEFORE SAILING FOR ENGLAND. The couple who bought this loft-he’s in finance, she’s in commercial real estate-proves how far downtown has come from being just for artists. When the sellers-he’s a financier, too-bought this loft two and a half years ago, it was a mere shell of its current self, and the couple was motivated to work it over: They plugged whirlpools into the bathrooms and installed a fancy new kitchen. The building, which was converted to a co-op in 1981, was once a burnt-out husk. This apartment has three levels: a rec room and bedroom on the lower level, a living room with 18-foot ceilings and nearly floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Mercer Park on the second level, and one mezzanine-style bedroom on the top level which opens onto the living space below. In a bit of market-stabilizing irony, one financial couple got transferred to England and another swooped in and haggled them down $60,000. Broker: Corcoran Group (Shelly Russell).

Park Slope

President Street, between Sixth and Seventh avenues

Three-bed, 1.5-bath, 1,400-square-foot prewar co-op.

Asking: $295,000. Selling: $295,000.

Maintenance: $540; 50 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: one week.

CAMPAIGN FOR PRESIDENT STREET. The sale of this apartment is a study in speed. A couple living in a narrow, top-floor walk-up on Eighth Street in Park Slope had their apartment on the market when they found this 70-foot-deep co-op on President Street. The apartment on President Street was bigger, more gracious and only on the third floor; it had a wood-burning fireplace and dripped mahogany woodwork, including the original pocket shutters, a bay window in the front and parquet floors. The building was built in brick and brownstone in a Romanesque Revival style, but it doesn’t have a stoop. But the couple couldn’t buy it until they sold their old place. “I found them a buyer within a week,” said broker Libby Ryan. Broker: William B. May (Libby Ryan)

Matthew Marks Buys a House; Mike Ovitz Doesn’t