Calvin Klein, Janet Jackson Buy; Nike’s Phil Knight Sells

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CALVIN KLEIN’S LATEST OBSESSION: A POLICE BUILDING PENTHOUSE. Nobody can quite figure out why, since he bought an $8 million duplex penthouse at 55 Central Park West in May, but Calvin Klein has just bought the home-in-the-dome atop the Police Building at 240 Centre Street for $1.8 million, according to real estate sources. His publicist would not offer any explanation, either.

Mr. Klein’s just-purchased domicile sprawls over three floors and a mere 2,500 square feet. There are three bedrooms, and the 25-foot-tall living room lies under the building’s dome, with 12-foot windows all around. The Police Building, a Renaissance Revival-style hôtel de ville , has been lording it over the northern edge of Little Italy since 1909 and was police headquarters until 1973, when the cops decamped for a more forbidding fortress next to the Municipal Building. Linda Evangelista, Christie Turlington, Naomi Campbell, Winona Ryder and John F. Kennedy Jr. all piled in. But with the sale of Ms. Crawford’s fourth-floor unit (it had been in Elle Décor ) for $685,000 this past March, they’ve all moved on. This apartment–which tennis star Steffi Graf used to own–was on the market for $1.895 million, and maintenance is $4,749 a month.

Sources theorize that Mr. Klein may have bought the place for his daughter from his first marriage, Marci Klein. (Her kidnapping 20 years ago was detailed in the beginning of the unauthorized biography of the designer, Obsession .) If true, the apartment must have a certain Gen-X appeal: Sources say that the other party interested in the apartment was Rupert Murdoch’s son James, the twentysomething who’s being groomed to take over as publisher of the New York Post . But the young Mr. Murdoch backed out and bought a town house downtown instead.


463 West 143rd Street

Six-bed, 3.5-bath, 4,260-square-foot prewar town house.

Asking: $550,000. Selling: $475,000.

Time on the market: one year.

NEW OWNERS OF HIS ‘N’ HERS BEDROOMS ADMIT: “OUR FRIENDS WERE CONCERNED.” “Aren’t you going to ask about safety issues?” asked Kim Croffoot-Suede. “Our friends were concerned, regardless of race.” Ms. Croffoot-Suede, a management consultant who grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and her husband Lance, a lawyer with Squadron, Ellenhof, Plesent & Sheinfeld (who had his first play, Chuppah , produced Off-Off-Broadway last summer), have just purchased this 14-room house deep in Harlem. “But it only took us one visit to realize that that view is maybe 15, 20 years out of date.” On the other hand, that perception has kept the prices affordable. The couple bought this 19-foot-wide 1893 brownstone from missionaries who had owned the house since 1981, when they paid $85,000 for it, then the going rate for the decrepit old houses of Harlem. It was a rooming house during the Depression, and a sprinkler system had been strung through it. Still, miraculously, most of the original detail remained. True to their calling, the missionaries proceeded to save it, stripping the mahogany themselves and fixing it up as best they could. “It’s in … good shape,” said Ms. Croffoot-Suede. For the last few years, she and her husband lived in a two-bedroom co-op on West 96th Street near Amsterdam Avenue. After realizing that a house like the one they wanted below 96th Street would run them at least $1.2 million, they started looking uptown. They talked with people in the neighborhood who showed them how they were improving their houses, little by little. “You can still get a value up here,” said Ms. Croffoot-Suede. Their house has an L-shaped stoop and a foyer with the original 10-foot-high entrance hall mirror and twin newel posts; a stripped oak banister with handrails and wainscoting goes up the stairs to the third floor. The living room has 12-foot-high ceilings and a massive wood-burning fireplace; the dining room next door is 18 feet by 20 feet and also has a fireplace. Downstairs, there’s a big kitchen that opens onto the 44-foot-deep garden, planted with roses. Upstairs, the master suite has his-‘n’-hers bedrooms, dressing rooms, fireplaces, marble vanities and porcelain sinks. After doing the work on the place, the sellers put the house on the market and went to their next posting, Vietnam. Their first buyer defaulted. The Croffoot-Suedes signed up for the place back in April, but delayed the closing to coincide with the sale of their co-op. They closed the co-op Aug. 7 at 11:30 A.M., and the house at 3 P.M. “We had the movers outside,” said Ms. Croffoot-Suede. Because they didn’t have enough furniture to fill the place, the sellers left them beds, tables, chairs and antique serving pieces. They’ve already ripped out the kitchen and have plans to remove the sprinklers. Broker: Willie Katherine Suggs Licensed Real Estate.

Upper East Side

East 90’s off Madison Avenue

Two-bed, 1.5-bath, 1,000-square-foot prewar co-op.

Asking: $385,000. Selling: $385,000.

Charges: $1,013; 28 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: one month.

LATCHKEY PARENTS. How did this young graduate student get roped into this deal? When she begins her master’s program in history in September, she’ll be sharing this apartment on weekends with her parents, who just bought this place near Central Park, where all of them like to jog. Of all the backward arrangements; in this one, the parents have weekend privileges. The folks are letting her live there full-time, but they still want to claim it as their pied-à-terre in Manhattan. Who says parents never want to crash for the weekend? Broker: William B. May Company (Jane Goldberg); Corcoran Group (JoAnne Douglas).

Upper West Side

1 Central Park West (Trump International Hotel & Tower)

Three-bed, 3.5-bath, 2,094-square-foot postwar condo.

Asking: $3.1 million. Selling: $3 million.

Charges: $1,184. Taxes: $1,488.

Time on the market: several months.

JANET JACKSON AND POSSE MOVE ON CENTRAL PARK WEST IN LOCKSTEP. Are the Jacksons taking Manhattan? Proud father and king of pop Michael Jackson was spotted earlier this year poking around a $30 million town house at 11 East 62nd Street. He didn’t even get around to asking whether he could build a carousel in the backyard, like he has at his Neverland spread, or whether chimpanzees were permitted as residents, because it quickly became clear that it did not offer a discreet entrance. But at least his sister, Janet (“Ms. Jackson if you’re nasty”), wasn’t just moonwalking. Real estate sources said that she’s the buyer of this 34th-floor apartment in that latest glass-walled Trump bonanza, the International Hotel & Tower. According to a real estate source, she had been renting a unit in the same line as this one, just six floors down, for $16,500 a month. When this unit came up for sale, she decided to move her collection of Velvet Rope right in. Ms. Jackson’s apartment is in the preferred northeast corner line, with the grandest Central Park views. Ms. Jackson’s publicist had no comment.


15 West 53rd Street (Museum Tower)

Five-and-a-half-room postwar condo.

Asking: $1.495 million. Selling: $1.45 million.

Charges: $1,611. Taxes: $1,600.

Time on the market: six months.

PHIL (‘SWOOSH’) KNIGHT TAKES A BEATING ON 53RD STREET. Philip H. Knight, the chief executive and messianic founder of the sneaker behemoth Nike Inc., may come off as an arrogant baby boomer (See Michael Moore’s The Big One ), but at least he’s a good businessman, right? Well, maybe not. It seems Mr. Knight couldn’t make money in the great 1998 Manhattan real estate gold rush. According to real estate records, Mr. Knight bought this apartment–on the 28th floor of Museum Tower, the building that looms over the Museum of Modern Art–in March 1992, when the real estate market was near rock bottom, for $1.76 million. In addition to being right down the street from Nike Town, the tower is home to corporate raider Carl Icahn’s spread. Now, at the top of the market, Mr. Knight has sold the apartment for only $1.45 million and actually lost money on the place. Nike publicists did not return calls for comment.

Greenwich Village

Fifth Avenue near 10th Street

Two-bed, 2.5-bath, 2,800-square-foot prewar co-op.

Asking: $3 million. Selling: $2.6 million.

Charges: $2,626; 50 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: one month.

Polly Draper’S CASTING COUP. Polly Draper, the actress whose breakthrough role was playing the leggy unmarried career woman Ellen on TV’s Thirtysomething , was just approved by the co-op board of this building on lower Fifth Avenue to purchase a two-bedroom apartment. Ms. Draper’s new apartment is in one of the few large co-ops on Fifth Avenue between 14th Street and Washington Square Park, so she wasn’t the only one wanting the role of new owner. When the seller, an EMI Records executive who was relocating to Los Angeles, put the place on the market this spring, brokers say, both Julia Roberts and Marisa Tomei came looking. Ms. Roberts, who works out at an area gym just three blocks away (the dark glasses in the fitness room are a dead giveaway), loved the apartment, but was carried off to London to shoot The Nottinghill Project at a critical moment in the bidding process. Ms. Tomei, who at the time was performing in Wait Until Dark with Quentin Tarantino, also checked the place out, but decided it lacked light, according to a real estate source. The building boasts some charming touches, like little Juliet balconies and a wrought-iron front door with gold fleur-de-lis detail. Ms. Draper’s publicist had no comment.


West Broadway and Franklin Street

Two-bed, 1.5-bath prewar condo.

Asking: $710,000. Selling: $675,000.

Charges: $280. Taxes: $167.

Time on the market: one week.

NOT FAR FROM THE MAGAZINE CROWD. After moving back to New York, the magazine editor who bought this converted TriBeCa loft had been subletting in Chelsea for months, and lost several deals during his apartment search. “This was my favorite place in all of Manhattan. My favorite corner,” he said. “It’s right above Layla. Any restaurant with belly dancing I think is a good thing. And it’s just a really great neighborhood, not overrun the way that SoHo is, and not hot the way Chelsea is, which is also code for soon to be overrun.” That’s not to say that TriBeCa–sure you’ve heard of it–isn’t overrun with media types: George ‘s John F. Kennedy Jr., MTV’s Tom Freston, Time Warner’s Richard Parson, just to name a few. Heavy renovations are already under way, so TriBeCa’s newest resident will be moving in shortly. Since many of the apartments in this six-floor building–which went condo in 1995–have at some point been combined, there aren’t that many units in total. On the top floor is another media celebrity of sorts: Sam Newhouse, the son of Advance Magazine Publishers’ chief executive, S.I. Newhouse Jr. He and his wife rent the top floor. Broker: William B. May (Marc Maider).

Calvin Klein, Janet Jackson Buy; Nike’s Phil Knight Sells