MEANWHILE, DELL HAS BROKER COMBING MANHATTAN FOR HIM Stephen Schwartzman pleaded his case to the co-op board of 740 Park Avenue at 4 P.M. on April 10. If things went well for the financier, he would become the heir to the historied 34-room triplex apartment once owned by John D. Rockefeller Jr. and being passed down by insurance tycoon Saul Steinberg for over $35 million, the most ever paid for a co-op apartment in Manhattan.
The instant that Mr. Schwarzman made a move for Park Avenue, his 12-room apartment at 950 Fifth Avenue went into play. Brokers reported multiple bids coming in for the 10th- and 11th-floor duplex. On March 27, The Observer reported that Dell Computers president Michael Dell and his wife, Susan Dell, who designs her own clothing line, had signed a contract to purchase the apartment for $22 million. But in fact, the name on the contract signed March 15–which is for $18 million, Mr. Schwarzman’s asking price–is Dennis Kozlowski, 53, chairman of the board and chief executive of Tyco International Ltd., a Bermuda-based company that makes industrial gadgets. Mr. Kozlowski’s application to purchase the apartment was forwarded to the co-op board of 950 Fifth Avenue on April 6.
According to sources involved in the deal, Mr. Dell, a dot-commer, and another businessman were the others interested in the Schwarzman apartment, and Mr. Dell is still looking for a Manhattan pied-à-terre with Meredith Smith of Sotheby’s International Realty. Ms. Smith did not return calls for comment. Nor did Cathy Steinberg, a broker with Edward Lee Cave Realty who is representing Mr. Schwarzman.
Calls to Mr. Dell were directed to a spokesman for Dell Computers who said that the couple did not try to buy the Schwarzman apartment. “They never bid on and didn’t buy the property,” said Jim Mozzola, the spokesman. When asked to elaborate, he said, “They’ve always been very private people.”
Mr. Kozlowski has also been looking to buy a pied-à-terre for several years. He has been rejected by the co-op board of 927 Fifth Avenue and had a deal fall through for a condo at 1049 Fifth. Instead, he has been renting a condo at 817 Fifth Avenue, where brokers estimate the average monthly going rate at $30,000.
A native of Irvington, Mr. Kozlowski graduated from Seton Hall University. He likes flying helicopters and airplanes and he has sailed in the Newport Bermuda Race, an annual yacht race from Newport, R.I. to Hamilton, Bermuda. Last year, he was ranked second on Business Week ‘s Annual Executive Pay Scoreboard with a gross compensation package of $157 million. (Charles Wang of Computer Associates came in first.) Mr. Kozlowski didn’t return calls to his offices at 712 Fifth Avenue and in Boca Raton, Florida.
950 Fifth is a “B” building, as far as the pecking order of Fifth Avenue real estate goes, said one broker. The apartments are long and narrow; Mr. Schwarzman’s has several public rooms backed up by a kitchen and servants’ rooms downstairs, and four bedrooms off a railroad-style corridor upstairs. Developer and publisher Mortimer Zuckerman owns the triplex penthouse above the apartment, which he purchased almost a decade ago for $9 million from the late Time Warner chairman Steve Ross. Loews Hotels president Jonathan Tisch and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. vice chairman Robert Hurst are also in the building. Both gentleman, like Mr. Kozlowski, are single.
Other sales in recent years include Broadway producer Hal Prince’s fifth- and sixth-floor apartment in 1997, which was on the market for $7.9 million, and the eighth- and ninth-floor duplex that sold for $8.5 million that same year.
Mr. Kozlowski has not been approved by the building for the purchase and sources say the deal is not scheduled to close before July, when Mr. Schwarzman is expected to finalize his takeover of the Steinberg penthouse. But 950 Fifth has few apartments, and Mr. Schwarzman is on the board.
UPPER EAST SIDE
RENNERT BUYS ANOTHER HOME, THIS ONE FOR DAUGHTER AND GROOM She wore a heart-shaped necklace worth over $3 million at her wedding at Cipriani Wall Street in front of about 600 of her closest friends last January. Now, Yonina Rennert Davidson can almost fit them all into her new apartment at 510 Park Avenue, which her father Ira Rennert bought for her on her first wedding anniversary.
According to brokers, the chairman, president and C.E.O. of Renco Group Inc., bought his daughter the 13-room apartment of James Nederlander Sr. for $4.3 million on March 15. The 5,000-square-foot, 14th-floor apartment has four bedrooms, six bathrooms and two maids’ rooms. Mr. Rennert signed a contract for the apartment in November. The asking price was $4.65 million and monthly maintenance is $4,865. The exclusive broker on the deal, Amy Singer, of the Corcoran Group, had no comment.
Ms. Davidson–called Nina by her friends–graduated from Barnard College and is a third-year student at N.Y.U. Law School. Her husband, Mitchell Davidson, is an associate with the financial sponsor group of Merrill Lynch & Company who previously worked as a mergers and acquisitions associate at law firm Skadden, Arps. Mr. Davidson refused to comment about the deal when reached at his office at Merrill Lynch in the World Financial Center. “I don’t speak to the press,” he said.
Mr. Nederlander bought a new condo right across the street at 515 Park Avenue, a 43-story luxury development at the southeast corner of East 60th Street where prices average more than $2,000 per square foot. One broker familiar with the deal told The Observer that Mr. Nederlander spent between $5.5 and $6 million on the condo.
315 East 69th Street
Two-bed, two-and-a-half-bath, 1,500-square foot co-op.
Asking: $850,000. Selling: $770,000.
Charges: $1,600; 50 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: One month.
IS THERE A BROKER IN THE BUILDING? “Nobody knows this building better than I do,” claims Sue Marcus, a broker at William B. May. Ms. Marcus bought a one-bedroom apartment here in 1967 for $32,000, then sold it for $90,500 in 1979, when she moved into a larger apartment in the building, between First and Second avenues. Since then she has made every effort to be the official broker of 315 East 69th Street. Last fall, she found out that this penthouse–one of three in the building–was being sold by an estate and showed it to about 20 people before a professional couple in their 30’s signed a contract in December. “They’re all excited about setting up the terrace,” said Ms. Marcus. The wrap-around terrace is accessed from the master bedroom and the dining room. “You could grow corn on it!” The couple is also planning to renovate the kitchen and the bathrooms and walk to work from now on. We give them a month.
721 Fifth Avenue (Trump Tower)
Four-bed, five-and-a-half-bath, 4,277-square-foot condo.
Asking: $5.5 million. Selling: $5.5 million.
Charges: $4,724. Taxes: $3,722.
Time on the market: four months.
PIED-À-TERRE OWNERS STICK TOGETHER “It has great flow,” said Corcoran broker Charles Russell of this 4,000-square-foot-plus pied-à-terre in Donald Trump’s flagship building at Fifth Avenue and 55th Street. The result of a $1 million renovation of three contiguous apartments above the 40th floor that a European businessman and his wife snagged together for $2.5 million in 1993, the place has a 25-foot marble entry foyer and a 68-foot entertaining wing featuring a wet bar, a formal dining room and a library. It was a magnet for other foreign businessmen when the couple put it on the market: the one who offered the entire amount in cash stuck. The deal closed on March 31.
56 East 11th Street
One-bed, one-bath, 2,000 square-foot co-op.
Asking: $890,000. Selling: $850,000.
Charges: $1,600; 65 percent tax-deductible.
Time on market: 6 to 8 weeks.
37-YEAR-OLD STUMBLES ONTO THE VILLAGE The buyer, 37, had lived in the same Upper East Side apartment since he got off the train direct from college graduation. “I got a deal,” he said. Whatever. “An old lady died. There was brand-new carpeting and a doorman.” Charming. The rent is “a thousand dollars below market.” Uh-huh. Now, six brokers later, he has found the strength–and the capital–to escape to downtown. His new place is in a loft building between University Place and Broadway; it has 11 [1/2]-foot ceilings and north and south exposures. “The kitchen needed all-new cabinets and the appliances were old,” said his broker, Sandra Sautner of the Halstead Property Company. His version: “It looked like a dump, but you gotta have a vision for the future.” The previous owner, a “top model,” according to the broker, was in the process of converting two bedrooms into a giant master bedroom when she decided to move with her dog to upstate New York. The new guy will renovate the kitchen, put in a second bath, and redo all the floors. “These single guys like to do their own renovations,” said the broker.
2 Montague Terrace
Two-bed, two-bath, 1,350 square-foot co-op.
Asking: $899,000. Selling: $887,000.
Charges: $1,502; 33 percent tax-deductible
Time on the market: One month.
SHOTS WITH THE NEW NEIGHBORS A couple of bankers were still renting a place on Henry Street when a delayed alarm went off several months ago. Loretta Maresco of the Corcoran Group showed them a recently renovated apartment a few blocks away in a 1927 co-op right on the Promenade. (The sellers had bolted for a backyard in New Jersey.) The couple returned in the sunlight and the two bedrooms, den, large kitchen, fireplace, formal dining room, and north, south, and east exposures were all still there so they signed up. “The building has an unusual setup where after the board meets with the buyers, the sellers host a party so that all 24 shareholders in the building can meet the new tenants, and then they all vote whether or not to accept them,” Ms. Maresco told The Observer . The party, which is usually wine and cheese, was held in the board president’s apartment, but has been held at the nearby Heights Casino in the past. How did the buyers hold up under the social scrutiny? “I don’t know,” said Ms. Maresco. “I wasn’t invited.” The couple moved in on April 7.