Balazs in the Village

Condé Nast International chairman Jonathan Newhouse quietly sold his five-story Greenwich Village townhouse to Mercer Hotel owner André Balazs for

Condé Nast International chairman Jonathan Newhouse quietly sold his five-story Greenwich Village townhouse to Mercer Hotel owner André Balazs for the asking price of $4.2 million. The 25-foot-wide mansion went on and off the market this summer before most brokers were even aware of its availability.

“That went so quickly nobody had a chance to look at it,” said Corcoran Group senior vice president Anne Snee.

At approximately 11,000 square feet, Mr. Balazs’s new home-which he will share with Katie Ford, his wife and the president of Ford Models-is a giant by Village standards.

“Twenty-five feet in the Village is not so easy to find,” said Ms. Snee. “Having it in a location like that is even nicer.”

Mr. Newhouse bought the house in 1993 for $1.86 million. It has three separate units-a professional office space on the ground floor, and two duplex units above, with a total of seven bedrooms. Mr. Newhouse did not return calls for comment, and Mr. Balazs declined to be interviewed about his plans for the house. As of this week, the upper floors appeared uninhabited and the office space vacant.

Mr. Newhouse presides over the international branch of his uncle S.I. (Si) Newhouse Jr.’s Advance Publications empire. Jonathan Newhouse lives in London with his wife, Ronnie Cooke Newhouse, a founding editor of the original Details magazine, a former creative director of Barneys and the owner of her own creative consultancy in London.

For years, Mr. Newhouse was considered the heir apparent of his uncle Si’s company. In 1994, Si Newhouse told Advertising Age that Jonathan, now 48, “will take my place” at Condé Nast. But the same magazine reported in January of 2002 that it was beginning to look more likely that Jonathan’s cousin, Steve Newhouse, would take the helm of the Advance empire.

“You’d think in a company with a [74-year old] chairman,” Advertising Age quoted an employee as saying, “that if Jonathan was truly the designated [heir], they would start a program to have him have personal relationships at the company.”

Mr. Balazs came to prominence through his successful launch of the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood, and later made his first big splash in New York in 1997 with the opening of Nica’s-now the Melrose-an outdoor café at the Stanhope Hotel, directly across the street from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He cemented his New York reputation in May of 1998 with the launch of the 75-room Mercer Hotel on Prince Street in Soho. Most recently, Mr. Balazs christened his newest venture, the Downtown L.A. Standard Hotel.

In other hotelier-related news, SoHo Grand and TriBeCa Grand owner Emanuel Stern has sold his four-story Upper West Side townhouse for $3 million. The New York Post reported in December of 2000 that the house had gone to contract, but that deal fell through, and only recently did Mr. Stern finally close on the house. It stands 17 feet wide and has five bedrooms, five baths, two terraces and a landscaped garden.

-with additional reporting by Emma Rathbone

Laura Steinberg Says, ‘Sell!’ and Brokers Scramble

Laura Steinberg, the ex-wife of fallen financier Saul Steinberg, recently ran into her longtime real-estate agent, Patricia Burnham, on Madison Avenue and made an impulsive decision.

“I’ve always wanted a townhouse with a garden,” Ms. Burnham recalled Ms. Steinberg saying. “Sell my apartment right away.”

So Ms. Burnham did just that. The next morning, she put Ms. Steinberg’s seven-room, three-bedroom duplex co-op at 829 Park on the market for $3 million. By the afternoon, she had an accepted offer at the asking price from a partner in an investment-banking firm.

“I received lots of calls from people who were upset that they didn’t have a chance to see the apartment,” Ms. Burnham said.

Ms. Steinberg’s son recently graduated from Brown University, and according to Ms. Burnham, Ms. Steinberg no longer wanted to keep up such a lavish Park Avenue address.

“She’s busy redoing her new home and having summer garden parties,” Ms. Burnham said, declining to comment on Ms. Steinberg’s new townhouse purchase.

Before moving to 829 Park, Ms. Steinberg lived at 740 Park Avenue with then-husband Saul in what was perhaps New York’s largest apartment-a 36-room duplex that Mr. Steinberg was forced to sell to financier Stephen Schwartzman for a record $37 million in 2000, after Mr. Steinberg’s Reliance Insurance Company began its march towards bankruptcy.

Ms. Steinberg’s old apartment at 829 Park started out as an eight-room duplex, but she eliminated one wall to enlarge her entertaining space and make room for her art collection.

“That’s what made it unique,” said Ms. Burnham. “She made the dining room into a great big square-she did a lot of jet-set entertaining.”

In addition to the three bedrooms, the apartment has a maid’s room, three marble bathrooms and an eat-in kitchen.

Ammon Widow Takes a $1 M. Bath on East Side Townhouse Fix-up

Generosa Ammon, ex-wife of slain financier Ted Ammon, has unloaded her Upper East Side townhouse for an apparent loss of over $1 million. Ms. Ammon sold the six-story former office building at 10 East 87th Street for $8.2 million-far less than she needed to recoup her costs. She bought the building two years ago for $8.8 million, and sunk a hefty sum into a still-ongoing gut renovation.

Listing agent Jed Garfield of Leslie J. Garfield & Associates had no comment on the sale, which closed this June. The buyer’s sales agent did not immediately return calls for comment.

Ms. Ammon bought the 10,000-square-foot residence in September of 2000 while still involved in divorce proceedings with her husband. While he was settling into a new co-op at 1125 Fifth Avenue, Ms. Ammon commenced a gut renovation job at 10 East 87th Street, the former headquarters of the National Coalition for 100 Black Women.

It was during that renovation that Ms. Ammon met electrician Daniel Pelosi, whom she married in January. Ever since Ted Ammon was found slain in his East Hampton residence in October, news reports have alleged that the police are eyeing Mr. Pelosi in the murder, although he has never been charged with any crime related to the killing and has steadfastly maintained his innocence.

It doesn’t appear that the new owner of 10 East 87th Street will be moving in anytime soon. On Aug. 13, the townhouse’s lower floors were still in the early stages of renovation.

upper east side

1349 Lexington Avenue

Two-bedroom, two-bathroom co-op.

Asking: $1.2 million. Selling: $1.175 million.

Maintenance: $1,825; 50 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: one month.

DOG DAYS OF SUMMER Insignia Douglas Elliman sales agent Michael Mansur had four land mines to sidestep while showing this apartment: three young kids and a dog. “We had to walk over junior’s toys, and it felt like we became dog-sitters to a degree,” said Mr. Mansur. “When we showed the apartment, we gave him a biscuit and told him not to bark at the customer.” Perhaps appropriately, the family living in this 1,800-square-foot apartment off 90th Street was heading out to the suburbs of Connecticut, schools being the chief incentive. They’re in their mid-30’s, a newspaperman and a marketing designer. Their first buyers fell through on the day of the contract signing, but Mr. Mansur had a backup on deck.

“This is a specific example of where it’s imperative to have a strong backup to your accepted offer,” Mr. Mansur said. This mint-condition, prewar classic six had a renovated eat-in kitchen, hardwood floors, a wood-burning fireplace, and southern and western skyline views.

upper west side

2373 Broadway

One-bedroom, one-bathroom condo.

Asking: $425,000. Selling: $425,000.

Charges: $900. Taxes: included.

Time on the market: four weeks.

Holdout Normally, investment properties suffer on the market when they are peopled with tenants unwilling to leave. But in this case, a widow in her early 70’s who had been dabbling in real-estate investments for years came upon an apartment at the Boulevard, on Broadway near 86th Street. The owner of the unit wanted to sell, but his tenant-a single woman in graduate school renting the place for $2,995 a month-didn’t want to move out. “We did the purchase with her in the apartment,” said Lisa Rose of William B. May. “Actually, it was great for [my client], because we didn’t have to go out and find a tenant.” The 15th-floor apartment covers a little less than 700 square feet, and has open city views.

park slope

412 10th Street

Four-bedroom, two-bathroom townhouse.

Asking: $850,000. Selling: $835,000.

Taxes: $1,900.

Time on the market: one day.

one-day deal The first day this three-story townhouse went on the market in Park Slope, more than 100 people showed up for the open house, and the sellers had accepted an offer by early evening. At $835,000, it was the most money anyone had ever paid for a piece of property on this block-10th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues-the broker said. “Even in this economy, the value of property is going up nonstop,” said Corcoran Group vice president Larisa Kogut. The seller of the townhouse had lived there for nearly 20 years. He’s the president of a nonprofit organization that develops and renovates affordable housing for low-income families. He’s moving with his two junior-high-age boys to Crown Heights, where his company has done a lot of development. “When he came to see his new place in Crown Heights, everybody on the street already knew him,” said Ms. Kogut. The 18-foot-wide townhouse’s first floor is a rental, and the new owners will live in the duplex on the second and third floors.


Goose Creek Guest House Sells for $5.2 Million

Fashion agent and producer Bryan Bantry has parceled off and sold the “guest cottage” of his Goose Creek estate in Wainscott for a little north of $5.2 million. The six-bedroom traditional cottage, which Mr. Bantry calls “Main Street,” sits on 2.5 acres of land adjacent to Goose Creek, the Georgica Pond mansion whose 110-seat screening room has made it a Mecca for Hollywood and New York society’s A-list.

“It was always considered the other house on the property,” Mr. Bantry told The Observer , referring to the cottage. “We would rent both properties or populate them with friends.”

Over the years, those friends have included virtually every boldface name to set foot on the East End. Jennifer Lopez recently took an extended vacation at the estate-“she was a guest of ours,” Mr. Bantry said. Billy Joel and Christie Brinkley rented out the movie theater for their daughter’s birthday. Geena Davis got married at the mansion, and rapper Jay-Z once threw an infamously loud party that had neighbors complaining for months.

As for Main Street, Mr. Bantry bought the house in the early 80’s and later tapped celebrated carpenter Chuck Lattanzio to give it a major overhaul.

“The house was very boring when we bought it,” Mr. Bantry said. “[Mr. Lattanzio] made every single piece of molding by hand. I hope the new owners keep them, but who knows?”

Though Goose Creek gets more than its fair share of renters every year, Mr. Bantry has been trying to sell the place for years.

“If I got the right offer, I’d sell it tomorrow,” he said. “I raise the price a few million every year; I don’t lower it. For every broker who said, ‘You should slash the rate,’ I say, ‘Forget it.'”

And you won’t find Mr. Bantry on the East End too often.

“I prefer to spend my weekends in Rome than Wainscott,” he said. “The food is better, and it’s almost easier to get to Rome than East Hampton.”

Balazs in the Village