That 70’s Party Pad

Danny Masterson, one of the stars of Fox’s That ’70s Show , has purchased a $1.4 million duplex penthouse loft in Tribeca. Mr. Masterson, who has played Steve Hyde on the show since it began airing in 1998, viewed over 70 apartments in his search, and he only settled on this one after a pack his friends-many of whom are burgeoning Hollywood actors-accompanied him on a re-inspection and gave the loft their approval.

“He wanted to get a group consensus,” said his broker, Victoria Terri-Coté, a vice president at the Corcoran Group. “Like, ‘Is this a good party house or not?'”

A native New Yorker, the 26-year-old Mr. Masterson got his start as a child model and gradually segued into acting roles like frustrated loverboy Seth in Beethoven’s 2nd , frustrated loverboy Karl in Face/Off and “F’%# Up #1” in The Faculty . That ’70s Show films in Los Angeles, but like many actors these days, Mr. Masterson wanted to stay bicoastal.

“He comes to the East Coast for photo shoots and to read for movies,” said Ms. Terri-Coté. “He said he wants to start spending a lot more time out here, and this gives him a place to hang his hat.”

Or just to hang. Mr. Masterson’s apartment building, located on Warren Street, is made up of two former warehouses that were converted into high-end condo loft spaces in 1999. His apartment has close to 2,700 square feet of interior space, and two terraces giving him almost 1,200 square feet of outdoor space. There are three bathrooms and a kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances.

Aside from exposing the brick walls, Mr. Masterson has not yet decided what to do to the unpartitioned space.

“It can be left open, or it could be made into a four-bedroom,” said Ms. Terri-Coté. “He’s a single guy, so the options are a lot more open.”

One hundred and twenty acres of vacant land in Bridgehampton that belonged to the late commercial real-estate broker Edward S. Gordon have been sold in a series of separate deals that totaled around $20 million.

Mr. Gordon, who died in September 2000, started buying the noncontiguous parcels of land as investment properties about 10 years ago. For the last year, his estate has worked with Prudential vice president Paul Brennan to sell the land to various developers. They closed on the final parcel last month, and residential construction has already begun on some of the properties.

All of the property is situated north of the Montauk Highway-hardly the “it” address in the fickle Hamptons 10 years ago. That meant prices were good by Hamptons standards. But with the development of the Atlantic Golf Course, land values began to rise dramatically in the area.

“Gordon bought it when no one wanted to be there,” said Mr. Brennan. “And now, all of a sudden, it’s become a place to be. As a result, the estate has achieved an incredible appreciation.”

At the height of its power, Mr. Gordon’s company, ESG, rivaled Cushman & Wakefield at the top of New York’s powerful commercial real-estate industry. He sold the company to Insignia in 1996 for $74 million, at which point the two companies merged into Insignia/ESG.

Mr. Gordon’s widow currently lives in Bridgehampton on a 50-acre estate called Three Ponds.

upper east side

520 East 81st Street

Two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo.

Asking: $749,000.

Selling: $717,500.

Charges: $677.

Taxes: $417.

Time on the market: three weeks.

bronxville-bound A pair of 7-year-old twins had spent the last few years clamoring for space in the same bedroom of this two-bedroom condo, near East End Avenue. Their parents-he’s a psychologist, she works for a title company-finally decided this year that enough was enough: It was time to move the clan to Westchester. They were so anxious to move, in fact, that they signed a contract on a house in Bronxville before completing the sale on their apartment. The 1,255-square-foot unit has hardwood and marble floors, northern and southern exposures, city views and a marble bath. The parents got two offers on the place, one a little higher than the other. And although price is almost always the determining factor when it comes to real estate, the buyer with the lower bid ended up coming out on top. How’d he do it? “The sellers wanted to make things happen as quickly as possible, and the buyer proceeded exactly as they had asked,” said the broker on the deal, Fran Davis, a vice president of the Corcoran Group. “The guy was ready to move immediately. He had gotten his mortgage, and signaled that he was ready to sign the contract very quickly. “In my experience, there aren’t that many cases where higher prices are refused,” Ms. Davis added.

188 East 78th Street

Three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bathroom condo.

Asking: $2.495 million. Selling: $2.2 million.

Charges: $1,921. Taxes: $193

Time on the market: seven weeks.

from florida: must-have condos! Whether you’ve heard of them or not, two condominium buildings completed in the present millennium on the Upper East Side have acquired such cachet that there are now as many people determined to live there as others are to live on Fifth or Park avenues. Units sold so fast in the Chatham and the Empire-on East 65th Street and East 78th Street, respectively-that there’s now a long waiting list just to look at apartments in these twobuildings.So when a businessman relocating from Florida heard that his number had been called at theEmpire-and what’s more, it was for one of the handful of units with terraces-he lost no time rushing north to cut a deal. It’s not a high floor, but the terrace overlooks the building’s private garden, and the broker on the deal, Joanna Simon of Fox Residential Group, said it feels far away from the bustle of nearby Third Avenue: “No one ever uses it, so it’s like your own secret garden.”

upper west side

150 Columbus Avenue

Asking: $1.525 million. Selling: $1.575 million.

Two-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bathroom condo.

Charges: $1,020. Taxes: $650.

Time on the market: three days.

hollywood war-room A Hollywood screenwriter who penned one of the summer’s biggest box-office blockbusters has bought this Upper West Side condo. According to his broker, Leah Ozeri-Elias, a vice president at the Corcoran Group, the new owner plans to use the apartment as a place to write his next couple of films. “He already has a couple of residences across the country,” said Ms. Ozeri-Elias. So intent was he on snagging this place for inspiration that he engaged in a bidding war and ended up paying $50,000 over the asking price. Maybe it was the views that did it. This 1,600-square-foot unit has floor-to-ceiling windows and unobstructed north and east exposures. The sellers didn’t really want to leave, either, but they’re relocating to Australia soon, and it was too risky to hold onto the property until then. “They’re selling while the market is still good,” said Ms. Ozeri-Elias. They’ll rent until they make their journey Down Under.


Law Prof Wants Modern Extension to Landmark House, Gardener Neighbors Say, ‘Let the Sunshine In!’

New York University law professor Louis Kornhauser wants to build a modern extension to the rear of his landmarked Bethune Street townhouse, but neighbors are crying foul.

“It’ll completely block off three floors of my windows facing west, and that’s terribly disturbing,” said Anne Tonachel, Mr. Kornhauser’s next-door neighbor. Both Ms. Tonachel’s building (No. 26 Bethune Street) and Mr. Kornhauser’s (No. 28) are four-story Greek Revival townhouses. Ms. Tonachel’s building has been in her family since 1928; she was raised in the townhouse, as were her children and grandchildren, who live on the upper floors.

Twenty-eight Bethune Street was bought by the university in 1999 from the former secretary of the Greenwich Village Chamber of Commerce, who had lived there for over 40 years. Neighbors were angry that the building was vacant and neglected for three years, and are even more livid at Mr. Kornhauser’s ideas for construction.

“It’ll increase the value of that building at the expense of mine, while also taking away my light and air,” said Ms. Tonachel.

The block she lives on is an exception to the rule in the crowded neighborhood, with the relatively shallow buildings on the perimeter of the block leaving ample room for larger-than-usual gardens. Ms. Tonachel has grown camellia and a magnolia tree in her light and airy backyard, but wonders how will her garden grow if the Landmarks Preservation Commission gives Mr. Kornhauser the right to build an extension that would give her a solid wall where a garden fence used to be.

“My building and [neighboring buildings] only go back 36 feet on an 80-foot plot,” said Paula Spanier, who resides two doors down from the building in question with her architect husband and grows roses behind her townhouse. Mr. Kornhauser’s building is four feet wider and four feet deeper than Mrs. Spanier’s. “Twenty-eight Bethune is already an exception in that it goes back further than the other buildings. Adding eight feet is just too much. It’s going to encroach on our gardens,” Mrs. Spanier continued.

Neither the law professor nor the university returned The Observer ‘s calls before press time. But according to the proposal put before the landmarks commission, Mr. Kornhauser’s plan would also refurbish the landmarked front façade of the building-a move the local community board supported unanimously, even as they recommended that the landmarks commission deny Mr. Kornhauser a permit to expand.

“We’re glad to see the front façade being restored to its 19th-century condition,” said Sean Sweeney, chairman of Community Board 2’s landmarks committee. “The front façade of a building is sacrosanct, but a lot of the time, people want to change rear façades to make them more modern. They assume that because most people can’t see the back, they can change it willy-nilly. A lot of the time, they want to take the whole rear façade out and put in glass. Parlor floors and original materials get removed-the cornices, the masonry, the whole appeal of the original building is gone, and what’s left is an ugly mishmosh, and the people on the other side of the [block’s inner courtyard] have to look at it.”

Ironically, the university’s ongoing disputes about its development program may have saved Mr. Kornhauser from being rejected outright on Dec. 17, when the landmarks commission was scheduled to vote on the plan: Chairwoman Sherida Paulsen said that a vote didn’t take place that day because she and several other commissioners felt that their judgment would be unduly affected by their past dealings with N.Y.U-and so they abstained, leaving the commission without a quorum to vote. Another vote will be held on Jan. 14, assuming an adequate number of non-abstaining commissioners show up at that time. That 70’s Party Pad