The Southampton oceanfront estate that was once home to the late Jackie Onassis’ sister, Lee Radziwill, and then to the late magazine publisher, Frances Lear, has hit the market for $17 million.
The nearly-three-acre property is located on Southampton’s storied Gin Lane and has 250 feet of protected ocean frontage.
Lear won a divorce settlement from ex-husband and legendary television producer Norman Lear in 1985 that was estimated to be worth between $100 million and $112 million-part of a fortune made during a career that produced such hits as All in the Family , The Jeffersons and Maude as well as critically acclaimed but fringy fare like Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman . In 1988, she used about $25 million of that money to launch Lear’s , a magazine targeted at women over 40. At about the same time, she bought the Southampton property from Ms. Radziwill for about $2.5 million. The magazine folded in 1994, and Lear died in 1996 at the age of 73 from breast cancer.
After Lear’s death, her house went to her children as part of her estate. Listing broker Tim Davis, of Allan M. Schneider Associates, declined to comment on their motivations for the sale.
The house has six bedrooms and bathrooms and includes a large master suite, an eat-in kitchen, family room and maid’s quarters. The grounds include a swimming pool, hot tub and expansive lawn. Gin Lane has been the summer address for former New York Times publisher Arthur (Punch) Sulzberger, Chicago producer Marty Richards, financier Felix Rohatyn and automobile heiress Anne Ford.
The Lycée Shell Game: Aby Rosen Sells $10.9 M. Lycée Building to Developer
Aby Rosen, the president of residential developer RFR Holding, is rich enough to move properties around the Upper East Side like marbles in a game of Chinese checkers, and he’s just made his latest move.
The German real-estate mogul has signed a contract to sell the East 73rd Street townhouse that he bought from the Lycée Français school in January 2002.
The buyer is a company called Dominion Financial Corporation, whose business, like Mr. Rosen’s, is the development of residential properties. Dominion plans to renovate the former school building into a single-family townhouse and will then put it back on the market for about $18 million.
“It’s a beautiful building that without much work can be repositioned as a great single-family house,” said a Dominion company spokesman.
Richard Steinberg of Ashforth Warburg Associates brokered the deal and will be marketing the apartment once it hits the market again. He wouldn’t disclose the selling price as the deal hasn’t yet closed, but noted that the listing price was $10.9 million.
Dominion, which plans to finish the renovation in “six months, plus or minus,” has already completed several renovations in the city and is currently working on several more. Notably, it refurbished two high-end lofts in Tribeca, and at 3 East 75th Street it’s converting many of that apartment building’s rent-stabilized units into luxury condominium apartments.
Dominion’s newest acquisition, the former Lycée Building at 12 East 73rd Street, is a five-story, 22 1¼2-foot-wide building erected in 1920. It sits directly next door to Alexander and Alexandra von Furstenburg’s townhouse.
The Lycée Français bought the building in 1994 for $4.3 million and sold it to Mr. Rosen in January 2002, when it was listing for $8.5 million. Mr. Rosen said there are “tremendous” original details left on the first and second floors, including fireplaces and a wood-paneled dining room.
RECENT TRANSACTIONS IN THE REAL ESTATE MARKET
215 West 136th Street
Asking: $899,000. Selling: $870,000.
Time on the market: one year
REBOUND THERAPY It was the first Saturday in April, and Axel Acakpo-Satchivi, a 29-year-old corporate lawyer at white-shoe firm Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, was driving out of Harlem, distressed. The owner of a house in the neighborhood that Mr. Acakpo-Satchivi was interested in buying had just broken the appointment to show the place-again. Dejected, Mr. Acakpo-Satchivi started to head back to his place near Gramercy Park. On West 120th Street, however, he caught sight of an open-house sign in front of another townhouse. His cousin, who was driving the car, skidded it to a halt, and Mr. Acakpo-Satchivi bounded out to take a look. Despite the dog-and-cat droppings that littered the floor, Mr. Acakpo-Satchivi pronounced the house beautiful and inquired about the price. The house’s listing broker, Willie Kathryn Suggs, said she knew instantly that the dilapidated property would be a terrible fit for Mr. Acakpo-Satchivi. “Houses are like relationships,” Ms. Suggs said, “and he was on the rebound.” “Look,” she remembered telling him, “you’re in a suit, you don’t have time to be doing these kinds of renovations.” So off they went together, touring one Harlem house after another. Their search ended at this newly renovated property at 215 West 136th Street. Its last owner had been a real-estate investor whose efforts to sell the place were bound in red tape for several years. Those problems finally got cleared up on Monday, when Mr. Acakpo-Satchivi and his parents closed on the property together. The folks get their own space on the third floor, and Mr. Acakpo-Satchivi and his cousin are sharing the fourth. The house has new kitchens, baths, exposed brick walls, 18-foot ceilings and a landscaped yard. “It turned out to be the built-out version of what we wanted to do at another property,” said Mr. Acakpo-Satchivi.
UPPER EAST SIDE
129 East 69th Street
Three-bedroom, two-bathroom co-op.
Asking: $1.55 million. Selling: $1.55 million.
Maintenance: $1,449; 36 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: one month
STARTING OVER When Cheryl Kelly got fired last year from her position as director of the Episcopal School, an elite nursery school on East 69th Street, she had to do more than look for a new job: She needed to find a new apartment. Episcopal, whose students have included the children of Harvey Weinstein, Ronald Perelman, Edgar Bronfman Jr. and Jann Wenner, purchased this co-op apartment for Ms. Kelly in 1997 for around $700,000. In June of 2002, however, Episcopal’s board of directors announced that after serving eight years at the school’s helm, Ms. Kelly had resigned at their request and would have to vacate the apartment. School officials reportedly attributed the decision to “differences of opinion,” but sources told The Observer in October of 2002 that the firing arose out of “a cultural clash between Ms. Kelly’s no-nonsense managerial approach and the school’s high-powered, favor-ridden social bent.” Then, as now, Ms. Kelly declined to comment on the issue, citing her resignation agreement with the school. She did, however, tell The Observer about her current employment status. For the last year, she has been the director of Fairchester Fellows, a mentoring program for first-year teachers in Westchester and Fairfield County independent schools. And starting July 1, she will become head of early-childhood programs at the Grace Church School, a nursery-through-eighth-grade school just south of Union Square. “I’m still going to have the same ages as I did at Episcopal,” said Ms. Kelly, who added that she still lives with her husband on the Upper East Side. Coincidentally, the new owner of Ms. Kelly’s old apartment not only grew up in the building, he was an Episcopal alumnus, too. He’s a Wall Street financier who just had a baby and needed to trade up to a larger space. “Hopefully there’ll be good karma, and his kid will get into Episcopal,” said his broker, Charles Russell, a vice president at the Corcoran Group. The 1,900-square-foot, pre-war, seven-room apartment has a large entrance gallery, formal dining room, treetop views, an eat-in-kitchen, and a maid’s room and bath. Brown Harris Stevens had the exclusive.
As Former Bordello Hits Market for $7.2 M., Neighbors Hope Local Madams Get the Massage
In June 1992, New York City police officers padlocked five buildings in midtown and downtown Manhattan after an 18-month sting operation revealed that they were being operated as brothels by a group of Korean madams. One of those buildings was 43 Crosby Street, where residents were surprised when a construction company that leased the ground floor turned out to be operating a bordello.
That building, newly renovated, has now hit the market for $7.2 million. Carrie Chiang of the Corcoran Group has the listing.
For 43 Crosby Street, a five-story, brick and cast-iron apartment building, the trouble started when an entity purporting to be a construction company leased the ground-level floor.
“Our lawyer did all the research to make sure they were bona fide,” said the building’s manager, a woman named Marilyn, who declined to give her last name. “He was very attuned to that.”
Then, as now, the building was owned by a corporation named 43 Crosby L.L.C. The company officer whose name appears most frequently on the property’s real-estate records is Ronald Lusker, who is the proprietor of a bed-and-breakfast 50 miles west of New Paltz, N.Y., called the De Bruce Country Inn. He couldn’t be reached for comment.
According to Marilyn, the credentials of the construction company checked out, because they were allowed to sign on the ground-level space. But as soon as the building’s owners left the city, the new tenants immediately went to work on turning the space into an environment more hospitable to a house of ill repute.
“They had transformed it within a week,” Marilyn said. “They worked night and day. That was apparently what the construction company was for.”
Soon, however, the building’s neighbors realized that something wasn’t kosher, and they called Mr. Lusker.
“They told him that it didn’t look like the right things were going on there,” said Marilyn. “They weren’t moving in ladders, in other words.”
Marilyn said that soon after Mr. Lusker learned about the brothel, the tenants were in police custody. The building owners immediately thereafter commenced an eviction proceeding and forced the tenants out.
“It took us a year to renovate [the space] again after they left,” said Marilyn.
Then again, Marilyn said, it wasn’t all bad.
“Our tenants thought it was a hoot,” she allowed. “[The madams] were in no way disruptive or noisy.”
Not that it was a completely victimless crime. Neighbors who live in the immediate vicinity of 43 Crosby Street say that in recent years, brothels have sprouted up like mushrooms all over the neighborhood.
Judy Olson, who runs a furniture store in Tribeca called Butter & Eggs, lives at 27 Howard Street, just a few blocks from 43 Crosby. She characterized the block as something akin to a “red-light district” and said that it’s a routine occurrence for men to ring her door buzzer in the early-morning hours, in the mistaken impression that Ms. Olson is herself running a brothel.
“You’ll answer the buzzer, and they’ll say either ‘Massage’ or ‘I want sex!’ I’ve heard it all. [On June 5], it went off at 3, 4 and 5 o’clock in the morning. It’s kind of irritating.”
Ms. Olson said that she’s been in constant contact with the NYPD’s Fifth Precinct, which has made several major busts in the neighborhood. At the same time, Ms. Olson said, the police are often powerless to act, because they need to catch the prostitute and her john in the act-a task made more complicated by the fact that many of the brothels are ostensibly massage parlors.
“We’re by no means rabid about people not doing business in our neighborhood,” Ms. Olson said. “But this used to be a quiet, idyllic street, and now it’s a place where I don’t feel comfortable walking alone at night.”