The Central Park West apartment that was home to Harrison Ford and his soon-to-be ex-wife, screenwriter Melissa Mathison, has hit the market for $18 million. The duplex apartment spans the 14th and 15th floors of 101 Central Park West, one of the Upper West Side’s most sought-after buildings.
Mr. Ford hasn’t been living in the apartment since the fall of 2000, when he first separated from Ms. Mathison; but because their divorce hasn’t been finalized yet, it’s unclear exactly who owns the unit. The broker on the deal declined to comment, as did Mr. Ford’s spokesman. Ms. Mathison’s lawyer, Susan Carter, was almost equally as tight-lipped.
“People can agree to sell assets whether the divorce is finalized or not,” she said, “but I’m not at liberty to tell you whose asset [the apartment] is.”
The 12-room duplex spread combines two original apartments that Mr. Ford and Ms. Mathison purchased at different times. Records were not available for the 14th-floor purchase, but the couple closed on the 15th-floor apartment in late 1997 for $2.725 million.
“I originally sold [the 15th-floor unit] as a separate apartment,” said Daniel Douglas, the executive director of the Corcoran Group’s West Side office, who is also marketing another apartment in the building, at $10.5 million. “It was a very graceful apartment with excellent scale.”
Ms. Mathison, the screenwriter of such films as The Black Stallion and Kundun , has been married to Mr. Ford since 1983. They met on the set of Apocalypse Now , a film in which Mr. Ford had a bit part and Ms. Mathison was an executive assistant. They have two children, Malcom, 16, and Georgia, 12. The family used to split their time between New York and an 800-acre ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyo. In the fall of 2000, however, rumors began to swirl that their 17-year marriage was on the rocks, and in November of that year the couple announced that they had been living apart for a month. Ms. Mathison filed for a legal separation nine months later.
The apartment they shared on Central Park West has four bedrooms, four bathrooms and 30 feet of frontage on the Park. The lower floor has a dark-paneled library with a wet bar, a formal dining room, a windowed breakfast area and a custom kitchen. The upstairs master bedroom has seven windows (five of them on the park) and a wood-burning fireplace.
In January 2002, Mr. Ford closed on a 5,000-square-foot penthouse near Sixth Avenue in Chelsea. He made the purchase just a few weeks before the news broke of his relationship with Ally McBeal actress Calista Flockhart. They’re not engaged, but during a recent publicity tour for his new film, Hollywood Homicide , Mr. Ford was asked by a reporter if he was really in love with Ms. Flockhart. He reportedly snapped back: “Do you think we moved in together to save on rent?”
YOUNG ZIFF LANDS PARK AVE. SPRAWL, SHELLS OUT $17.2 M. OF HIS FORTUNE
Publishing heir Robert Ziff has dipped into his estimated $1.2 billion inheritance to secure a perch in one of the city’s most exclusive Park Avenue co-op buildings. Mr. Ziff, who is in his mid-30’s, closed in April on a $17.2 million, 18-room apartment at a white-glove building on Park in the 70’s. The price is among the highest ever paid for a New York apartment, and Mr. Ziff is certainly one of the youngest people ever to land a trophy address on this part of Park Avenue, known as the Gold Coast.
Mr. Ziff declined to comment on the deal.
The duplex apartment, on the building’s 13th and 14th floors, last belonged to Susan Stevenson Woodward, the ex-wife of Charles Stevenson, a private investor and former hedge-fund manager. Reached at her home in Southampton, Ms. Stevenson also declined to comment on any aspect of the deal, citing confidentiality agreements. Before she owned the apartment, however, it belonged to Lucia Chase, the co-founder and former director of the American Ballet Theater.
The apartment’s new owner is the son of William Ziff Jr., the former chief executive and chairman of the Ziff-Davis media empire, which publishes technology-centric titles like PC Magazine , Electronic Gaming Monthly and eWeek . The Ziff family sold their stake in the company in 1994, and Robert Ziff and his two brothers, Dirk and Daniel, went on to found Ziff Brothers Investments, which they now run. Forbes magazine last year ranked both brothers at No. 167 on its annual list of the 400 Richest Americans, with an estimated $1.2 billion apiece.
Mr. Ziff’s new home is the largest unit in the Park Avenue building. The 6,000-square-foot duplex has an incredible seven bedrooms and nine and a half bathrooms, and the service quarters include six maids’ rooms and a servants’ dining area. Mr. Ziff’s spread has three exposures, with full city and park views, and a terrace.
Ms. Stevenson originally put the apartment on the market on Sept. 30, 2002, for $22 million, but dropped the price in October to $19 million.
Mr. Ziff’s last residence was a 3,100-square-foot three-bedroom apartment at Trump International Hotel & Tower, located at 1 Central Park West. He paid about $5 million for the condo in June of 2001, and it has yet to hit the market.
RECENT TRANSACTIONS IN THE REAL ESTATE MARKET
UPPER WEST SIDE
801 West End Avenue
Two-bedroom, one-bathroom co-op.
Asking: $850,000. Selling: $850,000.
Maintenance: $1,119; 35 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: three weeks.
DOOM AND BOARD Margaret H. Velard, a senior vice president at the Corcoran Group, said this deal represented “the worst situation of idiocy and stupidity on the part of the buyers that I’ve ever seen in my entire life.” This apartment, on which she had an exclusive, hit the market in September 2002. The buyers who ended up closing on the apartment-two investment bankers in their late 20’s-put in a bid at the asking price after the first open house. They signed a contract within three weeks, and everything was looking good. Two months later, however, the co-op board sent word that they were unconvinced about the buyers’ ability to foot the bills. They wanted the buyers to supply a guarantor. This perceived slight made the buyers instantly sour on the building, and they made noises about walking away. “They were insulted,” Ms. Velard said. “It got their undies in a knot.” As the buyers’ anger festered, the sellers’ nerves frayed. They were undergoing an amicable divorce, and the soon-to-be ex-wife had already signed a contract on another place-the purchase of which was contingent upon the timely sale of her old apartment. So as a last-ditch effort to ease the co-op board’s reservations about the buyers, the sellers offered to put a year’s worth of maintenance on their old apartment in escrow. The board actually went for this plan, but the buyers felt insulted again. “They kept arguing, ‘Why should [the sellers] have to put it up? We don’t want them to,'” said Ms. Velard. And for the next three months, according to Ms. Velard, the buyers did “everything in their power to pull out of the deal,” mostly by repeatedly canceling their closings within 24 hours of the scheduled date. Finally, seven months after signing the contract, the buyers finally capitulated-though not, according to Ms. Velard, because they had decided to swallow their pride. They had to close because the wife was pregnant.
UPPER EAST SIDE
118 East 60th Street
One-bedroom, one-bathroom co-op.
Asking: $395,000. Selling: $375,000.
Maintenance: $1,056; 50 percent tax-deductible.
Time on the market: approximately three weeks.
CHARITY BEGETS A HOME The previous owner of this apartment works for a nonprofit organization that helps to place women in the financial industry worldwide. But after six years of sharing this one-bedroom unit with her young daughter, it finally came time for this mother to place herself in a larger space. A three-bedroom spread on Fifth Avenue and 107th Street ended up fitting the bill nicely. But when it came time to pick her successor at her co-op building, she found herself facing a little quandary: Three suitors to the apartment had each placed bids within $5,000 of one another. Typically in situations like that, sellers will give the apartment to whichever bidder seems most likely to pass muster with the co-op board. The need for that kind of calculus was especially acute for this seller because, according to her broker, Tristan Harper, a senior vice president at Douglas Elliman, the board of 118 East 60th is known for having strict requirements and it had, in recent months, sent down a few rejections. In the end, however, the seller didn’t base her decision on the candidate’s financial situation-not entirely, anyway. She chose a single guy in his mid-20’s who had quit a lucrative consulting job and founded a nonprofit philanthropic organization that sponsors research in the environmental sciences. “She felt a kinship with him because of his choice of working for a nonprofit,” said Mr. Harper. “Basically, she took a risk.” Her risk was rewarded when the board accepted his application.
108 Fifth Avenue
One-bedroom, one-bathroom condo.
Asking: $515,000. Selling: $506,000.
Charges: $419.26. Taxes: $708.71.
Time on the market: one week.
PRUDENT HOUSING It may be time to add one more category to the list of an apartment’s marketable features, one that synthesizes everything from square-footage and views to layout, finishings and light into a neat little bundle: feng shui. That’s what made the difference in this deal, anyway. New York University music student Jiseon Kim wanted a place close to school, but she also needed a space that would channel some positive vibes. For the task, she enlisted some serious familial aid. Ms. Kim’s sister helped to scout apartments, even though she was in the third trimester of her pregnancy. Ms. Kim’s brother-in-law handled most of the negotiations, despite also working long hours in a medical residency. Even Ms. Kim’s mother descended upon the scene-and she had to come from Korea. Their search appeared to end at this 800-square-foot unit on the corner of 16th Street and Fifth Avenue. According to Ms. Kim’s broker, Mary Nealie of Charles H. Greenthal & Co., the apartment’s east-facing balcony and wide-open city views convinced the family that they had found their feng shui Shangri-La. But they weren’t the only ones who thought so. A higher bidder swooped in at the last minute and began to draw up papers. Distressed, the Kim family set about on another search, all the while asking Ms. Nealie, “Isn’t there anything like 108 Fifth?” To their delight, however, the higher bidder’s deal collapsed within a week, and the Kims made a second offer, this time sealing the deal. Within a week of the closing in May, the family’s faith in feng shui was apparently rewarded: Ms. Lee became an aunt when her sister gave birth to a healthy baby. Michael Signet of Akam Associates Inc. had the exclusive.