Ford Redux

Automobile heiress and etiquette maven Charlotte Ford is in the midst of a Southampton holiday house-swap. The daughter of the late Henry Ford II of the Ford Motor Company dynasty and the author of 21st-Century Etiquette just listed her sprawling Southampton estate for $15 million in November, a month after she purchased a modest one-acre lot in nearby Southampton Village for $2.125 million.

“It was a beautiful piece of land in the estate area on Lake Agawam,” said Joan Abrahams of Sotheby’s International Realty when asked to describe the new property she sold to Ms. Ford.

It’s a lot smaller than the lavish estate in Southampton she’s selling now. That house, a 1970 French stucco-style mansion, sits on 7.4 acres with private beach access on Squabble Lane and features six bedrooms, five and a half bathrooms and a separate two-bedroom guest cottage. Other amenities include a tennis court, swimming pool with a pool house, garden, eat-in kitchen, three fireplaces and a three-car garage.

Peter Hallock, the president of Allan M. Schneider Associates, which is selling Ms. Ford’s Squabble Lane spread, was not available for comment.

When Ms. Ford finds a buyer for her Squabble Lane home, they will share the same Southampton block with tennis-heckler-turned-sports-commentator John McEnroe, who bought a neighboring two-acre, eight-bedroom perch for $4.2 million in 1999.

Ms. Ford’s new property, which was subdivided from a two-acre plot, features private access to Lake Agawam, and is known for its meticulously maintained gardens. Brokers familiar with the property say that Ms. Ford plans to build a new residence.

Ms. Ford was unavailable to comment on her Southampton Village purchase.

Her most recent real-estate move is part of a long Ford family history in the Hamptons. In Southampton, Henry Ford built his sprawling, 16,000-square-foot beachfront compound, Fordune, which originally spread across 227 prime beachfront acres before the family sold off the property in 1975. The massive European chateau-style home was known as one of the most exquisite properties in the Hamptons and featured a 48-foot living room with French parquet floors, molded ceilings with chandeliers and Italian marble fireplaces, and landscaped gardens on the beachfront grounds.

In January 2002, Carlo Traglio, an Italian businessman who bought the mansion in 1975 from Mr. Ford’s ex-wife, Anne McDonnell, for an astonishingly low $1.8 million, sold the former Ford residence for $21.7 million-well below the $35 million asking price.

Tommy Mottola, the venerated pop-music hit-maker, former Sony Music chief and ex–Mariah Carey beau, is used to churning out chart-topping acts-except when it comes to Manhattan real estate. In his beleaguered attempts to sell his lavish 9 East 64th Street apartment, which occupies four floors of a 35-foot-wide townhouse, Mr. Mottola bombed. While the quadruplex apartment was rumored to have sold for more than $20 million, city records show that in September, Mr. Mottola sold his 11,000-square-foot condo for $13.8 million-well below its original stratospheric asking price of $34 million. In 1999, Mr. Mottola purchased the former apartment of DreamWorks co-founder David Geffen for $13.3 million, before he dramatically renovated the apartment with shining marble and a new high-tech security system. Brokers familiar with the apartment say that Mr. Mottola invested more than $10 million in the renovation, which included a new kitchen, imported marble and a landscaped rear garden. The new owner of Mr. Mottola’s 64th Street mansion purchased the apartment through a corporate name, city records show.

Mr. Mottola, the head of Casablanca Records, first put the mansion on the market for $34 million back in November 2002 with celebrity broker Deborah Grubman. After failing to garner interest from prospective buyers, Mr. Mottola reduced the price to $29 million in November, and then down to its final asking price, a modest $27 million, in January.

Ms. Grubman of the Corcoran Group, who had the exclusive listing, declined to comment. Through a spokesperson, Mr. Mottola declined to comment on his 64th Street tank.

The four-floor apartment covers more than 11,000 square feet and features eight bedrooms, nine and a half baths and an open country kitchen. Monthly maintenance charges run to more than $10,000.

“For that amount of money, potential buyers didn’t want somebody sharing the elevator,” said a broker who had recently shown the spread. “The price was outrageous.”

But Mr. Mottola’s recent real-estate transactions should have numbed him to the sting of selling at more than a 50 percent loss from his asking price. Mr. Mottola took advantage of a soft market last November, when he landed ex-Tyco executive Mark Swartz’s duplex penthouse at 30 East 85th Street for $9.25 million-much lower than the apartment’s $15.9 million asking price. And after scoring that steal, Mr. Mottola just sold his 19,500-square-foot Miami estate to Sean (P. Diddy) Combs, the hip-hop impresario turned marathon runner, for a reported $20 million. Back in 1999-one year after his split from Ms. Carey-Mr. Mottola unloaded his unfinished Central Park West condo to chief Jeff Bezos for $7.65 million, which was $350,000 less than what Mr. Mottola had paid for the three conjoined condos four months previously. Mr. Mottola’s vast real-estate holdings, which span from Florida to Westchester County, have been hit by the fluctuations at the highest end of the luxury real-estate market.

At East 64th Street, Mr. Mottola’s lavish quadruplex sits on one of the most exclusive-and expensive-blocks in Manhattan. In the past two years, more than $100 million in real estate has hit the market on 64th Street on the blocks between Fifth Avenue and Park Avenue: most notably, the townhouse for Edgar Bronfman Jr., the new Warner Music chief (asking price: $40 million), and Guy Wildenstein’s double-wide mansion at 11-13 East 64th Street (asking price: $35 million). Both properties have since been taken off the market, but 22 East 64th Street, the 25-foot-wide mansion owned by the estate of the late Lillian Berkman, is still up for grabs for a paltry $19.5 million. Fred Williams, of Sotheby’s International Realty, has the listing.

Recent Transactions in the Real Estate Market


443 East 87th Street

Five-bedroom, seven-bathroom townhouse.

Asking: $3.75 million. Selling: $3.45 million.

Time on the market: seven months.

COMMUTER SCIENCE Buyers in Manhattan usually factor in their commute when they decide to purchase new real estate, and close proximity to work is a big selling point for apartments near midtown’s office towers. So when these two therapists found this Upper East Side townhouse, where they could run their practice on the ground level and live on the upper floors, the short “commute” had them sold. “The fact they could put their practice downstairs was a big plus,” said Lydia Rosengarten of Leslie J. Garfield, who represented the sellers, a stockbroker and a fashion designer in their 40’s. “We had a long contract period while they sold their midtown office, but in the end, they really wanted the new place,” Ms. Rosengarten said. Paula Del Nunzio of Brown Harris Stevens represented the buyers, who had been living in midtown near their psychology practice. The couple, both in their 50’s, will see patients in the comfort of their recently renovated 5,200-square-foot townhouse. The five-bedroom home on a tree-lined block near First Avenue features hardwood floors, four wood-burning fireplaces, a modern open kitchen on the parlor floor, high ceilings, open sliding glass windows and a landscaped rear garden.


200 Riverside Boulevard

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

Asking: $1.2 million. Selling: $1.21 million.

Time on the market: 61 days.

VIEWS TRUMP ALL Residents of the Upper West Side are known for being ardent boosters of the leafy neighborhood’s convenient amenities, such as close proximity to two parks and prime shopping along Broadway, not to mention the smoked salmon at Zabar’s and the deli counter at Barney Greengrass. So when this newly married couple in their 30’s was about to start a family, they knew they didn’t want to move far from their one-bedroom condo near Broadway. The Wall Street husband and his attorney wife found their answer in a two-bedroom condo at the newly built Trump Place on the corner of Riverside Boulevard and 70th Street. “They needed a bigger place, but the real draw for them at Trump was the views from their 43rd-floor apartment,”said Lawrence Schier of the Corcoran Group, who had the exclusive. The seller, who’s in his late 20’s and works in finance, had relocated to California and needed to unload his Trump spread. The newlyweds will now enjoy direct views of Central Park, the George Washington Bridge, downtown Manhattan and the Empire State Building. The 1,350-square-foot apartment also features nine-foot ceilings, herringbone-patterned hardwood floors, a windowed kitchen and marble baths-and, like all of Mr. Trump’s hotel-like developments, the building offers access to the building’s health club and a concierge service.


2 Horatio Street

One-bedroom, one-bathroom co-op.

Asking: $549,000. Selling: $540,000.

Maintenance: $1,037; 57 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: nine months.

bing- bling ! With cutting-edge design stores such as Marc Jacobs and the Italian furniture-maker Vitra in the nearby meatpacking district, this artistic interior designer in her 20’s felt right at home in this, her new West Village one-bedroom. And her design studio is in the West 20’s, only a short subway ride away. “She had a friend in the building, so it was a perfect match for her,” said J. Arnstein of Douglas Elliman, who represented the buyer along with fellow Douglas Elliman broker Frank Lemann. In addition to being in the heart of the hip West Village, the young designer also scored a spread in the sought-after Bing and Bing building, one of the neighborhood’s residential landmarks. The storied Bing and Bing development company, one of the icons of Manhattan real estate from the early 20th century, built hotels and apartments after its founding in 1906, including tony buildings on Park Avenue, along with four properties in the West Village like this Art Deco number. The 800-square-foot apartment at 2 Horatio features a wood-burning fireplace, beamed nine-foot ceilings, oak floors and three walk-in closets, and the designer plans to renovate the kitchen to match her refined tastes. Edward Korn, also of Douglas Elliman, represented the seller. Ford Redux