My, Oh Meier!

Universal Television chairman Michael Jackson has plunked down $2.6 million for a 1,808-square-foot eighth-floor loft in the Richard Meier–designed towers

Universal Television chairman Michael Jackson has plunked down $2.6 million for a 1,808-square-foot eighth-floor loft in the Richard Meier–designed towers on Perry Street in Greenwich Village, city records show.

He joins a parade of better-known names marching into the twin glass towers, including Martha Stewart, Ian Schrager, Calvin Klein, Jean-Georges Vongerichten and, recently (though he’s a renter!), Hugh Jackman, according to the New York Post .

Mr. Jackson’s Universal Television, part of the $14 billion merger between NBC and Vivendi Universal that was completed in October, has produced hit comedies and drama series including Just Shoot Me , The Agency and Law and Order , the longest-running drama series on prime time. He’ll now be able to enjoy sprawling views of the Hudson River and the West Village from his glass-encased perch.

A spokesperson for Mr. Jackson said that he was traveling internationally and wasn’t available for comment. Elizabeth Unger of the Sunshine Group, who had the exclusive listing, declined to comment on Mr. Jackson’s move.

Not everyone has remained keen on the buildings since buying there. Martha Stewart’s penthouse is currently on the market for $7.2 million, and the 10th-floor triplex is listing for $19.5 million. Mr. Klein and Mr. Schrager have yet to move into their apartments. And according to brokers familiar with the building, some of the unoccupied lofts have had numerous leaks during this summer’s torrential rains, which caused water to cascade into the unfinished apartments.

“We had an initial leak with the heavy rain,” said Joe Costaldo, a textile designer for brands including Armani, Calvin Klein and Banana Republic, who is one of the few residents to have moved in. “I called the developer and had the problem taken care of.”

“There were some drainage issues; there were problems with terrace drains,” said Richard Born, the developer of the Perry Street buildings. “The managing agents called, we got people involved, and that was that. It’s fixed.”

Even with the setbacks at Perry Street, Mr. Meier, 69, continues to turn his high-profile architecture into lucrative development projects. In October, Mr. Meier, who won the 1984 Pritzker Architecture Prize (the field’s Nobel Prize), looked to extend his brand to unlikely markets. With projects like the $1 billion Getty Center in Los Angeles, the Jubilee Church in Rome and the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art already to his credit, Mr. Meier has taken on such new projects as the modish Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant 66 in Tribeca, which opened in January-and last month he unveiled a lucite champagne carrying case commissioned by Dom Perignon. Like other star designers, including Michael Graves and Philippe Starck, Mr. Meier’s name has been popping up more and more as a selling point.

This week, the developer juggernauts Izak Senbahar and Simon Elias-the team that built the $138 million Grand Beekman at East 51st Street and the $70 million David Rockwell–designed Alex Hotel at East 45th Street-will break ground on the third Richard Meier tower at 165 Charles Street. The building will be complete by spring 2005, and this time Mr. Meier gets to design the shower curtains.

The $80 million project is considerably more ambitious than Mr. Meier’s Perry Street towers. The 16-story building will feature 32 apartments with 11-foot ceilings that will cost approximately $2,500 per square foot. While Mr. Meier designed the Perry Street towers as raw space, he will completely outfit the Charles Street building, designing everything from kitchen space to the bathroom fixtures.

“This will be a different product; they will be Richard Meier–designed homes. This is an architect that designed churches and museums,” Mr. Senbahar said. “The interior design is as important as the exterior design.”

The building, where apartments will start at $5 million, will feature luxury amenities like a 12,000-square-foot finished cellar, a professional screening room with 36 seats (also designed by Mr. Meier), a 50-foot swimming pool with a cascading waterfall, an exercise room and a wine cellar that can store 360 bottles for each apartment.

“This building is for people who want a unique lifestyle,” Mr. Senbahar said.

Recent Transactions in the Real Estate Market


502 East 87th Street

Four-bedroom, five-and-a-half-bathroom townhouse.

Asking: $2.6 million. Selling: $2.59 million.

Time on market: 10 days.

BALI HAI! The husband-and-wife owners of this newly renovated 18-foot-wide townhouse, who are in the import-export business, had planned an “export” of their own: They were moving to Jakarta, Indonesia, to be closer to family. But two weeks before their departure date, the Indonesian couple had yet to find a buyer for their townhouse on a tree-lined block near East End Avenue, where they lived with their three children. “There was a sense of urgency to sell,” said their broker, Suzanne Sealy, a senior vice president at William B. May, who had the listing along with fellow broker Toni Simon. “They wanted to have the deal finished before they left.” Luckily, the sellers-both in their 40’s-found a Manhattan family who fell for the building’s charm and prime location near the exclusive private schools Chapin and Brearley. After the husband, a real-estate investor, saw the property, he had his wife fly down from their country home on the Maine coast to view the townhouse the next day, and they went to contract within the week. The deal worked out for everyone, and the former owners are now happily settled in Indonesia. The townhouse features hardwood floors, a parlor, two wood-burning fireplaces and a downstairs library that opens out to a private south-facing garden. Faith Einhorn of David Day Real Estate represented the buyers.

233 East 69th Street

Three-bedroom, three-bathroom co-op.

Asking: $795,000. Selling: $775,000.

Maintenance: $2,507; 46 percent tax-deductible.

Time on market: seven months.

DOW, AND OUT! Recent economic reports show that by many measures, the financial slump is abating. The Dow is up, Wall Street is rebounding and, last quarter, the gross domestic product surged at an annual 8.2 percent rate. The owners of this three-bedroom, three-bathroom co-op would likely agree that good times are returning, since they decided to trade up this newly renovated apartment for a larger Upper East Side spread. “They wanted a larger, more upscale place,” said David Del Monte, an associate broker with the Corcoran Group who represented the buyers. His clients, a couple with two children, had been renting on the Upper East Side for the past year. Both attorneys, they decided to take advantage of historically low interests rates and snag a slice of Manhattan’s real-estate market. “Financially, it was more advantageous for them to buy than rent,” Mr. Del Monte said. The 1,700-square-foot apartment was renovated five years ago and features granite countertops, crown moldings, north and east exposures, full skyline views, marble baths and access to the building’s common roof deck. Carol Shainswit, also of the Corcoran Group, represented the sellers.

My, Oh Meier!