Temple of Doom

Things have a way of working themselves out around the holidays. Think of poor Harrison Ford and his soon-to-be ex-wife, screenwriter Melissa Mathison. Just when they thought their gilded Central Park West duplex would spend the cold winter stuck on the market, a buyer appears and signs a contract to buy the place.

It wasn’t looking good in October, when the co-op board at the exclusive 101 Central Park West turned down hedge-fund manager Gary Lieberman’s bid to buy the apartment for $16 million-and he’d signed a contract to buy the place, too.

Mr. Ford and Ms. Mathison put the apartment back on the market on Oct. 29, and last week the former couple signed a contract to unload the combined 14th- and 15th-floor spread, sources close to the building say.

The four-bedroom apartment features 30 feet of frontage overlooking the park, an upstairs master bedroom with seven windows, a wood-paneled library with a wet bar, a formal dining room, a custom kitchen and a wood-burning fireplace.

Mary Rutherford of Brown Harris Stevens, who had the exclusive listing, declined to comment.

A spokesperson for Mr. Ford declined to comment on the pending sale as well, but sources with knowledge of the building say that this time around, Mr. Ford and Ms. Mathison are sure to have taken careful consideration before choosing their buyer.

When they signed with Mr. Lieberman-who owns a $9 million apartment in the building-the co-op board declined to approve the sale, even though Mr. Lieberman was a fellow resident of the tony Central Park West co-op.

If the new contract is approved for the buyer, Mr. Ford and Ms. Mathison-the screenwriter of such films as The Black Stallion and Kundun -will be celebrating the sale apart this holiday season. The couple was married in 1983 and have two children, but in November 2000 they announced that they had been living apart for a month, and Ms. Mathison filed for a legal separation nine months later. Before the separation, the family traveled between New York and an 800-acre ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyo., but in January 2002 Mr. Ford paid $6.25 million for a 5,000-square-foot Chelsea loft near Sixth Avenue, just weeks before announcing his new paramour, the lithe Ally McBeal actress Calista Flockhart.

RECENT TRANSACTIONS IN THE REAL ESTATE MARKET

UPPER EAST SIDE

500 East 83rd Street

Three-bedroom, three-bathroom co-op.

Asking: $1.095 million.

Selling: $1.05 million.

Maintenance: $1,893;

50 percent tax-deductible.

Time on market: four and a half months.

POOLQUEUE When this Philip Morris employee was transferred from anti-tobacco New York to nicotine-friendly Richmond, Va., the biggest concern was selling his three-bedroom Upper East Side spread near York Avenue, where he’d lived with his attorney wife and three children. Although the building dates to the architecturally uncouth 1960’s (for apartment buildings in Manhattan, anyway), its lavish amenities-including an indoor pool, private health club and roof terrace-attracted a mortgage broker and his wife, a commercial real-estate broker, who had been renting in the area. “It’s very unusual to have a pool and health club in a building of that age,” said Gary Brynes of the Corcoran Group, who represented the seller along with fellow Corcoran broker Elyse Mallin. The buyers, a couple in their late 30’s, took advantage of the historically low interest rates to make the purchase. The 1,700-square-foot apartment features granite counters, wood cabinetry and a Sub-Zero refrigerator, as well as an open kitchen that complements the apartment’s southern and eastern exposures to the East River. Corcoran broker Shelly Bleier represented the buyers.

MURRAY HILL

160 East 38th Street

One-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bathroom co-op.

Asking: $550,000. Selling: $500,000.

Maintenance: $1,238; 65 percent tax-deductible.

Time on market: six weeks.

MURRAYKILL Nothing comes easy in this town, especially in the competitive real-estate market, but New Yorkers are known for their resilience-if not outright obstinance-when pursuing an object of desire (think Manolo Blahniks at a sample sale). The buyers of this Murray Hill one-bedroom didn’t let a broken deal steer them away from snagging a slice of Manhattan. After being outbid on an apartment in the building, the Long Island couple pursued a second open apartment, and their efforts were rewarded with a 1,000-square-foot corner spread. “The buyers wanted to be closer to their kids, who live in the city,” said Deborah Tzuri, a broker at Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy who had the exclusive. After selling their suburban home in Great Neck, the couple, who own a temporary-employment agency, decided they wanted the cosmopolitan Manhattan lifestyle. They plan to do extensive renovations to the apartment, which had been the home of a gentleman in his 80’s who retired and relocated to Israel. The apartment features three exposures and open views of the 19th-century Murray Hill brownstones. The gut renovation will include a new open kitchen and updated bathrooms. “They’re basically building a new home,” Ms. Tzuri said.

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Temple of Doom