Barry Cashes Out

Prolific director and producer Barry Sonnenfeld, best known for directing the Hollywood blockbuster Men in Black and its sequel, has sold his 10,000-square-foot Amagansett mansion at 50 Broadview Avenue for $8.87 million.

The sale is a downscaling for Mr. Sonnenfeld, 50, who recently sought to replace his summer home by paying a paltry $1.895 million for a four-bedroom spread in North Haven that features a pool and water views. The New York–born director and his wife, producer Susan Ringo, split time between their numerous properties around the country, including a $5.6 million loft in the financial district, along with their Hamptons mansion.

“He owns other properties around the country, so he bought something else out here that was smaller,” said Peter Turino, a broker at the East Hampton branch of Dunemere Associates Real Estate, who had Mr. Sonnenfeld’s exclusive listing.

While it may not quite seem like the director of such hits as Get Shorty and The Addams Family will be roughing it in a $2 million house, his new place is modest by Hamptons standards. At 50 Broadview, Mr. Sonnenfeld leaves behind a 10,000-square-foot mansion with seven bedrooms, nine and a half baths, and a pool and three-car garage on the property’s two bay front acres. Mr. Sonnenfeld first listed the spread for $10 million in September, and unlike so many Hamptons trophy homes that languish on the market with stratospheric asking prices, Mr. Sonnenfeld briskly unloaded his mansion in one month.

Mr. Sonnenfeld was not available for comment.

Lana Wolkonsky, the daughter of the late Russian Prince André Gregorivich Wolkonsky, recently sold the sprawling family estate at 1610 Meadow Lane in Southampton Village for $21 million. The sale, finalized in October at the tail end of the frenzied summer real-estate market, was one of the biggest closings in the Hamptons in 2003.

The modish 11,000-square-foot Wolkonsky estate was built in 1988 in a postmodern design and features 10 bedrooms, nine and a half baths and eight fireplaces. Across its seven and a half acres are such luxury amenities (and Hamptons staples) as a pool, Har-Tru tennis court and private access to the oceanfront. The mansion was renovated and expanded in 1996, and was first listed for $26 million last January. The price dropped to $22 million in July, and Ms. Wolkonsky closed the deal at $21 million in October.

Christina Galesi, of Sotheby’s International Realty’s Bridgehampton office, did not return calls for comment.

Ms. Wolkonsky, 43, hails from a storied New York family with a royal pedigree. Her father, the late Prince André Gregorivich Wolkonsky, who emigrated from Russia, was a vice president at Morgan Guaranty Trust Company of New York, and her mother was a concert pianist.

Like her mother, Ms. Wolkonsky pursued a vocation in music and graduated from the Juilliard School (where she studied piano) before marrying Nicholas Forstmann, of the wool-manufacturing family that owned the Forstmann Woolen Company, in 1993. Her husband passed away in 2001.

The big-ticket sale of the Wolkonsky estate for listing broker Christina Galesi comes after a tumultuous struggle to sell the gilded castle owned by her father, real-estate developer Francesco Galesi, to Calvin Klein. In July, the New York Post reported that Mr. Klein bid $27 million for Mr. Galesi’s ornate 55,000-square-foot mansion and its 10 acres of prime Southampton property down the road from Ms. Wolkonsky’s Meadow Lane estate. But the property originally sported an outlandish $45 million price tag before dropping to $29.5 million.

At least someone in the family is making money: Ms. Galesi’s father, a former board member of the now-imploded WorldCom, resigned his post in December 2002. He heads the Galesi Group, a conglomerate with holdings in real estate, oil, gas and telecommunications.


Greenwich Village



Ray Dolby, the 70-year-old founder and chairman of Dolby Laboratories, the company that has brought surround sound to moviegoers all over the world, just spent $1.49 million for a two-bedroom spread in the historic Bing and Bing building on West 12th Street. Mr. Dolby and his wife make their permanent home in San Francisco, near the Dolby headquarters. But the company also has a New York office on Sixth Avenue, so when Mr. Dolby spends time in New York on business, he’ll be able to unwind in a 1,200-square-foot apartment that features hardwood floors, wood-burning fireplaces, oak paneling, and open views of downtown Manhattan and all of Greenwich Village.

Mr. Dolby’s latest real-estate move comes after nearly a half-century of traveling the world indulging in a number of lavish hobbies, including skiing, sailing, and flying airplanes and helicopters.

A native of Portland, Ore., he founded his company in London in 1965 and relocated the firm to San Francisco in 1976. Today, Mr. Dolby is best known for pioneering Dolby Surround Sound. In 1979, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voted him a Scientific and Engineering Award; he later earned an Oscar in 1989.

At West 12th Street, Mr. Dolby may have some high-tech sound gizmos of his own in mind. Terry Lautin, a broker with Douglas Elliman who represented the seller, wouldn’t confirm the buyer’s identity but did say, “He had some design people come in. They plan to renovate.”

Mr. Dolby was not available for comment.


45 Lispenard Street

Two-bedroom, one-bathroom co-op

Asking: $1.395 million. Selling: $1.375 million

Maintenance: $1,500; 50 percent tax-deductible

Time on the market: two weeks

Motivated Buyer Tribeca lofts with sprawling views of the New York skyline are never out of demand, but if the buyer of this 1,800-square-foot spread needed any convincing before making his purchase, he could have consulted the motivational speaker who was selling the two-bedroom apartment. But the buyer-one of the few prescient investors who made a bundle during the dot-com boom-didn’t need much encouragement once he saw the dramatic sweep of this Tribeca perch: He signed on to buy the place after the open house. The seller, a native of London in his 30’s who coaches executives of major corporations, decided to relocate to leafy Connecticut with his wife so the couple could start a family-allowing the buyer, a technology entrepreneur who’s single, to enjoy the hip downtown lifestyle. “This is a perfect New York loft that you see on television. The open space and views are striking,” said Arlene Groder, a broker with Douglas Elliman who represented the sellers. The two-bedroom loft in one of Tribeca’s marquee converted warehouses features an open kitchen and 13 windows facing north and south, including a four-foot glass pane in the master bathroom with direct views of the Empire State Building. How’s that for your morning shave? “The bathroom window was really something unique. And some of the original manufacturing details remain,” said Elliman broker Timothy Melzer, the buyer’s broker. “It feels like a real, true Manhattan loft.”

Barry Cashes Out