Tribeca’s Off the Menu

Robert De Niro isn’t the only Tribecanto decide that he’s had enough of the trendy neighborhood. Restaurateur and chef Jean-Georges

Robert De Niro isn’t the only Tribecanto decide that he’s had enough of the trendy neighborhood. Restaurateur and chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten has severed his last remaining real-estate tie to the area as well, as his Richard Meier–designed loft in the Perry Street towers is nearing completion.

Earlier this month, the owner of Vong, (Mercer) Kitchen and 66 put his Tribeca loft in the Textile Building at 66 Leonard Street onthemarketfor $3.29 million.

Mr. Vongerichten was traveling and unreachable for comment, but a spokesperson confirmed the gourmand has put his 2,813-square-foot loft on the market and will now be moving into his 10th-floor spread in the glass-encased Richard Meier tower at 176 Perry Street. Dolly Lenz of Douglas Elliman shares the exclusive listing with fellow Elliman broker Jay Schneider.

In fact, the place was never more than an expensive stopgap for Mr. Vongerichten. In February 2001, he paid $2.6 million for the 11th-floor apartment at 66 Leonard Street after the fish-tank towers designed by Mr. Meier at Perry Street fell behind schedule. At the time, Mr. Vongerichten was renting two floors in a brownstone on West 14th Street and Seventh Avenue, but decided he wanted to buy at 66 Leonard Street. The building, designed by Henry J. Hardenbergh, the architect of the Plaza and the Dakota, has 46 lofts in addition to its penthouses and offers a library, a lounge for private parties, a health club and a landscaped roof terrace. Mr. Vongerichten’s brother Philippe, who supplies cheese to Mr. Vongerichten’s six New York restaurants, owns a $1.1 million apartment in the building as well.

Mr. Vongerichten’s spread features three bedrooms, three and a half baths, and north and west exposures overlooking Tribeca’s historic converted warehouses, which have been renovated with lofts much like Mr. Vongerichten’s posh spread. A source who recently toured the apartment said, “It’s very modern, but the price is outrageous.”

Mr. Vongerichten’s relationship with Mr. Meier doesn’t appear to have suffered as a result of the Perry Street building’s tardiness: The chef retained the architect to design not just his apartment but his restaurant, 66, which he owns with his business partner Phil Suarez. The restaurant, on the ground floor of the 66 Leonard Street building on the corner of Church Street, received positive reviews from Gourmet and The New York Times , but made headlines in August when Vanity Fair food writer A.A. Gill did a hatchet job on the place in a piece titled “Rote 66.” (Mr. Gill likened one of the items on the nouveau-Chinese menu to “fishy liver-filled condoms.”) Mr. Vongerichten dismissed the review and, not to be deterred, plans to open a restaurant at the Perry Street towers after he moves in. Again close to home, Mr. Vongerichten will be able to serve up gourmet cuisine to neighbors Calvin Klein, Vincent Gallo and-if she doesn’t end up eating gruel à la detention -domestic diva Martha Stewart.

Although Tribeca real estate has rebounded to pre–Sept. 11 levels, the new year has already seen certain high-profile residents ditching the nabe. Recently, the New York Post reported that Tribeca booster Robert De Niro has listed his triplex for $14 million. And just before the holidays, fellow actor Mandy Patinkin sold his Laight Street loft for $1.85 million.

Wall Street financier Michael Price is looking to kick off 2004 with a real-estate profit on his recent Upper East Side apartment swap. In the fall, Mr. Price-the former head of the Mutual Shares fund, where he managed $20 billion in assets-plunked down $14 million for socialite Pia Getty’s ornate mansion at 20 East 78th Street. But after scoring the gilded Getty residence, he has now placed his 4,500-square-foot apartment at 838 Fifth Avenue on the market for $17.9 million.

Mr. Price listed the spread just before the holidays. The three-bedroom apartment, on the corner of 65th Street and Fifth Avenue, features full views of Central Park, mahogany doors and a foyer with a limestone-tiled floor. “It was renovated in a tasteful, traditional style,” said one source who had recently toured the spread. Maria Torresy of Brown Harris Stevens, who has the exclusive, declined to comment. An attorney for Mr. Price also declined to comment on the recent listing.

If Mr. Price does unload at 838 Fifth Avenue, he won’t need to spend the extra money renovating the lavish Getty spread, one of the Upper East Side’s most exclusive houses. The six-floor townhouse features all the usual Upper East Side luxuries, such as four spacious bedrooms and seven bathrooms, but the mansion’s most striking feature is its high-tech security system, which can stop any irate investors who might be seeking retribution for some of Mr. Price’s former business decisions: The front gate locks with a key-card entry computer, and the front door is bulletproof and even battering-ram-proof. (Take that, Eliot Spitzer!)

Inside the apartment, infrared scanners and cameras monitor the premises for intruders, and the apartment even features an impenetrable “panic room,” of the kind made famous in the 2002 Jodie Foster thriller.

The East 78th Street apartment first went on the market in 2001 for $16 million, before Mr. Price won the bid for $14 million this fall. Back in November 2000, Mr. Price bought his 838 Fifth Avenue spread for $13.7 million; he has now listed for more than $4 million above the purchase price.

The Wall Street tycoon is no stranger to plunking down large sums. In 1997, Mr. Price-once proclaimed “the scariest S.O.B. on Wall Street” by Fortune magazine-donated $18 million to the University of Oklahoma Business School, which appropriately renamed itself the Michael F. Price College of Business.

Upper West Side

2 Columbus Avenue Two-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bathroom condo. Asking: $1.495 million. Selling: $1.475 million. Time on the market: five days.

HIPPER WEST SIDE The Upper West Side is known for many things-leafy streets, sidewalk stroller-derbies and abundant shopping-but usually not for cutting-edge hipness. The owners of this apartment near Lincoln Center-a couple in their 40’s who own a gallery on 57th Street-decided to relocate to the epicenter of New York’s gallery world, Chelsea, and scored a trendy loft. But the advanced design they left behind in their uptown condo attracted a young aspiring actress and model in her late 20’s, who was living across the street. When she saw the apartment listed on the Internet, she made her move. “As soon as she saw it on the Web site, within the hour they were on the phone with me,” said Corcoran broker Bob Mazzola, who had the exclusive. “She was the first person to put offers in.” The actress will now be able to rehearse her scenes in a 1,447-square-foot apartment that features open city views, nine-foot ceilings, oversize windows, a windowed granite kitchen, marble baths, and a built-in washer and dryer. The luxury also extends outside to the 700-square-foot wrap-around terrace; and the four-year-old building comes complete with the usual luxuries of the polished Upper West Side, including private storage, video security and a health club.

Murray Hill

160 East 38th Street One-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bathroom co-op. Asking: $660,000. Selling: $640,000. Maintenance: $1,499; 65 percent tax-deductible. Time on the market: six weeks.

GUT INSTINCT New York is a city of reinvention. Bustling Manhattanites jostle into spas, salons and health clubs in a never-ending cycle of self-improvement. Neighborhoods get gentrified and made over with shining new buildings and tony restaurants and boutiques. Many Manhattan apartment buyers extend this constant drive for personal betterment to their residential purchases. When these commercial architects in their 50’s bought this Murray Hill one-bedroom, it was as much for the location and apartment’s spacious layout as the actual design. “They are doing an A-to-Z renovation,” said Deborah Tzuri, a sales associate with Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy who represented the sellers, a couple who relocated to Long Island to start a family. “They are really ripping apart the apartment and making it new. They like the minimal look; it’s going to be very contemporary.” The 1,100-square-foot apartment features open views of the Empire State Building and the historic Murray Hill brownstones, as well as a foyer and a windowed eat-in kitchen. An added bonus was the proximity to the buyers’ midtown office, where they do design work for a roster of clients that includes Citibank. The Murray Hill Muse building was built in 1974, but like the architects’ apartment, it’s under renovation; the private health club and swimming pool are getting an update. Jane Cibener, a senior vice president with the Corcoran Group, represented the buyers.

Greenwich Village

43 Fifth Avenue Two-bedroom, two-bathroom co-op. Asking: $2.89 million. Selling: $2.35 million. Maintenance: $2,574; 50 percent tax-deductible. Time on market: six months.

REAR WINDOW A middle-aged real-estate investor had been living across the street from this building, ogling its penthouse apartment from his own window for several years. The day he saw that the owners (a successful playwright, producer and artist and his psychiatrist wife) had put the 1,600-square-foot apartment on the market, he pounced-and brought all of his deal-making skills to work. “He knew he wanted it,” said Douglas Elliman broker Leonard Steinberg, who represented the seller with Hervé Senequier. The building counts actress Julia Roberts among its tenants, and the restored Emery Roth–designed lobby-wildly popular among location managers for fashion shoots and television commercials-would be almost as familiar to many New Yorkers. The two-bedroom apartment features a living room with arched walls and views over Greenwich Village. But the apartment’s defining feature is its meticulously maintained 800-square-foot roof terrace. The previous owners had cultivated a formal English country-style garden complete with a trellis and a built-in sprinkler system. “They had spent years planning the garden,” Mr. Steinberg said. “You could see blue jays feeding at the water trough-it was really remarkable.” Tribeca’s Off the Menu