The Hard Sell

The estate of banking tycoon Arthur Altschul is pulling no punches in its efforts to sell the family home at

The estate of banking tycoon Arthur Altschul is pulling no punches in its efforts to sell the family home at 993 Fifth Avenue, after the co-op board scotched an earlier multimillion-dollar deal to sell the apartment in October.

According to sources, Melinda Nix of Sotheby’s International Realty had the original listing on the four-bedroom spread, but after her buyers were turned away by the building’s co-op board in the fall, the property hit the market on Jan. 21 with a high price tag-$11.5 million-and high-profile broker Deborah Grubman of the Corcoran Group, along with fellow Corcoran broker Carol Cohen, to represent it.

Ms. Nix didn’t return calls seeking comment. Ms. Grubman and Ms. Cohen also declined to comment on the listing.

The 5,200-square-foot apartment, where former MTV News anchor turned CBS correspondent Serena Altschul grew up, occupies the entire 12th floor at 993 Fifth Avenue at 80th Street, overlooking the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The 12-room apartment features a library and master bedroom with open views of the museum and Central Park, a renovated kitchen, a wood-burning fireplace and planting terraces.

“The one downside is, you see smokestacks and pipes on the museum’s roof,” said one source who had recently visited the spread.

The finicky board at 993 Fifth Avenue is no less than what one would expect at the luxurious Upper East Side building. The apartment had been the family home of Arthur Altschul, a former general partner at Goldman, Sachs and Co. and chairman of General American Investors. Mr. Altschul passed away in 2002 at the age of 81; in addition to his tenure on Wall Street, the financier was also a renowned neo-Impressionist and Pointillist art collector, a former reporter for The New York Times and a major philanthropist as chairman of the Overbrook Foundation, a charitable group founded by his parents with assets of more than $150 million. Mr. Altschul’s wife, Siri von Reis, also added to the family’s prestige (and good looks) as a half-Finnish, half-Swedish Harvard-educated ethnobotanist and a full-time poet.

By signing Ms. Grubman at the Corcoran Group, the family may be hoping that she can resuscitate the sale. In September, Ms. Grubman helped former Sony Music chief Tommy Mottola unload his 11,000-square-foot condo at 9 East 64th Street for $13.8 million, after the sprawling apartment sat on the market since November 2002 (it originally had the stratospheric asking price of $34 million). Across the park at 101 Central Park West, Harrison Ford recently got lucky: After the board turned down hedge-fund manager Gary Lieberman’s bid to buy the apartment for $16 million, they recently approved the new buyer in December.

Newly appointed Tommy Hilfiger President and chief executive David Dyer has a new Trump condo to retire to after a long day at the streets-meets-prepster fashion house-a place where he can unwind with sprawling views of Central Park.

Mr. Dyer, the former head of catalog retail giant Land’s End, and his wife recently purchased a $2.77 million apartment at the Trump Parc building at 106 Central Park South, between Sixth and Seventh avenues.

Robin Rothman, a senior vice president at Sotheby’s International Realty, who sold Mr. Dyer and his wife the apartment, didn’t return calls seeking comment. Through a spokesperson, Mr. Dyer also declined to comment.

While such fashion icons as Calvin Klein have been drawn to downtown-chic spreads like the fish-tank Richard Meier towers or the leafy streets of the West Village (where Diane von Furstenberg lives), Mr. Dyer’s uptown perch is conveniently close to Hilfiger’s West 39th Street corporate headquarters.

As in all the apartments in Mr. Trump’s signature properties, the 2,821-square-foot apartment was finished in lavish detail and features three bedrooms, three and a half baths and open views to the north and east overlooking Central Park. Alain Ducasse’s two New York restaurants-Alain Ducasse at the Essex House and Mix-are one block away.

The building has also been a destination for New York’s society circuit. In September, marketing executive Stephen Adler hosted an opulent dinner party in the building-with guests including hip-hop star Wyclef Jean-as part of the 150 dinners celebrating the 150th anniversary of Central Park.

Mr. Dyer’s purchase comes several months after landing at Hilfiger. The fashion executive was hired in August to replace outgoing chief executive Joel Horowitz, who moved to become Hilfiger’s chairman.

Before arriving in New York, Mr. Dyer was the C.E.O. of Dodgeville, Wis.–based Land’s End, the mail-order clothier best known for the pastel-colored golf shirts and trim-fitting slacks seen on suburban golf courses across the country. At Land’s End, Mr. Dyer oversaw the catalog’s $1.9 billion sale to mass-market retailer Sears, Roebuck.

Recent Transactions in the Real Estate Market

Upper West Side

45 West 89th Street

Two-bedroom, two-bathroom co-op.

Asking: $735,000. Selling: $725,000.

Maintenance: $1,108; 68 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: 26 days.

STREETS OF PHILADELPHIA When moving to a new city, many buyers look to re-create the ambiance of their former residences. A quiet block and charming townhouses were a must for this corporate executive who had recently relocated from Philadelphia-a city that, in addition to its infamous cheese steaks, is renowned for its quaint colonial townhouses and tree-lined streets. After a brief visit to this 1,000-square-foot apartment on the fourth floor of a brownstone that dates to 1890, she felt right at home on the Upper West Side and made an offer. The sellers were a growing family who were relocating for more space. “So many people come to the city, and it’s a major change. This apartment had so much of what she comes from,” said broker Sheila Lokitz of the Corcoran Group, who represented the buyer. The floor-through apartment, between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue, featured such charms as a wood-burning fireplace, a modern kitchen with dishwasher, renovated sky-lit bathrooms, exposed brick walls, hardwood floors, and north and south exposures. “She only needed to see it once. She just loved it, and that was it,” Ms. Lokitz said. Fellow Corcoran brokers Tony Brown and Mark Schoenfeld represented the sellers.

Murray Hill

148 East 38th Street

Six-bedroom, five-bathroom townhouse.

Asking: $2.7 million. Selling: $2.5 million.

Time on market: two years.

Auction block When the private real-estate partnership that owned this three-family townhouse went into bankruptcy more than two years ago, the building sat on the market for a year and a half-until six months ago, when the building’s lawyers were brought in to liquidate the property. The 19th-century brownstone, between Lexington and Third avenues, was on a tree-lined block in Murray Hill, where quiet side streets could pass for the Upper East Side if it weren’t for the midtown skyscrapers and the Empire State Building’s colored spire towering over the low-rise streetscape. When the judge in the bankruptcy case recently mandated the building be put up for auction, a buyer thought he could win over the creditors and score the building on the cheap. “One of the bidders thought he could get the building at a steep discount,” said Kathleen Hoffman, the senior vice president and director of townhouse sales at William B. May. Her clients, a physician couple from Westchester County, saw the building and outbid their competitor by nearly $1 million. They plan to use the ground floor for their medical practice and rent out the rest of the building residentially. They had been renting office space in midtown, but now they will enjoy their new purchase, which features a private rear garden and three floors above their office for apartments. And since the building sat unoccupied on the market for two years, it needs a serious renovation. “They are working with an architect and drawing up plans,” Ms. Hoffman said. “Everything needs to be redone.”

Greenwich Village

3 Sheridan Square

One-bedroom, one-bathroom co-op.

Asking: $625,000. Selling: $649,000.

Maintenance: $1,128; 52 percent tax-deductible.

DO YOU KNOW THE WAY TO SANTA FE? Greenwich Village has been home to countless New York artists, writers and intellectuals since the 19th century, when boot-strapping bohemians inhabited the quaint townhouses and filled the neighborhood’s smoky cafés. How times have changed: Today, many artists-including the couple that owned this renovated apartment-have fled for more affordable and airy artist enclaves such as Santa Fe, N.M. Cafés are no longer smoky under Mayor Bloomberg’s smoking ban, and wealthy urbanites have taken over the townhouses and loft spaces left behind by the artists. When this couple-two professional potters-sold their West Village studio and relocated to Santa Fe, they found an attorney in his 30’s from Manhattan eager to move in. “He wanted to purchase and get on the bandwagon like everyone else. With interest rates being so low, it made sense to buy,” said Douglas Elliman senior vice president Darren Sukenik, who represented the sellers. To score the spread, the buyer had to outbid an advertising executive and an art director, who were both drooling over the doorman building’s finish and quality. This 1,000-square-foot corner apartment features dark wood floors, a beamed ceiling, a renovated granite kitchen and a marble bath. Nancy Teague of the Corcoran Group represented the buyer.

The Hard Sell