Molly’s Lofty Pursuit

Saturday Night Live alumnus Molly Shannon, who immortalized the role of the precocious Catholic school girl Mary Katherine Gallagher, has a new meatpacking-district loft to go with her celebrated Fox sitcom, Cracking Up , that debuted on March 9. Late last year, Ms. Shannon, 39, purchased a 1,836-square-foot loft at the Porter House on West 15th Street for $1.61 million, city records show. The new development, between Eighth and Ninth avenues, is the work of design firm SHoP/Sharples Holden Pasquarelli, and is home to downtown A-listers including the Brazilian fashion designer Carlos Miele, who purchased a $4.15 million apartment in the building last December.

Bruce Ehrmann, a broker with Stribling and Associates, who sold Ms. Shannon the property, declined to comment on the buyer’s identity. A spokesperson for Ms. Shannon also declined to comment on the purchase.

Ms. Shannon’s three-bedroom apartment has full city views, marble baths and a balcony. The $22 million, 10-story building, which was completed in 2003, is just one of the many new developments that have sprouted up along the wind-swept blocks of Manhattan’s lower West Side. It occupies what was originally a Renaissance Revival warehouse built in 1905 for the wine importer Julius Wile. SHoP (the architects behind the Rector Street Bridge and the winning design for a 56,000-square-foot flagship academic building at the Fashion Institute of Technology) topped the historic structure with a futuristic four-story addition featuring a zinc-and-glass façade illuminated by rows of vertical lights.

The big purchase follows on the heels of the debut of Ms. Shannon’s Fox sitcom Cracking Up , in which she stars as the eccentric housewife Lesley Shackleton opposite Rushmore star and Coppola clan member Jason Schwartzman. The show was created by Mike White, the screenwriter who penned Jack Black’s winning lines in School of Rock as well as the indie hit The Good Girl starring Jennifer Aniston.

In 1995, Ms. Shannon landed on SNL and immediately charmed audiences with her socially awkward comedy and ranting characters known for their effusive outbursts. She went on to a series of film roles, including appearances in American Splendor , Shallow Hal and Never Been Kissed .

In March 2003, the Ohio native got engaged to the artist Fritz Chesnut, and the two will now take advantage of the apartment’s third bedroom, as they recently welcomed a new member to the clan-a daughter who was born in September.

Actor and producer Mitchell Lichtenstein, the son of the pioneering Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein, has doubled his Greenwich Village real-estate holdings with the purchase of a red-brick, five-story townhouse at 120 West 12th Street, city records show. Late last year, Mr. Lichtenstein, 48, purchased a 6,049-square-foot townhouse for $2.65 million right next-door to his current residence, a townhouse at 118 West 12th Street that he purchased for $8.8 million in 1997.

The actor-who appeared throughout the 80’s and 90’s in programs like Cheers , Miami Vice and Law and Order -shares his stomping grounds with such notable neighbors as Diane von Furstenberg, Gwyneth Paltrow and her Coldplay rocker beau, Chris Martin.

“This opportunity came up, and he took it,” said broker Joseph Pollaci, an associate at D.G. Hart Associates, who sold Mr. Lichtenstein the building. Mr. Pollaci said he was unaware if Mr. Lichtenstein plans to unload his other residence at 118 West 12th Street, or combine the two into one massive townhouse.

Mr. Lichtenstein could not be reached for comment.

The 23-foot-wide townhouse, which evidently is in great need of some T.L.C., was owned by St. Vincent’s Church before Mr. Lichtenstein snapped it up. It was configured with a garden/parlor-level duplex, two floor-through apartments upstairs and a fifth-floor studio with a roof deck. If Mr. Lichtenstein does plan a renovation, he shouldn’t be left wanting for artistic inspiration, considering his lineage. Roy Lichtenstein passed away in 1997, but his boldly colored creations continue to grace the city’s public spaces, from his Times Square subway mural depicting intergalactic spaceship transport to his sculptures installed around City Hall.

Recent Transactions in the Real Estate Market


Three-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bathroom condo.

Asking: $8.5 million. Selling: $6.5 million.

Taxes: $4,743. Charges: $2,317.

Time on the market: five months.

INTERNATIONAL HOUSE OF MAGNATES In recent years, the lobbies of midtown’s soaring condo buildings-from the Millennium Tower to the Metropolitan Tower-have been filled with the melodies of foreign languages as well-heeled international flocked to these developments, which offer luxurious Manhattan living without the stress of the thorny Park Avenue co-op boards that have long shunned buyers with foreign bank accounts. So when the Greek shipping magnate who owned this lavish 4,200-square-foot penthouse on the 53rd floor of Central Park Place-the 300-unit tower on the corner of Eighth Avenue and 57th Street-returned to Greece with his family, it is perhaps not surprising that he rented the apartment to another expat, a South American industrialist. Last year, the Greek gentleman decided that he wanted to cash out, and the renter decided to purchase the place. “It’s the largest of the four penthouses in the building,” said Nancy Tela, an associate broker at Cooper Square Sales and Leasing Corp. who represented the seller. “And you get Central Park views to the north and Hudson River views as well.” The buyer now owns a slice of midtown in a fashionable building that counts Goldie Hawn as a resident. The full-floor apartment offers 360-degree views, two 750-square-foot terraces and a kitchen with top-of-the-line stainless-steel appliances. The amenities continue throughout the building and include a health spa (with a pool, sauna and steam room), a roof terrace and a party room.


323 West 21st Street

Four-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bathroom firehouse.

Asking: $4.295 million. Selling: $4.45 million.

Time on the market: five months.

HOT PROPERTY Why own a townhouse when you can have your very own firehouse? Ten years ago, this four-story, 8,000-square-foot firehouse, which was built in 1864, was converted into a luxurious residential property with a ground-floor duplex and a pair of two-bedroom apartments on the upper floors, one with a 1,000-square-foot terrace. Since its conversion, the 25-foot-wide red-brick firehouse and its ivy-covered façade have been featured in the pages of Architectural Digest and New York Living. “It’s really one of the most unique properties in Manhattan,” said Elissa Slan, a vice president at Douglas Elliman who had the exclusive listing on the property. The new owners, a doctor and his wife, purchased the building as an investment and plan to continue renting out the apartments. In prior years, the firehouse has drawn such tenants as John Wells, the producer behind the Academy Award–nominated Far from Heaven and the Robin Williams thriller One Hour Photo as well as TV hits, including ER and The West Wing . The building’s main draw, though, is the 4,600-square-foot duplex that’s outfitted with a solarium, an open kitchen and a loft-like living space with maple floors. The duplex has four bedrooms, three and a half baths and-a rarity for Manhattan-a private 700-square-foot garage that’s entered through arched wooden doors.

Brooklyn Heights

138 Remsen Street

Two-bedroom, one-bathroom co-op.

Asking: $450,000. Selling: $475,000.

Maintenance: $750;

47 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: six months.

TRAVEL BUG MAKES SELLER ITCHY After living in this renovated brownstone co-op for the past three years, the owner, a single woman who worked in finance, decided that she’d had her fill of the frenzied New York lifestyle and was ready to spread her wings. So she left behind her 960-square-foot apartment and headed off for a year-long sojourn in India. And we thought Brooklyn was supposed to be relaxing! “She’s traveling for a year; she wanted to get away,” said her broker, Cheryl Nielsen-Saaf, a senior vice president at the Corcoran Group. This isn’t the first time the seller has caught the travel bug. Before landing on her tree-lined Remsen Street block, the travel-savvy owner had spent a long stretch exploring South America. The buyers, a journalist and his wife, who works in the fashion industry, had been renting nearby and were ready to own in the neighborhood. “They were first-time buyers. One of the things they liked about the apartment is that they didn’t need to do a thing. It was completely renovated,” Ms. Saaf said. Indeed, the thirtysomethings will now enjoy such features as 14-foot ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, hardwood floors and a modern kitchen with a dishwasher. And to make Brooklyn living even easier, the building has four parking spaces behind the building. Linda Wolff, a senior associate at the Corcoran Group, represented the buyers. Molly’s Lofty Pursuit