Dashing Off

Tribeca has seen a rash of hip-hop real-estate shuffles recently. Last month, Sean (P. Diddy) Combs listed his loft at 169 Hudson Street for $4.3 million (according to Page Six, the newly minted Broadway performer is close to purchasing Libbet Johnson’s sprawling duplex at One Central Park). Now, Roc-a-Fella Records impresario Damon Dash is in the midst of a three-way Tribeca apartment swap.

City records show that in March, Mr. Dash, the chief executive of the label he co-founded with Shawn (Jay-Z) Carter, purchased a fifth-floor loft at 79 Laight Street for $1.775 million. According to his brokers, Corcoran vice-president Wilbur Gonzalez, Mr. Dash purchased the 79 Laight Street spread as an investment property. In May, the New York Post reported that Mr. Dash, 33, had listed his 5,200-square-foot duplex at 25 N. Moore Street for a chart-topping $5.5 million. The listing comes as Mr. Dash has a contract out on a much larger Tribeca spread with more than 8,000 square feet of interior and exterior space.

“He wanted more space and outdoor space,” Mr. Gonzalez said of the property, though he wouldn’t disclose the address of Mr. Dash’s newest purchase.

“He just really likes Tribeca,” the broker said.


His new Laight Street investment, on the corner of Washington Street, is on the fifth floor, and though specs on the apartment weren’t available, it’s on the same line as the fourth-floor apartment that was configured as a 3,394-square-foot duplex with three bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, a windowed kitchen, and north and south exposures.

Mr. Dash didn’t return calls for comment about his Tribeca swap.

Laight Street was certainly luxurious by Tribeca standards, drawing such tenants as Princess Bride icon Mandy Patinkin, who recently sold a loft there for $1.85 million, but Mr. Dash’s former N. Moore spread offered far more bling: Located in the prestigious Atalanta Building, on N. Moore Street between West Broadway and Hudson Street, Mr. Dash’s previous place had four bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms and 20-foot ceilings (not to mention the high-seven-figure asking price).

And now he appears to have upped the style ante even more with his pending Tribeca purchase.

Mr. Dash and his Roc-a-Fella co-founder, Mr. Carter, are no strangers to lavish real estate. In 2000, the two hip-hop magnates spent $120,000 to rent the East Hampton manse at 323 Georgica Road that had been the former summer spread of fellow hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons.

The townhouse at 159 East 82nd Street belonging to the late Justine Bayard Cushing, a championship golfer whose former husband, Alex Cushing, founded the Squaw Valley ski resort in Lake Tahoe, Calif., just sold for $3.3 million.

In November of 2003, Cushing, 85, passed away at her family’s Southampton estate from emphysema, and her family decided to list her Upper East Side manse.

The four-story townhouse where Cushing lived for the past 20 years (in the upstairs duplex) hit the market in December at $3.6 million, and, in April of this year, a young investment banker and his wife snapped up the place. The new buyers are no strangers to luxurious real estate, as they also have homes stashed away in Newport, R.I., Vermont and Palm Beach. They now plan to convert the mint-green-colored Upper East Side home into a single-family residence, and they’ll be sharing the 82nd Street block between Lexington and Third avenues with the NBC weatherman of the people, Al Roker.

“It was the last great buy. We put it on just before the market skyrocketed, and we had 92 direct customers in three weeks,” said Laurence Kaiser, the president of Key-Ventures Realty, who sold the 3,400-square-foot home. “I felt as if I lived in the house. We had people looking at it every 20 minutes.”

The 19-foot-wide residence will be converted into a five-bedroom residence, with a living room, a modern kitchen, a library and a formal living room.

Before passing away last year, Cushing had lived a life of luxury, including her years spent on the Upper East Side. A descendent of a prominent New York family, her grandfather, Robert Cutting, was president of the Cooper Union School of Architecture and Engineering and chairman of the Metropolitan Opera Real Estate Association. With her former husband, Cushing had helped to build the renowned ski resort in Squaw Valley in 1949, and in 1960, their Lake Tahoe resort hosted the Winter Olympics. In 1966, she ended her marriage and returned to New York. In 1974, Cushing rekindled her golf success of the 1940’s by winning the USGA Senior Women’s Amateur Championship.

Recent Transactions in the Real Estate Market


362 West Broadway

One-bedroom, one-bathroom co-op.

Asking: $750,000. Selling: $750,000.

Maintenance: $1,150; 50 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: eight months.

THE ART OF LOSING Losing a Manhattan apartment in a real-estate transaction gone sour can leave one as heartbroken as any lovelorn romantic after the flames have cooled. That’s what one painter discovered after she thought that she had secured this 1,200-square-foot Soho artist’s loft. After signing a contract on the co-op, the thirtysomething attended the board interview, only to discover that the president of the board had snatched up the place under a provision allowing share owners the right of first refusal on apartments in the building, which is located on West Broadway between Broome and Grand streets. (The provision is common in buildings designated as “artist-in-residence” dwellings by the Department of Buildings.) The president, who lives one floor below, is expected to combine this apartment with his. “She was beyond heartbroken,” said Steve Halprin of Douglas Elliman, who represented the seller, the contemporary artist Richard Smith, who was relocating to Long Island to be closer to his children. “She showed up for the board interview, and the board president exercised his right of first refusal. She had even agreed to put in $13,000 of soundproofing. It was pretty upsetting. She was furious-to get to that point and get a twist you never could have foreseen …. She had been put through the mill.” And her chagrin was understandable, especially since the live/work loft had 24-foot ceilings, a skylight and a mezzanine. Brahna Yassky of Brown Harris Stevens represented the buyer.

Financial District

140 Nassau Street

Two-bedroom, one-bathroom co-op.

Asking: $895,000. Selling: $865,000.

Maintenance: $1,349; 50 percent tax-deductible.

Time on the market: three weeks.

Star-Mapper The fashion-executive- cum -real-estate-guru who bought this apartment has a knack for psyching out celebrity hot spots: His West 10th Street townhouse was snatched up by Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke (back in the pre-André-and-Uma days). And recently, he sold his 600-square-foot apartment at 46 Commerce Street to Carly Simon. Now that this middle-aged gentleman has landed in the increasingly residential financial district, will he find a celebrity buyer for his lower Manhattan digs the next time he decides to go packing? “He’s really smart about real estate,” said the buyer’s broker, Hunie Kwon, a vice president at J.C. DeNiro and Associates. “He was amazed at the amount of space you could get for the money in that neighborhood. And he got a great deal before the market skyrocketed.” The 1,400-square-foot loft at 140 Nassau Street, on the corner of Beekman Street in the shadow of City Hall, has two bedrooms, a den, 16-foot ceilings, nine arched windows, exposed brick walls, hardwood floors and a 300-square-foot mezzanine. The luxuries extend to the building’s amenities, which include a keyed elevator, a roof deck and an Art Deco lobby.

Josee Vermette, an independent broker, shared the listing with Mr. Kwon. Dashing Off