Julia Roberts’ lower Fifth Avenue co-op has just landed back on the market. Earlier this summer, the actress Ellen Barkin reportedly signed a contract to buy Ms. Roberts’ four-bedroom apartment, which had been asking $4.9 million. According to the New York Post , Ms. Barkin and her husband, the Revlon billionaire Ronald Perelman, agreed to purchase Ms. Roberts’ 3,000-square-foot spread in July. The apartment, described in the Douglas Elliman listing as an “Edwardian palace,” has four bedrooms, three renovated bathrooms, a new eat-in-kitchen, a library and a maid’s room.
But now it appears the deal is off.
Ms. Roberts’ place landed back on the market on Aug. 12, again asking $4.9 million, with a monthly maintenance of $3,947. Exclusive broker James Rosenthal of Douglas Elliman would not comment on the shuttered deal, or the new listing, only saying “the apartment is still available.” A spokesperson for Ms. Barkin could not be reached by press time.
Ms. Roberts reportedly purchased the nine-room co-op on Fifth Avenue between East 10th and 11th streets for $2.95 million in 1999. She then listed the apartment in December 2003 for $6.5 million and hoped to ink a quick deal. According to real-estate sources familiar with the property, she even brought in furniture to spruce up the place.
“I remember when I showed it, and I remember very distinctly that they rented furniture for it,” said a broker who had recently toured the apartment. In July, it looked as if a deal was consummated when Ms. Barkin signed a contract on the south- and east-facing apartment.
And while Ms. Roberts still seeks to unload her Greenwich Village spread, the Oscar-winning actress-who will next appear alongside George Clooney and Brad Pitt in Ocean’s Twelve -still retains a full real-estate portfolio here in New York. In addition to her lower Fifth Avenue perch, Ms. Roberts reportedly owns several apartments near Gramercy Park, and has a key to the leafy private enclave. She may find herself wanting to return to the kid-friendly nabe, as she is currently expecting twins with her husband, the cameraman Danny Moder, whom she married in July 2002.
Ms. Barkin won’t be left out in the cold either. Even though Ms. Barkin and Mr. Perelman appear not to be taking Ms. Robert’s Greenwich Village co-op, the newly reunited couple won’t be lacking for luxury real estate after briefly separating in May-they can rest comfortably in Mr. Perelman’s 40-foot-wide East 63rd Street townhouse.
On Aug. 24, Prudential Douglas Elliman announced its first foray into the Brooklyn brokerage market with the acquisition of Brooklyn Heights– and Cobble Hill–based Marilyn A. Donahue Real Estate, a 37-year-old firm with 10 brokers. The move signals that the interest among Manhattan-based brokerage firms in the Brooklyn real-estate market continues apace, while the competition among the city’s two largest firms, N.R.T-backed Corcoran Group and Douglas Elliman, remains heated.
“This is just our start. We have a lot of development plans for Brooklyn,” said Douglas Elliman C.E.O. Dottie Herman.
With the acquisition, Elliman now adds its first-ever Brooklyn offices, with locations on Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights and Court Street in Cobble Hill, to their current 56 offices across New York and Long Island with a stable of 2,500 brokers. In the deal, Marilyn Donahue, the firm’s former owner and principal broker, will become an executive at Elliman and oversee their Brooklyn operations.
“It’s a very exciting acquisition. It’s also essential that the No. 1 company in New York real estate cover the Brooklyn brownstone market,” Ms. Donahue said.
Both parties declined to comment on financial terms of the deal, though Ms. Herman indicated that the move portends further expansion in the outer borough.
“We’re speaking to other brokers in Brooklyn,” Ms. Herman said. “This is only the beginning.”
Dutch siren and X Men superheroine Famke Janssen has found herself a new Soho loft. According to city transfer records, the model turned actress, who once dated a pre–J. Lo Ben Affleck and speaks four languages, landed a penthouse on King Street for $1.55 million.
The 1,800-square-foot loft, between Sixth and Seventh avenues, has two bedrooms, one bathroom plus a maid’s room, south and east exposures, and 1,000 square feet of exterior space.
“It was a really beautiful space. The whole apartment was U-shaped, and it circled around a center terrace. All rooms faced out to the terrace, and the previous owners had just finished a renovation,” said exclusive broker Erin Boisson Aries, a vice president with the Corcoran Group.
The previous owner recently relocated back to London, and after viewing the space, Ms. Janssen snapped it up last year.
“It was very clean, almost like a beach house. In many ways, it felt like L.A. The apartment had dark floors, white walls and stainless steel in the kitchen,” Ms. Aries said. “She loved the terrace; she really responded to the space.”
Ms. Janssen is no stranger to Manhattan living. Since 1984, when the Amsterdam native settled in New York to study writing and literature at Columbia, she has made her home in the United States. After her Columbia tenure, she went on to pursue a successful modeling and acting career. In 1995 she married the director Tod Williams; the couple later divorced in 2000. Her many film credits include the 1995 James Bond franchise Golden Eye , the gambling drama Rounders with Matt Damon (1998) and, most recently, the comic-book series X Men and X2 .