Her Serene Highness Gloria von Thurn und Taxis, known throughout the 1980’s as the Punk Princess, has bought a full-floor co-op at 14 West 17th Street for $3.2 million.
Two sources close to the deal said her daughter, Princess Elisabeth, will live there.
“I’m very sad I won’t be getting to know her,” said Rabbi Joyce Reinitz, the seller. “I hear she’s fabulous.”
Her Highness, who retains a title of German nobility even though there is no monarchy there anymore, knows a bit about property investments.
She dropped her gossip-page panache after the 1990 death of her husband, and became a respected financial manager of her family’s affairs. According to her BusinessWeek “Stars of Europe” profile, she overcame $350 million in debt by selling off heirlooms, then invested in the family’s colossal forestry and real-estate holdings.
Her son Albert’s $1.4 billion inheritance now reportedly generates a 10 percent return. Calls to the family’s German palace were not returned.
Twenty-four-year-old Elisabeth’s new 10th-floor, 4,200-square-foot apartment had been on the market for 22 months.
The full-floor loft had been divided into two apartments.
“Even though the Reinitzes would have liked to have kept the smaller unit as a pied-à-terre, I kind of talked them into selling both of them,” said Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy’s Joshua Judge, who represented the rabbi and her husband, “because the larger unit wouldn’t have gotten as high a price per square foot.”
“What happened was, somebody who was able to afford that really didn’t want to share the floor,” said Rabbi Reinitz.
Ms. Reinitz is an adjunct rabbi at the New Shul in Greenwich Village.
In November 2005, there was a bidding war, even though the apartment had already spent a year on the market.
“We had three buyers come in right there at the same time,” said Mr. Judge. An all-cash buyer signed a contract, offering $50,000 over the asking price. It fell through.
“Gloria was the backup offer,” according to Mr. Judge. “She was all-cash too.”
He said the von Thurn und Taxis family is planning a gut renovation, though he isn’t sure they’ll combine the apartments.
Rabbi Reinitz is philosophical about her own apartment.
“It’s very centrally located,” she said. The rabbi and her husband have lived there since 1978.
“Industrial has been in for so long now. Flatiron is just the newest,” she said.
And that makes it a far cry from the von Thurn und Taxis family castle in Regensburg—built around an eighth-century monastery with 500 rooms.
On 17th Street, however, “the milieu is to keep things low-key,” said Rabbi Reinitz. “It’s a real community. If I ran out of sugar or eggs, I’d call upstairs.”
Marilyn Ontell, the president of the co-op board—and the broker that represented Princess Gloria—would not comment.
Among the sugar sharers is a population of South American artists who work and live in the building, including the painter Mario Toral. According to city records, critic Joel Siegel has also owned an apartment there.
But Mr. Siegel has nothing on the von Thurn und Taxis family, which founded Europe’s first wide-scale postal system in the 15th century.
An adulterated version of that history is a subplot of Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49. “And with the end of the Holy Roman Empire,” the novelist tells, “the fountainhead of Thurn and Taxis legitimacy is lost forever among the other splendid delusions.”
Con Man Sells in Soho
Back in August 2004, Jean Pierre Collardeau pleaded guilty to charges he fleeced investors of over $20 million.
Now, as part of his plea deal, his third Manhattan apartment—a loft at 113 Prince Street—has been sold off to compensate his victims.
“He agreed to forfeit property that was traceable to various criminal activities,” said Assistant United States Attorney Mauro Wolfe. Yet instead of resorting to a forfeiture auction, the government allowed Mr. Collardeau to sell the apartments himself.
“Sometimes it’s economically more efficient to do it that way—in an instance in which the defendant has a bona-fide buyer,” said Mr. Wolfe. “As long as the sale price is within a reasonable, appraised market value.”
Mr. Collardeau found a buyer in art collector David Rogath, who paid $1.68 million for the apartment.
“That’s an insanely good price,” said Corcoran’s Wendy Maitland, a loft specialist who has sold at 113 Prince. “It’s a great location, obviously. The building is just very classic raw.” For example: “The elevator is manually operated,” she said. “And I got stuck in it!”
According to the databases kept by the city brokerages, the apartment was never put on the market. Mr. Rogath did not return several messages left for him at Chalk & Vermilion, his fine-art publishing firm in Greenwich, Conn.
According to the Department of Justice, Mr. Collardeau conspired to raise the price of a stock that he secretly controlled. And then he concealed it from the S.E.C.
And so, last summer, he was sentenced to a 50-month jail sentence. Mr. Collardeau is serving that time at the Fort Dix federal prison in New Jersey.
Also part of the plea deal, Mr. Collardeau sold a one-bedroom condo at the Metropolitan Tower on 57th Street for $690,000 in March 2005—though city records list the seller as his daughter, Alvina Collardeau, a former journalist for French Vogue.
Then there’s unit 2B at 175 East Second Street, a 500-square-foot condo that was sold in October 2005 for $515,000 to the building’s board of managers. The deed was in the name of Mr. Collardeau’s son Thomas, who could not be reached at his office.
The sum total will be distributed among the estimated 100 to 200 victims of Mr. Collardeau’s fraud, Mr. Wolfe said. The liquidation of Mr. Collardeau’s assets is likely to cover all the damages.
“It’s unusual,” said Mr. Wolfe. “Typically in security-fraud cases you don’t always have a sufficient amount of assets after liquidation to reimburse all the victims.”
Brownstone Turns on Design People
Design and manufacturing mogul George Beylerian has sold his 9,750-square-foot brownstone at 16 East 77th Street—between Madison and Fifth avenues—for $10.4 million.
Mr. Beylerian never had the five stories to himself. Above his three-bedroom duplex that connects the basement and first floor are eight one-bedroom apartments.
Two rent-control tenants live on the parlor floor. “They’ve been there, and they’re a certain age, and they’ll move when the time comes,” said Mr. Beylerian by phone from Germany. “They’ve been there from before I had the building. Not my problem right now.”
According to a directory published by First American R.E.S., he bought the brownstone in 1977 for $270,000.
“I want my money now,” he said, and laughed. “I like my new lifestyle! I don’t have to worry about heavy-duty real estate.” His primary residence is in Kent, Conn.
“My house was an example of how you take a brownstone and carve it out and make a super-dramatic interior,” he said. “When you exercise a bit of creativity, put some effort to make if more worthwhile, you have a product. It’s a fairly new tendency—though I did it 30 years ago, almost.”
For nearly 10 years, Mr. Beylerian has been the C.E.O. of Material ConneXion, a global materials library for designers and architects. “Everybody’s been talking about Frank Gehry’s titanium,” he said. “We have titanium mesh!” His libraries are full of “all the things that turn on design people.” Previously he has worked with Steelcase Design Partnership; he has worked with, and imported, Kartell, and once owned a Manhattan-based store, Scarabaeus.
Mr. Beylerian designed his own duplex. “It was very tricky,” he said. “We carved a good chunk of the garden away and brought it down to the level of the basement.”
Then there was a “big cutout from the first floor,” filled with “a wonderful curving staircase facing a 16-foot-high glass wall toward the back garden.”
Filling that space was an oval fiberglass dining table by Anna Castelli Ferrieri, and chairs designed by Cini Boeri. “Two women Italian architects!” he said. There were other women about. “Oh, gee, one of my favorite pieces, of course, was Pistoletto. His wife, naked actually, on stainless steel.”
Stribling’s Susan Ingram and Bonnie Lindenbaum represented the seller.
A source directly involved with the sale said that Mr. Beylerian’s buyer, listed as an L.L.C. on the deed, flipped the townhouse after buying it. Sales records could not yet be found to confirm any second sale. Stribling executive V.P. Betsy Dean said, “We can only take the position of no comment.”
Asked about this, Mr. Beylerian, reached later in Paris, denied his old home had been flipped. But he did say that, originally, there had been two interested parties. “The first bidder couldn’t close,” he said, “so they found another bidder who paid more.” Perhaps the two parties have since met?