Ryan Gentles, the manager of the Strokes, has bought a penthouse at the American Felt building—which just happens to be where the East Village’s most successful retro-rock band’s drummer, Fabrizio Morretti, also lives.
Mr. Morretti and his manager are used to being neighbors, though: Mr. Gentles bought a little three-room apartment in the East 13th Street building for $590,000 in May 2003.
Mr. Gentles’ new place is bigger, though: The 1,800-square-foot apartment is a four-room, one-bedroom duplex apartment with south and west views. He bought it, according to city records, for $1.8 million.
Glenn S. Krutoff is listed on the deed as Mr. Gentles’ real-estate lawyer. When asked if his client might have bought the apartment for Mr. Moretti or a bandmate, he said, “Oh no, it’s his.”
Mr. Krutoff has worked with almost all of the Strokes (except for bassist Nikolai Fraiture).
“I got to meet Drew when Fabrizio was buying an apartment,” said the lawyer, referring to Mr. Morretti’s longtime girlfriend, the actor Drew Barrymore. “Which was, you know, pretty lovely.”
The red brick American Felt Building was built in 1906 and turned into loft-like condos in 1984.
What will happen to Mr. Gentles’ first Felt condo? According to Corcoran’s Web site, it’s already been rented out. The asking price was $5,000 a month.
Could the new apartment have once belonged to Tom Cruise? City records show that the Scientologist bought at Felt in 1985—under his birth name, Thomas C. Mapother IV—though the exact apartment and price isn’t clear. According to luxury broker George van der Ploeg of Prudential Douglas Elliman, who has sold in the building, Mr. Cruise lived in a penthouse.
Downtown by Michael Shvo
Star real-estate broker Michael Shvo already has quite a portfolio of apartments in Manhattan—and not just to sell.
Though he already owns several, he’s just bought himself a new apartment at 15 Broad Street, a new condo with the chic moniker “Downtown by Philippe Starck.”
(What’s with the building names that sound like book-report titles?)
According to city records, he signed a contract for the apartment in August 2004, when construction was beginning on J.P. Morgan’s old headquarters. The building was reopened as a name-brand condominium by summer 2006, and Mr. Shvo closed at $616,041 in late November.
His Shvo Marketing firm did not handle 15 Broad when it was a new development, yet Shvo Group broker Ariel Cohen had the listing for his boss’ new 1,400-square-foot apartment. Shvo vice president of communications Arthur Gallego said that Mr. Shvo and Mr. Cohen both declined to comment.
But when asked for an insight into his boss’ fondness for 15 Broad, Mr. Gallego said: “He’s always been a champion of downtown.”
Or did he mean Downtown with a capital D? Either way, it’s hard to imagine that Mr. Shvo will be spending much time there.
For one thing, he spent $6.5 million for an apartment at the Time Warner Center last February. (According to city records, it is on the 68th floor.)
And there’s more. Deed records show that in September, he paid $565,000 for an apartment at the Bryant Park Tower—which is marketed by his firm. And since 2005, he has sold six much smaller apartments.
Mr. Shvo’s voraciousness for Manhattan real estate rivals his infamous corporate appetite. In a 2005 New York magazine profile, Corcoran C.E.O. Pam Liebman said, “In my twenty years in this business, I have never seen one man inspire such across-the-board loathing.”
(In 2004, after becoming the top-grossing broker at Douglas Elliman, Mr. Shvo feuded with his real-estate Yoda, Dolly Lenz, and left to form his own firm.)
That article also reported that Mr. Shvo owned four apartments at 15 Broad Street. Yet there are no other public deeds in his name there (besides the one for his new place).
Mr. Gallego said there would be no comment on that, either.
Harrah Widow Sells Time Warner Penthouse
Last year was a ferociously prosperous year for super-moneyed Manhattan real estate, and 2007 is beginning with another oceanic sale.
According to Sotheby’s International Realty senior vice president Eva Mohr, film producer Verna Harrah has sold her 64th-floor apartment at the Time Warner Center.
“I had it on for $25 million,” Ms. Mohr said, “and it sold for close to that …. That was a terrific apartment. Oh yeah it was.”
Ms. Harrah isn’t migrating far: She’s bought a penthouse at the freshly renovated 110 Central Park South, listed for $13,350,000. Whereas the new place only has four bedrooms and 4,184 square feet, the Time Warner Center apartment had six bedrooms and 4,530.
“For someone who comes in twice a year, she felt it was too big for her,” said Ms. Mohr. “You sort of ramble around out there. But it was a beautiful apartment and she enjoyed living there.”
Ms. Harrah was its first owner: According to city records, she paid $8,823,018 three years ago for her piece of Columbus Circle’s glossy and angular twin monoliths. So she’s reaped a tidy profit.
Back in 1973, she married Bill Harrah, a casino magnate who died five years later.
Harrah’s Entertainment was sold last month for $27.8 billion to the Apollo Group.
Public records aren’t yet available for either apartment sale, but Ms. Mohr said the Time Warner Center was sold to out-of-state folks. She declined to disclose names, but described the buyers as “just a very nice family.”
We’re keeping our eyes peeled.
According to the listing, those nice people will have a nice living room on Central Park, a family room overlooking the Hudson, a foyer of “gold leaf with 17th century columns,” six marble bathrooms and two powder rooms, too.
But Ms. Harrah needn’t be jealous: Her new full-floor penthouse has an enormous kitchen, a fireplace and a master bedroom with panoramic views of the park.
Once known as the hotel Navarro, 110 Central Park South was reopened as a co-op last year.
What if the penthouse gets too big as well?
“She’s very close to her family, and they come and visit,” said Ms. Mohr. “And she has visiting guests, and so forth and so on. The place is really great for her!”
“Her son and daughter come, and they come with the children and the nannies,” she said.
Downtown By Film Forum?
Film Forum, the city’s hippest and most essential art house, will be turning into a Soho landowner. According to public records, the Forum paid $6.3 million in late November for a five-story townhouse at 3 King Street.
Film Forum director Karen Cooper told The Observer that the purchase of the building was made possible by two donors. But she wouldn’t identify them.
However, Ms. Cooper did confirm that one of those patrons would be hanging around King Street. Even though the townhouse was bought in Film Forum’s name, the main donor is keeping the top two floors for her personal use—and probably the roof, too.
So, conveniently, the mystery donor gets a penthouse duplex. Also a third floor, but Ms. Cooper said the patron is generously allowing Film Forum to rent that out for “an extended period.”
That floor and the one beneath will be marketed as one-bedroom luxury residences. “High-end everything—I mean, I’m looking to put heated floors in the bathroom … beautiful stuff!”
It’ll be a sophisticated little rental: King Street is closed to through-traffic during the day.
The townhouse’s two bottom floors will be used as office space for Film Forum administration—people who know more than you do about Werner Herzog and G.W. Pabst and Ermanno Olmi. But sadly for those filmic workers, their first floor is really a basement.
“I’m calling it the garden level,” Ms. Cooper said. (To substantiate her word choice, she added that Film Forum is renovating the back garden.)
Is a landscaped Soho townhouse really necessary for a local art house? “I don’t know if ‘necessary’ is the word I would use. It’s an intelligent move for us, because we’re looking for additional streams of earned income …. We’re not alone in the treasure hunt.”
Speaking of treasures, Film Forum’s three-screen theater is around the corner at 209 West Houston Street, where the Forum moved in 1989.