Thin-haired bankers and their big-ringed wives are the standard buyers for just-converted SoHo loft penthouses. And yet a hotshot 23-year-old NASCAR driver named Brian Vickers has paid $4,636,800, city records show, for a penthouse at 92 Greene Street.
“Oh, he was a dream, fabulous,” said his lawyer on the deal, Keith Schuman. “Very nice guy—and he worked with his mother, who’s on his staff.” You wouldn’t think guys who drive 200 m.p.h. would be nice to their mothers and lawyers.
“And one more thing that’s unusual: I work with many people in the entertainment business,” Mr. Schuman said, “and generally I’m just working with their handlers. But in his case we dealt mostly with him directly, and that’s refreshing.”
It’s been an oddly good year for race-car drivers in Manhattan’s top-tier real estate. Four-time NASCAR champ Jeff Gordon is reportedly in contract for a 3,800-square-foot spread at Robert A.M. Stern’s 15 Central Park West. Plus, the name Michael Schumacher came up in public records last week on an Upper East Side deed. Considering the deed only totaled $1.249 million, it’s unlikely that the buyer is really the legendary Schumacher from Ferrari Formula One.
As for Mr. Vickers, despite his success (for example, at age 20 he became the youngest champ of a top-level NASCAR series), city records show that he took out a mortgage on his new penthouse for $3.72 million—and 25 cents. Maybe the superfluous quarter was a nod to his old number 25. Drivers are a sentimental bunch.
But why did the North Carolina-born driver want to live in SoHo in the first place? “I mean, young people want to live downtown,” Mr. Schuman said. When a reporter asked to get in touch with the driver, the lawyer said: “He’s sometimes hard to get ahold of because he’s practicing—training, or practicing, or whatever they call it.”