Last April, Fred Wilson, probably the best-known tech venture capitalist in New York City (his firm invests in beautiful new-wave Web sites like Tumblr and Twitter), and his wife, Joanne, sold a double-wide West 10th Street townhouse for $33,148,800, the biggest single residential deal ever in downtown.
To replace it, they’re building a Hudson River wonderland.
But when they spent $16 million on the massive site at 397 West 12th Street last April, partnering with the architect and developer Cary Tamarkin, Mr. Tamarkin had already been working on it for years: After he agreed to buy the property and another seven blocks up, the seller tried to make a separate deal with someone else for more money.
So they went to court.
“We ended up with both properties,” said Mr. Tamarkin, a veteran of a famous fight with neighbors like Woody Allen over his planned 17-story building on East 91st Street. “It was phenomenal.” Mr. Tamarkin and an earlier partner bought 397 West 12th Street in 2005, but they sold it for $2 million more last year to his partnership with the Wilsons.
What they’re building together will have 10 stories of Roman bricks and painfully gorgeous oversize steel windows, and only five raw-space apartments. About half of the construction has yet to be completed, but the $5.5 million, 3,613-square-foot second-floor loft, and two 6,166-square-foot duplexes priced at $11.5 and $14 million, went on the market this week with Sotheby’s.
Mr. Tamarkin is taking the smaller first-floor apartment as an office, but the Wilsons get the four-floor penthouse—6,409 square feet, plus 2,932 of outdoor space—for themselves. “We’re paying money, but I don’t want to go into the mechanics of that deal,” the developer said, “that’s nobody’s business.”