This time next year New York’s gorgeously extravagant real estate market could very well be a thing of the past. Will we all long, teary-eyed, for the days when makeup entrepreneurs bought nice Chelsea co-ops for a few million dollars one year and sold them a few months later for a few million more?
Either way, as New York’s financial crisis deepened this week, it was a bit odd to watch the wave of incredibly large apartment deals pop up in city records—deals that were done months ago, but because of delays at the Office of the City Register weren’t recorded and filed until recently. If these slightly old multimillion-dollar sales are going to be the last super-bubbly real estate transactions we see for a while, it’s a good thing a few of them are so sumptuous.
Take Laura Mercier. According to a document from April, but not filed until this month, the cosmetics magnate just sold her 5,500-square-foot, eight-room loft at 205 West 19th Street for $8.5 million.
Yet she paid just $6.7 million in late 2006, buying from James Polsky (who founded Blue Smoke and the Jazz Standard with his cousin Danny Meyer). “I can say she’s a wonderful woman and it’s a wonderful building, and I’m very, very happy that they ended up together,” he told The Observer then.
Ms. Mercier sold her eponymous company to the door-to-door conglomerate Alticor that year, reportedly for over $100 million. Nowadays, her 1 oz. Loose Setting Powder (with “French ‘cashmere’ talc”) is $34, and a 1.7 fl. oz. bottle of Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer is $42. With the money made from her apartment sale, one could buy 52,941 jars of the powder, or 42,857 bottles of the moisturizer.
According to the listing with Stribling, her old place has “velvety Brazilian walnut wide-plank floors”—incidentally, that Loose Setting Powder lends “a velvety finish to any makeup”—plus 10.5-foot ceilings, 30 oversize windows, a 68-foot-long living room, a chef’s kitchen, a 1,200-bottle wine cellar, custom closets, and “Philip Starck [sic] wall-mounted toilets.”
Her buyers are Ana and Henry Pincus, the son of ailing venture capital titan Lionel Pincus. The younger Mr. Pincus has been battling his father’s companion, Princess Firyal of Jordan, over the Wall Street patriarch’s duplex at the Pierre, currently on the market for $50 million. Things like that can get bad: Earlier this year, the princess hired private investigators to follow Ana, according to a suit filed by the investigators over unpaid wages.