Brooklyn’s Priciest Ready for Its Flip

The most expensive apartment ever sold in Brooklyn, a penthouse at the Clock Tower in Dumbo, is back on the market only nine months after it was bought for a record $7 million.

Oddly, the 3,208-square-foot loft was bought by two different couples. There’s lifestyle consultant Anh-Tuyet Nguyen and Robert B. Pollock, the president and CEO of the massive insurer Assurant (who was briefly placed on administrative leave in 2007 because of an S.E.C. investigation into earnings inflation), plus commercial real estate investor Alan Freiman and Michael Armijo, a money manager. Mr. Armijo also runs a Web site called the 007 GentleMan Blog, and another dedicated to his photography: “I try to focus,” he writes, “on what is BEAUTIFUL in life.”

According to city records, the quartet has been investing in real estate together for years. Listing broker Karen Heyman said neither couple moved into the penthouse, but not because there was bickering over how to split it up. “They never planned on dividing it, believe me. It’s the kind of thing, ‘Oh you live here? I’ll live there.’ That’s the kind of money they have, so God bless them.”

When pressed, she said the buyers that would have been most likely to move in were “Alan and Michael, but they’re buying vineyards; they’re doing other things. … They have so much real estate, these people, real estate East Coast, West Coast, Europe. They’re looking for vineyards in San Sebastián, Spain, or Perpignan, France.”

The four owners want $8.5 million for the five-room apartment, $1.5 million more than they paid on Sept. 15, probably the year’s single worst moment to have made a massive New York real estate deal. The penthouse, with tectonic views of the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges, is also available to rent for $22,000 per month. “If you can make money, you make it. If not, you rent it. That’s the situation,” Ms. Heyman offered.

Two years ago, Mr. Pollock and Mr. Freiman paid over $3,165,000 for another Clock Tower apartment, now available for $3,995,000, or $12,500 per month—down from $17,000, $16,000, $15,500, $14,750 and $13,500. Ms. Heyman has that listing, too, and she represented the $7 million penthouse when Bliss Spa co-founder Thierry Boué sold it to the four owners.

“Watch me. Watch me! Just watch me,” the broker said about breaking her own record. “Because—watch me. I’ll do it. I already have interest.” But there have been no recent renovation filings with the Department of Buildings, which means the owners have done no major work since they bought it. So why is the price tag $1.5 million higher? “It was a beautiful apartment, but kind of mazelike. But it’s opened up now. And the floor was redone, and it’s quite beautiful,” Ms. Heyman said.

More importantly, David Walentas, the Dumbo kingpin who owns the penthouse one floor up—where the tower’s namesake clocks are his comically colossal windows—is about to put his unit on the market for “way, way, way more,” she said. “It’s going to make this one look reasonable.” Mr. Walentas, who spent $1.5 million on the entire 250,000-square-foot building when he bought it in 1978, had no comment. “It’s cheap compared to the one that will be for sale above it.”

mabelson@observer.com Brooklyn’s Priciest Ready for Its Flip