Today’s Times real estate section has a plummy but not-very-well-disguised blind item: Who could be moving out of this gorgeous, $29.6 million 5,100-square-foot apartment — with two balconies, a terrace, and a long view of Central Park? Full of lovingly restored mahogany and in the Dakota (where Yoko Ono brings sushi to the annual neighbors’ potluck), no less? The paper genteelly explains that the owner, an “investor” there since 1995, is simply moving out of town. Meanwhile, Page Six reports that Bruce Barnes, the “embattled” head of the co-op board, is giving up his $29.6 million apartment there after seventeen years. Connecting the dots doesn’t exactly seem like a stretch. Barnes’ LinkedIn profile not only shows a career in investing, but an interest — currently, “Founder at American Decorative Art 1900 Foundation” in precisely the era that dominates the decor of the for-sale residence.
Page Six speculates, via a source doing his own speculation, that Barnes’ decision to move has something to do with the controversy around a lawsuit filed by another former co-op board president against the group under Barnes’ tenure. Alphonse Fletcher Jr, who is black, wanted to buy a second apartment in the building; the board denied his request, and he sued them for “discriminatory and racist practices.” The source said he “may have announced his departure from the building ahead of the next board meeting for a reason.”
But Barnes himself told friends in an e-mail that the space was a large one for two people, and that he and his partner are indeed planning to spend most of their time out of town if the place sells. “It has been a pleasure to serve for the last three years on the Board of Directors, and I remain fully committed to my role as its president for the remainder of the current term,” he added.