East Vs. West

Eastern Standards
Not long ago, prices on Central Park West rivaled those on Park Avenue, but the roster of the top ten 2000 co-op sales is curiously CPW-free.

“The year 2000 brought new meaning to the term high-end,” says Michele Kleier, president of Gumley Haft Kleier, sounding a tad wistful now that it’s over. Though many millions were spent on townhouses and condos last year, the true marker of financial and social power in this town has always been acceptance into one of the city’s elite co-ops. The top-ten co-op sales in 2000 added up to almost $200 million. All were on the East Side.

“There’s a lack of huge apartments, and Central Park West got waxed by Park Avenue because of it,” explains Kirk Henckels, director of Stribling Private Brokerage. “It was the year of the Park Avenue Princesses,” adds Kleier. “If someone’s spending $20 million, they want to walk into a lobby that screams, ‘I spent $20 million!’ On the West Side, except for the Beresford, most of the lobbies look like they could be in Brooklyn.” (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

Also, high-end brokers say that the East Side boards have loosened up a bit on letting in the bold-face names who used to find a warmer welcome in the mild West. But talk of CPW’s eclipse exasperates Brown Harris Stevens honcho Hall Willkie (“That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard”).

Here’s the scorecard:

10. 1115 Fifth: Fourteen rooms for $15 million; 9. 740 Park: Fourteenth floor, $13 million (then flipped for $15.5 million); 8. 810 Fifth: Seventeen rooms in Nelson Rockefeller’s former digs for $16 million; 7. 998 Fifth: Sixth floor, just over $16 million; 6. 820 Fifth: Nancy Richardson gets $17 million for her place; 5. 778 Park: Ousted AmEx CEO James Robinson III drops $17.7 million for seventeen rooms; 4. 820 Fifth: Tommy Hilfiger flips the fourth floor for $18 million after paying $10 million in ‘99; 3. 950 Fifth: Blackstone Group’s Stephen Schwarzman unloads eleven rooms for $18.5 million; 2. 120 East End: Astor place goes for $18.5 million; 1. 740 Park (pictured): Schwarzman pays $37.5 million for the 20,000-square-foot triplex Saul Steinberg paid $285,000 for in 1971.

Big Deals

Midtown East
250 East 40th Street
4-bed, 4-bath, 2,885-square-foot condo. Ask: $2.3 million. Sell: $2 million. Charges and taxes: $3,304. Eight weeks on market.

The buyers of this penthouse plan on centering the living room on their most prized possession: a ten-foot-tall pipe organ, which they had specially flown in from Germany and installed in front of the fireplace (which they won’t be using). “Someone from Holland comes in to maintain it,” says Dwelling Quest’s Peter Feldman, who brokered the sale. The duplex has a 500-square-foot wraparound terrace, a spiraling oak staircase, and plenty of room to house some 50 other instruments, including a harpsichord and assorted recorders and flutes.

425 Park Avenue South
1-bed, 11/2-bath, 1,000-square-foot co-op. Ask: $625,000. Sell: $600,000. Maintenance: $1,256. Eight weeks on market.

Headroom was the key criterion for the young buyer of this loftlike co-op. “He’s a tall kid,” says Corcoran’s Barbara Matter, his broker, so the beamed thirteen-foot ceilings in the 1927 building were enough to persuade the young financier. The seller was an interior designer who’d bought in the “early nineties when the prices were really low,” said his broker, Corcoran’s Kitty Sorell, who was selling in the building before nearby restaurants and development made the area less of a grim office land.

Taking the Fifth
At last, Adnan!

Has Adnan Khashoggi finally sold his pool-equipped duplex in the Olympic Tower? He first put the 18,000-square-foot condo, which he bought in 1976, on the market for $32 million in 1993. The price dropped steadily, and for the past three years he rented it out. Finally, last February, he found a buyer willing to spend just under $12 million for it, but the Olympic’s board members weren’t happy with the guy (who was rumored to be a front for a troubled foreign government) and attempted to buy it themselves. The spurned buyer put a lien against the property, which was resolved in court in December with Khashoggi and his Corcoran broker freed up to accept other offers (the asking price was $14 million). Now that they’re in the clear, there’s a buyer willing to take the plunge. (Charges are $15,000 a month.)

East Vs. West