Spencer Means, N.Y.C.’s broker-to-the stars, gives the scoop on some of our favorite folks who have moved to very splashy addresses.
As told to Tracie Howard
Recession? Financial crisis? Market meltdown? One might never know by the grandiosity of some of New York’s recent real estate transactions. Many movers and shakers remain unfazed by the seven or eight digits that precede the decimal point when purchasing property on the isle of Manhattan.
Longtime Westchester residents Kenneth Chenault, CEO of American Express, and his wife Kathy, recently headed south to a 14,550-square-foot, neo-Classical triplex on New York’s Upper East Side. The famed Carhart Mansion, a 1913 landmark, is in the heart of Carnegie Hill and only a few designer-clad footsteps away from Central Park. The Chenaults will enjoy five bedrooms, six baths, 18-foot ceilings and a private terrace. With a price tag north of $20 million, we wonder if Ken will put it on his American Express Black Card? Wouldn’t we all love those frequent flyer miles!
In other highfalutin real estate news, Denzel Washington and his wife Pauletta added the exclusive, high profile 15 Central Park West building to their impressive list of addresses. Designed by celebrated architect Robert A.M. Stern, the average selling price for a condo in this building was $18 million, and one mega-unit just went on the market for $90 million. This limestone wonder offers its well-pampered residents a 20-seat theater, private wine cellars, staff units, room service and a private in-house chef. The Washingtons paid just over $12 million for their chic 3,000-square-foot pad and terrace, both of which face Central Park, and will be perfect for entertaining some of their notable new neighbors, such as Sting, Norman Lear, Bob Costas, Jeff Gordon, and a plethora of Wall Streeters who’ve managed to hang on to their cushy jobs and hefty bonuses.
Not to be outdone, Gayle King recently acquired her own piece of the rock on West End Avenue. The 29-story luxury condominium, developed by Clarett Capital LLC, Prudential Real Estate Investors and ING/Clarion, offers hotel-style concierge service, floor-to-ceiling windows, Brazilian Cabreuva hardwood floors, and a wine tasting room designed in collaboration with Wine Enthusiast magazine. Ahhhh…just the touch needed after a long day running around with O.
4 RULES TO REMEMBER WHEN BUYING A HOME
1) Choose the right real estate broker. It’s important to select an agent who is well-connected and knows your neighborhood.Like everything else, sometimes getting the right property is more about who you know, than what you know.
2) Know your budget before you shop. A pre-approval from your lender will most likely be required to cross the thresholds of New York’s more expensive lairs. Time is money, so when you’re talking high-end properties, sellers want to be sure that you’re actually able to buy, and aren’t just window shopping.
3) Think location, location, location! In New York City especially, compromise rules, even at the highest end of the market. Carefully consider which factors are more important to you. A great apartment or a great neighborhood? Weigh the benefits of proximity to work, versus the amount of living space afforded. How important are amenities, or is resale potential your primary motivation? (If so, see below.)
4) Play for the long term. The days of flipping real estate like hotcakes are over for now, so buy property that you love and want to live in for years to come. Given the current market conditions, consider your real estate purchase a long-term investment, as opposed to a short-term market play.