Archive for June, 2012

Bank Seeks Swig Swag

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Three weeks ago, Bank of America quietly sued Kent Swig, his estranged wife Elizabeth Macklowe Swig, and The 740 Corporation, the cooperative that owns 740 Park, seeking to foreclose for non-payment on the Swigs’ duplex apartment there, and seize their proprietary lease and the associated shares in the fabled co-op, presumably planning to put it on the market to recoup what is owed the bank on a consolidated $17.6 million loan against the apartment. Read the lawsuit here [pdf alert]. My question: Whose apartment will be listed first? The Swigs? Or Ezra Merkin, owner of apartment 6/7B at 740, who … Continue reading

A swansong to the city

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My final Commentary column for Crain’s New York Business is about New York City.

Low floor, nice price

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The late June and Randolph Speight’s apartment at 740 Park, aka 71 East 71st Street, is in contract reports Kim Velsey of the New York Observer, who got the news from the Olshan Luxury Report of weekly apartment sales. Velsey has some fun considering possible reasons for a $12 million price chop (tp $23 million) since the unit was first listed in the days before the collapse of Lehman Brothers, following Mrs. Speight’s death. Regardless, it’s a great estate sale. And now, let the speculation begin about who will sell next at 740 and whether it will ever retake the … Continue reading

Who Madoff with an apartment?

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In next week’s Newsweek, Rebecca Dana revisits some 740 Park stories while discussing Andrew Madoff‘s failure to find a rental apartment.

Unreal Estate producer Joel Silver on landmark preservation

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Joel Silver, who is developing Unreal Estate as a series for HBO, is reportedly buying the Post Office in Venice, California (at right), as his new production office. In this YouTube clip, he discusses he plans to save the historic building–the perfect place to develop a series about historic Los Angeles homes.

Trophy apartment shopping list

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Alexei Barrionuevo has another good Big Deal column in the Times on Sunday. It includes a shopping list of the best penthouses currently for sale around Manhattan. But celebrity broker Raphael De Niro should have read my new Unreal Estate column in Avenue before claiming that Martin Zweig (at right) is looking to sell his awesome Pierre Hotel triplex. “I love our apartment and I don’t want to leave,” Zweig told me flatly.

Windows on the World

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As recently revealed by Jennifer Gould Kiel in the New York Post, Millennium Partners co-founder Christopher Jeffries just sold one of the grandest penthouses in New York–a former ballroom atop the former St. Moritz Hotel–to gambling man Steve Wynn. But it’s only one of three similarly stunning aeries overlooking the southeast corner of Central Park. I write about the history and the present occupants of all three in my latest Unreal Estate column in Avenue. That’s the former Pierre Hotel ballroom at right (Amiaga Photographers) CORRECTION : In the magazine, two captions are misplaced. The living room identified as the … Continue reading

Penny-Pinchers with Park Vus

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The upkeep of Central Park is 85% privately-funded. So why do only 17% of parkside residents chip in? This not-so-pretty picture is the subject of my penultimate “Commentary” column for Crain’s New York Business this week.

From X to SpaceX: A Flashback

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Back in 2000, just as the dotcom bubble was bursting, I went to Silicon Valley on assignment for Tina Brown‘s Talk Magazine to find some nouveau riche tech types and make fun of them. Instead, I found a man named Elon Musk (at right) who’d just founded X.com, an online bank that would soon evolve into PayPal, and discovered him to be not just newly rich, but charming, charismatic, brilliant and fascinating. Musk became the centerpiece of a story called “War of the Worlds” [pdf alert: it loads slowly], which compared the Jurassic society of New York with a new … Continue reading