Category: 740Blog

Gripepad Exclusive: $45 million saves River Club

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River House–a frequent subject in this space–released a statement today revealing that a letter of intent has been signed to keep the private River Club inside the esteemed cooperative apartment house. What was not revealed was the price, but Gripepad has confirmed with an inside source that it is a $45 million deal. Not quite the $130 million the building claimed to be seeking for the premises–it also claimed that was not a negotiating ploy–but not chump change, either. So though on a blogging hiatus while traveling, Gripepad thought you should know.

$100 million–or bust!

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Who will sell New York’s first $100 million apartment? Where will it be? How staggering its views? How starchitect-y its design? And who will buy it? A Hedgie? A Saudi? A cloaking LLC? That inevitability is the subject of my cover story in the January-February issue of Departures, the luxury travel magazine. It’s now unlocked to read online.

Grazing the news for Gripepad obsessions

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Noted without comment: The last few days have seen several of Gripepad’s obsessions flitting hither and yon in the news. Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour , who appears on the cover of Rogues’ Gallery, has been rewarded for her fundraising and cheerleading efforts on behalf of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute with the naming of its newly-renovated galleries in her honor. The board of directors of 995 Fifth Avenue, just across the street from that museum, has sued One57 developer, the cantilever and crane-crazy Extell (and a partner) for breach of contract and fraud “in the construction, … Continue reading

Xmas Scrooge Alert: Tips and the Iceberg Rich

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Today’s New York Post has a laugh-riot story by Jane Ridley on Christmas staff tipping rituals in better buildings like 740 Park and 15 Central Park West. Read it and remember, they know if you’ve been bad or good so you better tip good for goodness sake!

Edgar Bronfman, RIP

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Seagrams heir Edgar Bronfman, second owner of the triplex penthouse atop 740 Park built for Elecrta Havemeyer and J. Watson Webb, and now occupied by for United Technologies head George David, has died at age 84. He paid $235,000 for the massive spread in 1961, and still owned it when his son Sam was famously kidnapped in 1975–though he’d moved to Fifth Avenue. His living room, designed by Albert Hadley, is shown. Late in 1979, Edgar finally sold the penthouse for $600,000 to Steven J. Ross, the head of Warner Communications.

Another seller at 740 Park: Got $29.5 million?

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Plagued by bad press this summer due to a series of petty thefts (petty for them, at least), 740 Park is back in the news today thanks to the listing of its fourth floor D-line apartment by investment banking’s Peter Huang. The apartment was infamous when Huang was still married to his first wife, Nancy Stoddart, whose friends from the Studio 54 set often came to keep partying there after-hours. Priced at $29.5 million, the unit, which overlooks 71st Street, is likely a fixer-upper. So if you’re handy as well as wealthy, pounce! The listing belongs to Kyle Blackmon, famous … Continue reading

Another Outrageous Endorsement

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Another advance reader of House of Outrageous Fortune: Fifteen Central Park West, the World’s Most Powerful Address, author-journalist Dana Thomas, author of Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster, says, “Want to understand what Occupy Wall Street was about? In House of Outrageous Fortune, Michael Gross explains it–and then some. With a rollicking, informative history of New York City, tales of mega real estate fortunes made and lost, and dizzying examples of the super-wealthy’s greed and ostentation, Gross deftly traces the arc of America both socially and financially and proves that the top two percent most certainly do not live like … Continue reading

Income Inequality: The CNN Reading List

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John Sutter of CNN.com has crowd-sourced a list of 99 must-read books on income inequality, presumably for the 99%, though some of the 1% might do well to read a few of them. My 740 Park makes the list at #30, between titles by George Bernard Shaw and Jonathan Kozol. Isn’t that rich?

An outrageous endorsement

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William D. Cohan, author of Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World and House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street, and a Contributing Editor of Vanity Fair, is the latest early reader to praise the forthcoming House of Outrageous Fortune: Fifteen Central Park West, the World’s Most Powerful Address. “Michael Gross has done it again!” he writes. “In intricate and revelatory detail, he shows how Fifteen Central Park West became the most famous and talked-about building in Manhattan: It’s the people who live there, of course, and Gross gives us … Continue reading

Cherchez la Monnaie: It’s inside 740 Park!

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Yesterday’s revelation of a series of jewel heists at 740 Park led to a series of followups today in the New York Post and on CNN, among other outlets. You can watch the CNN video here. The Post reveals that the victims include Danielle Ganek, whose husband’s hedge fund “agreed to pay the feds more than $21.5 million for its role in an insider-trading scheme” and Lauren Merkin, whose husband Ezra “was charged with civil fraud for allegedly steering $2.4 billion in client money to Bernie Madoff.” The Post missed the fact that victim #3 was Caryl Englander, whose husband … Continue reading

Does 740 Park have a Pink Panther (or was it an inside job)?

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Today’s Page Six lede and New York Post wood reveal a series of minor jewel heists at the legendary 740 Park cooperative, the 20th Century’s tower of financial power and the subject of this author’s 2005 book. Per the Post, the missing items are a wedding ring here, a watch there. Is the perp terrifically clever, stealing only things that won’t be missed? Or are they like opportunistic shoplifters grabbing penny candy from the counter? Not to cast aspersions, but per this report, it sounds like sticky-fingered support staff are more likely responsible than some savvy criminal mastermind.

House of Outrageous Fortune: Now available for pre-orders

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House of Outrageous Fortune: Fifteen Central Park West, the World’s Most Powerful Address is now available for pre-orders on Amazon by clicking here. Publication date is March 11, 2014. I’ll post a bn.com link as soon as it, too, becomes available.

Koch is Chill(ing)

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Via Bloomberg View, author William D. Cohan adds his voice to the chorus of condemnation aimed at billionaire Tea Party pal and 740 Park resident David Koch (shown greeting the late New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg at an obviously bipartisan 2010 party) in an essay titled “David Koch’s Chilling Effect on Public Television.” Cohan is commenting on The New Yorker’s recent revelation about attempts by public television executives to placate Koch over critical coverage–in Alex Gibney‘s documentary Park Avenue, based on 740 Park, and another film–and Cohan links those concerns to government snooping on phone calls and the Internet. “Just … Continue reading

“Scoop and poop,” says Cindy Adams

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My latest book, House of Outrageous Fortune: Fifteen Central Park West, the World’s Most Powerful Address, is coming in March 2014 from Atria Books, Cindy Adams reveals in her New York Post column today (scroll down past Bernie Kerik. Mixing up her Midases a bit (understandable in an era when there are so many making and managing new money), the gossip great names a few 740 Park “inmates” as characters in the new book, but this time, the “scoop and poop” will be about Lloyd Blankfein and Sandy Weill, not Steve Schwarzman and Henry Kravis, and Dan Loeb and Dan … Continue reading

Gibney’s 740 Park documentary in eye of PBS storm

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Alex Gibney‘s documentary Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream, based on my book 740 Park: The Story of the World’s Richest Apartment Building, aired worldwide last fall and is currently available for sale or rental in the iTunes store and on Hulu (as well as free online in the truncated-for-broadcast PBS version via Youtube). This week’s issue of The New Yorker is led by a story about Gibney’s film, detailing the pressure put on WNET, New York’s public television station, for broadcasting it. Though this is hardly the first time a wealthy subject has pushed back against revealing … Continue reading

How do you really feel, Gwyneth?

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Did someone say, how was your weekend? Well, busy. First we were unwillingly evacuated from our home. So I didn’t have time to post about NASCAR champ Jeff Gordon listing his apartment at 15 Central Park West, subject of my just-completed next book, or about France selling the home of its UN ambassador at 740 Park, subject of an earlier real estate opus. Then, Le Monde published a story on the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute and its ball quoting my Rogues’ Gallery, and Gwyneth Paltrow, one of the select invited guests, opined that, “It sucked.” And finally, my exile on … Continue reading

The Schwarzman Challenge

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In the last pages of 740 Park, written nine years ago, I challenged Stephen Schwarzman to live up to the standard set by John D. Rockefeller Jr., who’d once owned the private-equity chief’s apartment in that fabled building, and add significant philanthropy to his resume. It took a few years, but Schwarzman did take up that challenge, as has been noted in this space. Today’s New York Times finds the Blackstone boss in China, giving away money for good again, donating a third of the cost of a new $300 million scholarship program for study in China, and helping raise … Continue reading

Park Avenue on iTunes

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Alex Gibney‘s documentary Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream, based on my book 740 Park: The Story of the World’s Richest Apartment Building, is now available for sale or rental in the iTunes store. UPDATE: This week’s issue of the New Yorker is led by a story about Gibney’s film, detailing the pressure put on WNET, New York’s public broadcasting station, for broadcasting it.

Attention Trophy Apartment Buyers!

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The new listing of a tower duplex at River House for $25.5 million by Brown Harris Stevens this week might seem to have been inspired by my Unreal Estate column on the building in this month’s Avenue Magazine, but in truth, it’s come on the market because its owner, Betty Evans, just died. Hers happens to be the only River House apartment I ever visited. She was a niece of Julia Loomis Thorne who, with her husband Landon, were two of the most fascinating characters ever to inhabit 740 Park, the subject of my 2005 book. Evans was one of … Continue reading

Bonfire of the Verities: LIBOR’s Bob Diamond’s hideout revealed and other tales of unreal realty

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Where’s Barclay’s banker-in-chief Robert “Bob” Diamond been since leaving Barclays in disgrace amidst a rate-fixing scandal last summer? Licking his wounds (and counting his millions) right in our midst in a modest $37 million penthouse at Fifteen Central Park West. Read that and other tales of high-end apartment insanity in Manhattan–and of the people who spend eight figures on it without blinking–in “Bonfire of the Verities,” my update of Tom Wolfe’s 1985 discussion of “the Good Buildings” in the new issue of the digital only Newsweek via The Daily Beast. 740 Park was one of the good buildings. These are … Continue reading

Trophy Buildings Then and Now

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To each his own. Trophy building, that is. The Real Deal’s Jane Timm and Candace Taylor look at several of the city’s finest residences, then, now and, it predicts, in days to come, in this story on what it calls It Buildings. Two are the subjects of books by this blogger: Then, it was 740 Park. Now, I’m finishing my book on 15 Central Park West. One quoted broker says “she’s shown apartments at [the as yet unfinished] One57 to 15 CPW owners, some of whom are looking to sell before the older building loses its cachet,” the paper reports. … Continue reading

“A romping account…hidden and hushed up stories of alluring lives…” –HUSK Magazine

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The new issue of the bi-annual fashion magazine Husk has an interview with me by Eugenia Lapteva and a lengthy and irreverent guide to the residents of 740 Park (and some gate-crashers, too). I told Husk that 15 Central Park West is the new black, but apparently they still hanker for old school East Side co-ops. That’s alright. I still like my Turnbull & Asser blazer as much as I do the Rick Owens jacket I wear in the photo by Hadley Hudson that accompanies the piece. To read it in pdf form (be warned, it’s a big download) click … Continue reading

Who’s On Top? Big Deals in Unreal Estate

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Sandy Weill takes the cake, but he’s hardly along in cashing in on do-ops, condos and townhouses this year. The baker’s dozen biggest deals in residential real estate in New York City are the subject of my Unreal Estate column in the new December issue of Avenue magazine. And yes, 740 Park makes the list along with 15 Central Park West. (It’s a few pages–five clicks–into the “most talked about” feature.)

Saul Steinberg, R.I.P.

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Saul P. Steinberg, the financier, died yesterday at age 73. Though he declined to be interviewed for 740 Park, he nonetheless emerged as the book’s leading character, appearing in its opening pages and later, at the center of some of its most raucous moments. Felled by a stroke in 1995, he lost his business and sold his massive duplex apartment, one of if not the grandest in the city, to Steven Schwarzman for a then record-setting $29.9 million in 2000, and left the public stage he had occupied since the 1960s. He is survived by his second and third wives … Continue reading

Gibney’s Demagaguery??

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“None of those Park Avenue billionaires will sleep any less soundly after watching this film,” says the Telegraph’s Neil Midgley after viewing Alex Gibney‘s Park Avenue, based on my book 740 Park, which debuted on England’s BBC4 the other night. The reviewer went on to condemn the documentary as “a pretty thin retread of some already well-vented resentments in US politics.” The Independent disagreed, hailing Gibney’s conclusion that, “The US, built on the promise that anyone can drag themselves out of poverty if they work hard enough, actually has lower social mobility than most other comparable democracies.” Gripepad reports. You … Continue reading

“How the wealthiest have rigged the game.” –the NY Observer

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Good things are worth waiting for, like this review of Alex Gibney‘s Park Avenue by Kim Velsey of the New York Observer. “The documentary unfurls like a crime story,” she writes, “with a raft of damning evidence revealing the shameful acts committed by the masters of the universe in service of accumulating even vaster fortunes than they already have….[Gibney] makes a compelling case that inequality imperils democracy and that the victims of the inequality include not only those who find themselves in the rapidly expanding underclass, but the American dream itself.”

740 Park is back in stock at Amazon

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Alex Gibney‘s Park Avenue cleaned Amazon out of copies of 740 Park, but it’s now back in stock and available for purchase again. Happy Black Friday!

I know 740 Park, and 666 is no 740

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I never watched ABC’s supernatural soap opera 666 Park, and now it’s been cancelled, which makes me think I made the right choice. It was “shameless when it came to the inaccurate portrayal of Manhattan real estate,” Kim Velsey writes in her analysis of its failure in the New York Observer. But the real reason it’s died, she thinks, was “the erratic plot, the wooden acting, the lack of any sympathetic characters and for those who care about these kinds of things, the incoherence of the ‘evil’ plaguing the building.” So I wonder, if someone accurately dramatized the story 740 … Continue reading

740 Park is now Alex Gibney’s Park Avenue: Watch it here

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For those who missed it last week on PBS, Alex Gibney‘s documentary inspired by 740 Park is available for viewing online. You can watch it here.

NY Times on Gibney’s ‘Park Avenue’: “Particularly damning.”

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Neil Genzlinger reviews Oscar-winner Alex Gibney‘s “Park Avenue” in today’s New York Times. The documentary based on 740 Park: The Story of the World’s Richest Apartment Building airs tonight at 10 PM on PBS in America. Check local listings for air times elsewhere in the world.

“Trenchant, dishy…savage indignation.” –BusinessWeek on Gibney’s Park Avenue

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Bloomberg BusinessWeek reviews Alex Gibney’s documentary based on 740 Park: The Story of the World’s Richest Apartment Building, and critic Greg Evans gives it a rave and 3 1/2 stars. It airs on PBS November 12th at 10PM.

Watch Alex Gibney’s “Park Avenue” now on Hulu

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Alex Gibney‘s Park Avenue documentary inspired by my book 740 Park is now streaming for free on Hulu. Please like its Facebook page, too.

NY Post toasts Alex Gibney’s “Park Avenue” documentary

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“Gross delights in telling inside stories about the gaudy world of master-of-the-universe apartments,” Max Gross (no relation) writes in an article in today’s New York Post on Alex Gibney’s “Park Avenue” documentary, based on 740 Park. The Post also sneaks the name of the worst tipper at 740 Park, which is revealed in Gibney’s film. UPDATE: Business Insider give Gibney’s trailer some linkage love.

At the Acne

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The 14th issue of Acne Paper, a lavish, oversized custom publication, is a tribute to New York City and features an interview with me by Freddie Campion about luxury real estate, focused on 740 Park and my upcoming book on Fifteen Central Park West. If you don’t mind loading a PDF file, you can find it here.

(740) Park Avenue by Alex Gibney: The Trailer

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Watch Is the American Dream Out of Reach? on PBS. See more from Independent Lens.

Through the looking glass

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How do you make a documentary for a series called Why Poverty? based on a book about a plutocrat palace? That’s what Kim Velsey asks in this New York Observer post on the soon-to-be-released movie, Park Avenue. When the Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney called to see if he could buy the rights to 740 Park and base his film on it, he summed up the answer to Velsey’s question thusly: We’re both more interested in the perps than the vics.

Oscar Winner Alex Gibney Films 740 Park

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The Hollywood Reporter just revealed a secret I’ve been keeping since last year. Alex Gibney, the acclaimed documentarian, has acquired and made a film version of 740 Park. It’s called Park Avenue: Money, Power and The American Dream and it will air on PBS on November 12th as part of the international Why Poverty? documentary series, and will also be available on Hulu, iTunes and Netflix for digital download later this month. I’ll post links once I have them. Thanks to the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer who played matchmaker for Gibney and me. UPDATE: Curbed comments on the Gibney/Gross collaboration, … Continue reading

Streisand at 740 Park: A correction

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Tomorrow’s New York Times notes the posting in city records of the recent $19.5 million sale of the late Randolph and June Speight’s apartment at 740 Park to a Goldman Sachs partner, and pulls a bunch of juicy details from the pages of 740 Park, the book, to buttress its item. Those tid-bits are uncredited, and at this point, who cares? But one error begs for correction. Big Ticket columnist Robin Finn pulled a bunch of names from the book for her list of those “turned down” by 740′s co-op board (long run by Speight), but incorrectly includes the singer … Continue reading

At long last, 740′s Speight pad sells

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The longtime home of 740 Park’s longtime co-op board head Randolph Speight (a compelling presence in my book 740 Park) and his widow June, on the market since her 2008 death, is reported sold today by Kim Velsey at the New York Observer. She IDs the buyers as Jonathan Sobel, a former Goldman Sachs partner, and his wife Marcia Dunn. “Shouldn’t Mr. Sobel be joining the rest of the Goldman gang in 15 Central Park West, or even showing them all up and buying into One57?” Velsey asks. Then she answers her own question. “Some buildings, 740 Park chief among … Continue reading

If it’s September, this must be 834 Fifth

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When I started researching the book that became 740 Park, I began with a list of fascinating buildings, and eventually settled on one. But the others retain their fascination and thanks to Avenue, which gave me a column in the spring named after my current book, Unreal Estate, I now get to write about them, too. My September column (read it here) peeks past the doorman at 834 Fifth, home of Rupert Murdoch, A. Alfred and Judy Taubman and Carroll Petrie, among many others.

Political Petting Zoo (Don’t forget that check)

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Who would you rather share an elevator with? A puppy or an armed Secret Service man and Paul Ryan? In this week’s New York Observer, Kim Velsey looks at the tribal rights of fundraising nights in New York’s best buildings, and includes 740 Park (home of big Republican donors like David Koch and Steve Schwarzman) in her survey of buildings where candidates feed at the money trough.

A new NYC co-op sale record?

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David Geffen‘s reported purchase of tax-avoider Denise Rich‘s Fifth Avenue apartment for $54 Million sets a new record, says Matt Chaban of the New York Observer. It’s been more than a decade since 740 Park held that record. Sell, Steve Schwarzman, sell!

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

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.

What’s a half-a-million at 740 Park? About one-third the taxman’s bill.

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So, it turns out that the sale of Courtney Sale Ross‘ double duplex apartment at 740 Park–first reported here–was indeed closed for “about $52 million,” as reported elsewhere–$52.5 million to be precise–and not the asking price of $60 million, as Gripepad initially heard. The buyers, reports Kim Velsey of the New York Observer, are Howard Marks, head of the Oaktree Capital investment firm, and wife Nancy. Gripepad’s favorite fun fact from the official city filing? Real estate taxes on the transaction totalled $1,483,125. That won’t buy you much at 740 Park, but elsewhere in Manhattan, it’s the price of a … Continue reading

When Scoops Collide

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My scoop late last week on the sale of Courtney Sale Ross‘s double duplex at 740 Park Avenue has since been picked up and linked by The New York Observer, curbed, and Business Insider, all of whom were kind enough to credit Gripepad. It was also picked up five days late and a credit short by The Wall Street Journal today. The Journal set the sale price at $52 million, slightly below ask. Eventually, city records will show who got that right. As far as credit goes, as the merchant John Wanamaker once said, “Courtesy is the one coin you … Continue reading

740 Park: Back in Business Big Time ($60 Million Worth)

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Could it be the halo effect of Sandy and Joan Weill‘s unloading their 15 Central Park West penthouse for $88 million? The proverbial little bird chirps that Courtney Sale Ross has finally found a buyer for her double duplex apartment at 740 Park–and got her asking price of $60 million via Kathy Sloane at Brown Harris Stevens, whose listing for it is here. Officially listed last November, though it was available as a semi-secret pocket listing long before that, the apartment is on the 12th and 13th floors of the fabled co-op. Ross and her late husband, Warner Communications mogul … Continue reading

Back in the soup

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It’s back to #2 on the Book Soup bestseller list for Unreal Estate this week. Mmmmm. Good.

Unreal staying power

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In a post-Christmas surge, Unreal Estate has vaulted back up to the #6 position on the Los Angeles Times non-fiction bestseller list.