Friday, May 22, 2009

How the Mighty–and the Children of the Mighty–Sometimes Fall

SELLERS: Marisa Noel Brown
LOCATION: East 78th Street, New York, NY
PRICE: $12,000,000
SIZE: to be 7,800 square feet with 8 bedrooms
DESCRIPTION: Perfectly situated just off Fifth Avenue on one of the city’s most prized townhouse blocks, this stunning 20’ wide brownstone has approved plans from the Department of Buildings and the Landmark Preservation Commission for the addition of a 6th floor, an 8 foot expansion on all floors towards the garden, and the excavation of the basement. The approved plans also include vast windows on the back of the house, bringing additional light and garden views into the 7,800 square foot home....

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Your Mama does not mean to be callous and we do feel a teeny bit bad about not feeling very badly about the misfortune of some of the highest of financial flyers and their hyper-consuming progeny whose wings were clipped when Wall Street went to hell in a hand basket on the back of credit default swaps, mortgage backed securities and all those other failed financial instruments that no one really understands. However, just like our finest friend Fiona Trambeau who relishes schadenfreude the way Madonna revels in the spotlight, like metal to a magnet Your Mama is also drawn to all the news about how far the formerly financially mighty are falling in the aftermath of the recent economic tsunami. We know, it's ugly and unseemly and in utter bad taste to delight in the downfall of others, but we just can't help our self sometimes.

Which is why, yesterday, when real estate gossip Mister Max Abelson at the NY Observer announced that toothy New York City gal about town Marisa Noel Brown and her huzband Matt Brown finally did what what all the Manhattan real estate watchers knew they were eventually going to have to do–list their Indiana limestone faced townhouse on East 78th Street–Your Mama got all goose-pimpled and sweaty.

For those children who do not know, Missus Noel Brown is one of several daughters sired by much maligned hedge hog Walter Noel, the founder of the Fairfield Greenwich Group which famously funneled some 7.5 billion client dollars into the bottomless pit that was Bernie Madoff's sixty-five billion dollar Ponzi scheme. Missus Noel Brown's huzband Matt had been a well paid managing director at F.G.G., but is now, of course, unemployed.

Property records and bazillions of previous reports reveal that Mister and Missus Brown bought the 20-foot wide townhouse on East 78th Street in January of 2008 for $13,500,000. The couple reportedly took a nine million dollar mortgage, hired the fab folks at Steven Harris Architects and planned a multi-million dollar renovation that listing information indicates included adding a sixth story to the five already there and adding a glassy eight feet to rear end of the townhouse which would would have brought the total square footage to around 7,800.

The townhouse sits just half a block from Central Park and a few more blocks from the venerable Metropolitan Museum of Art, the unauthorized history of which can be read in Michael Gross's dee-voonly salacious and scandalous new book Rogues' Gallery. Listing information indicates the interior spaces of townhouse have already been gutted and made ready for a massive, multi-million dollar renovation tha, presumably, Mister and Missus Brown can no longer afford to make since they no longer have an income or access to her daddy's formerly fat bank account.

The plans, according to listing information, included "dramatic" interior spaces, a roof deck, a "sophisticated" master suite plus seven additional bedrooms, 4 fireplaces, a "soaring" staircase and an elevator for the old, the infirm and the lazy. It's just too back the once publicity seeking Browns ran out of luck and money because we're quite sure they would have had magnificent photographs taken of the place so it could be published in one of the better shelter publications.

The comely couple have chosen to list their townhouse with an asking price of $12,000,000 a figure our bejeweled abacus reveals is a staggering one-point-five million clams less than they paid for the place just over 1 year ago...and that's not counting the architect fees, cost of demolishing the interiors and the staggering carrying costs of the $9,000,000 mortgage and the $46,450 yearly tax bill. Even worse for Mister and Missus Brown is that more than one real estate insider is whispering to the press and anyone else who will listen that word on the real estate street is that the cash-strapped couple will take much less than twelve million dollar asking price. Oh dear.

No matter what price the townhouse eventually sells, Your Mama seriously doubts we'll soon see Missus Noel Brown schlepping her Balenciaga clad booty and Jimmy Choo shod feet onto a cross-town bus with all the MetroCard carrying plebes. However, given the sharp-toothed and vicious social culture of the Upper East Side new money hoity-toities, we don't imagine she'll be hanging on to her vaunted position among all the young and well maintained ladees who lunch and shop and order the maid around while their huzbands and fathers pay the bills.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

We are really seeing that karma can come back to bite. It will be interesting to see what happens when they sell the place - will lawyers for Fairfield's clients who lost so much money come after them for the cash.

It would be hard for them to argue that the money did not come 100% from profits from Fairfield... which means it came from fees from placing money with Madoff.

Anonymous said...

Blech, all these people can crawl back under the rocks from which they emerged.

Anonymous said...

Don't let the proverbial door kick you on the way out of the upper east side, WHAM! I love karma!

Anonymous said...

The downpayment money probably came from salary/bonuses and dividends from Fairfield shares - those are next to impossible to get back.

Now let's take that abacus for another spin. Their downpayment was $4.5M, let's disregard the closing costs. If they sell for $11M and pay 6% commission, that's $10,340K back; pay off that mortgage, and it's $1,340K left. Interest expense for 18 months at least $540K, and taxes are another $70K. So our couple has shrunk their $4.5M to $730K in just one year. That's assuming they sell for $11M, which is rather optimistic. Given the fees they paid to the architects and such, this should go into an article "real estate investment: how to blow $5M in one year and have nothing to show for it".

Anonymous said...

IF it has been gutted, WHY would anyone possibly pay that much? seesm to me you have a 5 million dollar deal here.....

Anonymous said...

easy come, easy go

The Entrepreneur said...

I see in Street Easy its listed by two different agents at two different agencies. Is it a co-list? Has one of the agents been dumped and not taken the listing down?

luke220 said...

Sounds like the interior has been gutted already. Maybe they'll just walk away from it? Who wrote the mortgage? Maybe 50 cents on the dollar?

Anonymous said...

I read the article Vanity Fair did on the Noel family a couple of months ago. They're trying so hard to come off as victims, when it's clear they were criminal at worst or negligent and foolish at best. That home was paid for with ill-gotten gains so I have no sympathy for Mrs. Brown or her other sisters who also married slimeball greedy men, just like their father.

Anonymous said...

Mama,
Your posts on our home grown terrorists are much appreciated.

Jimmy said...

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi

Anonymous said...

"dramatic" interior spaces. I'd say a gutted building fits the description just fine.

Get out your sleeping bags and start a new trend.

Anonymous said...

Any idea where they currently live? I'm guessing they never moved into the new thwonhouse sine they were planning on a big remodel job--right? I don't feel sorry for them either.

Anonymous said...

here's the website for the listing. There's a floor plan of the proposed construction for you fellow FPJ's (floor plan junkies).

http://www.stribling.com/propinfo.asp?webid=1077903&type=TOWNHOUSE

Anonymous said...

I agree with everyone here: it's really hard to feel sorry for Matt and Marisa.
Instead of trying to make it on his own, he decided to "work" for Daddy-in-law -- in a company that was simply taking money from clients and passing them to a crook, while collecting huge fees for "due diligence" they didn't do.
As for Marisa, she's thirty and she's never had a job in her life -- unless you count "working" for Mommy, which I don't.

San Diego Homes said...

It sure is more humorous to poke fun about peoples' bad taste than it is to dote on their financial misfortunes. Maybe it is their bad karma, divine retribution, or whatever you want to call it. But whatever it is, there's more where it came from. No thanks. Do well!

Anonymous said...

God bless Bernie for stealing from the rich.