Thursday, February 21, 2013

Floor Plan Porn: 995 Fifth Avenue

SELLER: Joseph Plumeri
LOCATION: New York City, NY
PRICE: $32,000,000
SIZE: 8,360 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 6 full and 2 half bathrooms (plus an additional staff room and bath)

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Listen chickens, Your Mama was unexpectedly waylaid and re-routed this morning so we are all kinds of discombobulated, bent out of shape and plum worn out. Rather that prattle on about the slew of recent celebrity real estate transactions we haven't yet gotten around to discussing—or linking to—we thought rather than leave y'all high and dry it might be fun to veer off a bit for little afternoon delight in the form of some good ol' fashioned and very high brow New York City floor plan porn, shall we?

Even before we arrived home Your Mama very fortunately received a communique from our ever vigilant aide-de-camp Hot Chocolate who captured Your Mama's limited attention with a colossal, full-floor condop* spread at 995 Fifth Avenue in New York City that just popped up on the open market with a bell-ringing $32,000,000 asking price.

The children may recall that free-spirited and sartorially fearless beer heiress Daphne Guinness recently sold her outrageously dressed and art filled condop apartment at 995 Fifth Avenue, formerly the Stanhope Hotel. Miz Guinness sold her 4,100-ish square foot half floor unit in late November (2012) for $11,300,000—$435,000 less than she paid for the place in spring 2008—to some otherwise little known outside of Wall Street but obviously very rich portfolio manager named Matthew McLennen and his pixyish blond wife Monika. The children may also recall that Miz Guinness was involved in a very public legal dustup with her downstairs neighbors who successfully sued after their apartment was repeatedly water damaged after Miz Guinness somehow managed to overflow the bathtub in her master bathroom on four separate occasions. The court ordered the skunk-haired Miz Guiness to pay for the repairs of the damages but tossed out the neighbors request for financial compensation due to "mental anguish and emotional distress."

Anyhoodles poodles, a few short minutes research on the internets turns up clear and easy evidence that the behemoth, 8,000-plus square foot sprawler was purchased in March 2010 by insurance services fat cat Joseph Plumeri who coughed up just over $21,000,000 for the 15th floor residence that developers first listed in May 2007 with a significantly higher $33,000,000 price tag.

Maybe Mister Plumeri isn't a household name for all the celeb obsessed tabloid readers but in the banking and insurance industries he's a bone fide playa, babies. The Willis Holdings Group, the company at which Mister Plumeri is the CEO, is such a big deal that they were able to buy the rights to the old Sears' Tower in Chicago. That's why the 1,451 foot tall skyscraper is now, officially, called Willis Tower. 'Tis true.

As it turns out, Miz Guinness's neighbors weren't the only residents of 995 to file a lawsuit. Mister Plumeri actually filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the developer, Extell, after post-purchase renovations uncovered a hornet's nest of (alleged) issues and defects that "create a nuisance and/or danger to the 15th-floor apartment residents and other's life, health and safety." The issues were hardly trivial and were cited in the New York Post as "'numerous latent defects, including defective waterproofing, defective installation of floors and soundproofing...defecting fireproofing, [and] defective structural work.'"

The Stanhope building is austere and elegant and worth knowing something about if you care about such things but, in the interest of time, rather that fashion a new one, we're taking the easy way out toda. Here's how Your Mama described the Stanhope back in February 2012 when we discussed Daphne Guinness's apartment that was then listed at $14 million:

The Stanhope, a stately if somber limestone and brick edifice designed by preeminent New York architect Rosario Candela in 1926 stands directly across from the southern flank of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The building was converted to 26 (or so) luxury residences in the early- to mid-Aughts and offers its well-heeled residents white glove services (doormen, porters, valet parkers, etc.), a private library/conference room, access to the on-site (and very posh) La Palestra spa and fitness center, 24-7 concierge services accessible through a touch panel/video intercom, and wine storage space (plus sommelier recommendations and free delivery) at Acker, Merrill and Condit, a swank wine shop on the Upper West Side.


Listing information puts Mister Plumeri's palatial pad at 8,360 square feet and shows there are eight bedrooms and ten full and one half bathroom. We don't dispute the 8,360 figure but a brief scour of the floor plan included with current listing details and we came up 2-3 guest/family bedrooms lined up on the northern facade, a separate guest suite off the entrance gallery, a discrete—and discreet—staff bedroom with private bathroom tucked up behind the fire stairs and a multi-room master suite situated in the southeast corner. At best, that's a total of six bedrooms. We're not sure where the eight comes from. We also tabulated the number of bathrooms shown on the floor plan and we came up with not 10.5 bathrooms but seven full and two half bathrooms. Perhaps there are a couple of crappers we've over-looked?

We realize that 8,300 and some square feet might not sound large compared to a 35,000 square foot mega-mansion in Beverly Park or Alpine, NJ but by New York City standards, it's a whale-sized apartment for sure. Mister Plumeri's pad is so massive, in fact that it has three street frontages: Fifth Avenue, East 81st Street and Madison Avenue.

A quick comparison of the floor plan included with marketing materials from the time Mister Plumeri purchased the condop and the floor plan included with current listing details shows that Mister Plumeri made some minor but important alterations to the extravagantly proportioned apartment that still includes a 36-foot long entrance gallery with direct elevator access, a nearly 41-foot long living room with three gigantic windows that peer over the Met and beyond to Central Park.

About ten feet of the formal dining room was sliced off to make room for a walk-in temperature controlled wine cave; The corridor access to the old library was closed up and the library became the study that's now only accessible by traversing the new library—the old media room—and passing through a short hallway flanked by a half bathroom and convenient wet bar; In the 600+ square foot open-plan kitchen/family room Mister Plumeri had an ovale breakfast banquette built into an over sized window; An oddly located staff room just behind the family was incorporated into one of the guest bedrooms and a new staff room (with private bathroom) was carved into a space where a small guest bedroom (and bathroom) used to be.

The most significant changes were made at the rear, eastern flank of the apartment where the tail end of a 50-plus foot long corridor that links the public and family areas to most of the bedroom suites was softened with a circular vestibule. Two guest bedrooms, each with walk-in closet and private bathroom, line up along the northern side that overlooks East 81st Street and 998 Fifth Avenue, an even swankier co-operative with residents—or at least owners—who include Russian-born billionaire Len Blavatnik, booze heir Matthew Bronfman, hedge fund honcho Mark Rachesky, media mogul Herbert J. Siegel, real estate scion Jordan Panzer and big tim businessman Paul Fribourgg. Because of the way doors can be closed around the circular vestibule, a third guest bedroom, also with walk-in closet and private facility, can easily be incorporated into the already vast master suite next door.

The master bedroom encompasses a wing of its own and includes a long entrance hall, sitting room with fireplace, bedroom, a pair of fancy bathrooms and two custom fitted bedroom-sized dressing rooms, one of which was created by absorbing an adjacent guest bedroom and bathroom. When compared to the old floor plan, it's clear both of the bathrooms in the massive master suite were reconfigured and expanded. One now has a spa tub, separate shower and a bidet while the other has a steam shower and a bar. Now, children, pleeze. How goddamn divine would it be to have a bar in the bathroom? It's perfect for an easy-peasy, pre-chompers scrubbing early morning pick me up and ever better for a late night nipper during a pre-bedtime steam.

A quick peek and poke around property records indicates Mister Plumeri has been in the mood to shake up his property portfolio the last few years. In August 2011 he sold a small one bedroom and 1.5 bathroom co-operative at The Pierre building on Fifth Avenue for $1,950,000 and at the tail end of 2012 he dropped $3,640,000 on a condo crib in an Old School ocean front building in Palm Beach, FL. At one point he owned a number of residences in New Jersey but it looks like most if not all of them—including an large house on two bay front lots and a smaller land locked one across and down the road in the seaside community of Mantoloking—were deeded over to his ex-wife in 2010.

*If you care about the differences between and condo, a co-op and a condop, have a look see at a 2005 article in the New York Times that parsed the distinction(s) so Your Mama don't have to.

listing photos and (current) floor plan: Douglas Elliman Real Estate
(former) floor plan: Corcoran via Street Easy

25 comments:

Shopgirl said...

Location, location, location...I get it. Love it. However, all the furniture in the photos is pushed up again the walls indicating the rooms are tight? I am sorry, but for $32 million I don't need rooms with sofas pushed up against the walls. Am I wrong? I guess the buyer that can pay $32 million will be able to do a gut remodel, so it won't matter in the long run.

Grrrowler said...

I'm confused (this would not be the first time): the floor plan shows the building stretching from 5th Ave to Madison along 81st, but I can't see how that's possible. Looking at the map, and the Google's street view, there are 11 townhouses between 995 and Madison Ave, not to mention the building fronting Madison. The developer must have meant that the windows face Madison, which they do (if you're above the 7th floor it appears).

Anonymous said...

Like Growler says, I think the east-facing elevation faces towards Madison, but you can't really say it fronts it. This apartment doesn't stretch a city block, but the floorplan is kind of misleading that way.

Rosco Mare said...

The day-core is a bit bland for such a great residence. Apparently the day-corator didn't read our Mama Dearest's blog about Elizabeth Taylor's Bel-Air house and the restricted use of purple carpeting!

Jesse said...

I love the floor plan of the top apartment. Especially how the staff bedroom and full bath is separate from the main living area with its own access to the elevator and building stairs. I also like how the guest room is tucked away from the sleeping areas of the owners.

Jeanine Spence said...
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Anonymous said...

Correct, the building does not front Madison. The floorplan scale is slightly misleading, but not on purpose- thats how its done in nyc. If the building had east river views, per say, it would say "east river". Ive been in one of these full floor spreads (they occupy the top few floors, the ph is a seperate floorplan). The only complaint I have really heard is ceiling height, but these apartments are so grand and gracious that anyone with good taste would be able to overlook that.

Anonymous said...

God--HDR image processing has taken over real-estate photos like a particularly virulent virus, and those pics are especially bad.

modular office furniture delhi said...
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Desert Donna said...

I like the decor..wonder if the single (divorced) Mr. Plumeri has taste naturally or hired a good gay decorator? And that video you linked to previously Mama of Daphne wondering where she is, is just hours of fun. Love it!

lil' gay boy said...

Morn porn -- the best! (And I haven't even gotten up to pee yet...)

;-)

Anon 3:37, I heartily agree; one looking at the dimensions on the floor plan makes it appear that the dining room & rotunda vestibule are not nearly as intime as they most probably are; the height clearance resembles something FLLW would have done.

Spectacular 21st century reworking of an impressive floorplan; the epitome of NYC living at its best (if one can afford it, that is).

WrteStufLA said...

Back in 2008, I looked at one of the high-floor, full-floor residences, on behalf of my then-boss, who was in the market. I couldn't understand -- then or now -- why anyone would pay those kinds of prices for:

1. Such low ceilings -- always a problem with hotel conversions, even grand pre-wars like the Stanhope.

2. A view not so much of Central Park much as the tangled morass of mechanical equipment cluttering the roofs of the the Metropolitan Museum across the street.

3. With the Met right across the street, this is trashy tourist hell. And just the crowds -- bad enough -- but the numerous sidewalk vendors hawking their tacky drek.

Ahmed Ali said...
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Buzz Nelson said...

1:25, I have good taste and I couldn't overlook the low ceilings.

PS it's per se

Anonymous said...

One thing that has been lost on so many making their points of low ceilings and so many other reasons not to consider this purchase is that the rich just like everyone else have a great desire to own and flaunt what others desire.In NYC the address is often far more impressive than the actual suite and that in the end my sweets is all that a high price tag offers most of all.
Though this suite has been beautifully finished it offers a space that anyone with a desire for luxury finishes would consider and none of the over the top "look at what I've got " and look at all the fabric we bought interiors so often pushed on the market by individuals with loads of cash but not the taste to understand whats good and whats not.

Buzz Nelson said...

11:17- you sound like the listing broker.

The home is nice, but at 32 million clams some may expect something a bit more exceptional. Interesting that the market of "the rich" (your words) didn't find it worth more than $21 million three short years ago. A 50% increase in value?

Prabhakar Kumar said...
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wilians wilim said...
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Anonymous said...

Why is the floor-plan impressive, Lil?

Lilithcat said...

Willis Holding Group only leases a few floors at the Sears Tower (which is what Chicagoans still call it, whatever the "official" name is)!

I suppose that wine room is nice if you're a wine snob, but I find it somewhat amusing that it makes his dining room smaller than mine.

The fitted dressing room, however, I would kill for.

Param said...

I think the east-facing elevation faces towards Madison, but you can't really say it fronts it. This apartment doesn't stretch a city block, but the floorplan is kind of misleading that way.


I follow your blogs since long time. The way you list property and it’s photos is really nice. I am also a blogger. I write blogs on Apartments in Pune.

french kitchen furniture said...
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Anonymous said...

Maybe a little less flamboyance and a little more professionalism in the notes, dear Sir. People with that kind of money don't like to be talked to like little children. Just a thought.

yahoo buff said...

who cares its in front of the MET? 998 fifth is across the street,has the same view and is considered in top 4 building on fifth and top 10 in the whole city.The last 5 floors have decent views of the park.
The only real downsize is ceiling height.The stanhope has 15 floors amd we all know fifth ave has a 150 foot cornice height limit.That means each floor is bout 10 feet,including the floors.Proly 9 foot ceilings are kinda small when u compared to the 10-12 foot ceilings in the palaces that line Fifth,but the location,address,view,size of apartment all are great.

modular office furniture said...
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