Tuesday, November 2, 2010

UPDATE: 927 Fifth Avenue

Yesterday Your Mama rambled on and on (and on) about New York City's über exclusive 927 Fifth Avenue building where the estate of recently deceased financier Bruce Wasserstein has put the top half of the billionaire's titanic doo-plex on the market with an elephantine asking price of $26,000,000.

Interest in the 9 room sprawler, according to a new report from the always well-informed Josh Barbanel at the Wall Street Journal, has been so frenzied that the listing brokers quickly shifted real estate gears and opted to schedule for a one day auction.

Brokers with sufficiently interested–and financially qualified–buyers were instructed to submit sealed bid offers by the end of the day yesterday, November 1, 2010. Brokers indicated that the cooperative apartment would go into contract soon after. Your Mama read on the interweb somewhere–we can't remember where now but we'll keep looking–that in order to qualify financially to purchase a spread at 927 Fifth Avenue, a buyer must show 4 times the purchase price of the apartment in liquid assets. That means the buyer of the top floor of Mister Wasserstein's former doo-plex will need to have at least one hundred million clams sitting around in cold hard cash. Ain't life nice for some people?

Mister Barbanel reported that due to the heavy interest in the ritzy residence the deadline might be extended. That sounds like it might be a good thing since the crush of interested parties was so feverish that potential buyers were scheduled in over lapping 45 minute intervals on Monday afternoon with some brokers whining about how they had not been able to get in to view the apartment for or with clients.

Mister Barbanel's briefing included some juicy nuggets of information such as the confirmation that Mister Wasserstein's two full floor units at 927 Fifth Avenue, each around 6,000 square feeet, had indeed been doo-plexed into one vast, mansion sized apartment. In June of 2010, presumably in preparation for sale, permits were issued to close up the staircase that connected the two apartments.

If interest in the 11th floor unit is so great, Your Mama would bet our long bodied bitches Linda and Beverly that there is one or maybe even two stinking rich real estate size queens who will try to buy both floors of Mister Wasserstein's former doo-plex. At this point, we don't know if there are plans to sell the 10th floor apartment or if it too is for sale but not on the open market.


Anonymous said...

I'm confused... After looking at the pictures and the floor plan, where o'where is the dining room table sitting? It couldn't possibly be in the actual dining room. If the table was placed longways from the window and you were looking over it as in picture three we should see the kitchen not the living room and what wall are those little "side" tables along? Anybody else notice this?

Aunt Gina said...

I have two questions re: 927 5th Ave.

Am I correct in assuming that even if you are the high bidder, able to prove you can cough up 100 million, would you not still have to pass muster with the co-op board? From what I read, these people are seriously picky about who they share a lobby with. I doubt Russian robber barons or Powerball winners need apply. So how does that work exactly, if you win the bid but are determined to be ~sniff~ socially unacceptable?

Also, I tend to get stuck on little details in life that I actually have no business getting obsessed with. Apparently, if you have enough money you can make yourself invisible, even on the internet.
Such seems to be the case with Harold and Judith Winters, the 12th floor occupants of 927. When Mama indicated she couldn't find anything on them, I took a spin around the web myself [don't ask me why, I just do these things, I probably need to get out more] I'm usually pretty good at this stuff, and I came up empty handed. Other than the fact that the hawks took up residence under their windows, they seem to have no footprint whatsoever anywhere I could find.
Does anyone know who these people are and from whence their green stuff cometh? I admit, I am stumped.

Anonymous said...


You couldn't possibly say enough about 927 Fifth Avenue or any prewar Upper East Side or Upper West Side building. I just know that the children would love a review of the San Remo.

And confidential to rg, who posted on Mama's original 927 expose: Rabbi Hedda LaTess, like Your Mama, never jokes about real estate! Trust us.

Veranda LaPorch and
Patti O. Furniture, Trenton NJ

Anonymous said...

Aunt Gina:

Yes, cooperative boards can reject any prospective purchaser without disclosing a reason, and it remains amazingly legal. Consequently, Russian robber barrons, and robber barrons of all nationalities, along with powerball winners, are reduced to purchasing condoes at the new Time Warner Center.

There are prewar buildings, mostly on the Upper West Side, including the San Remo, along with one prewar on East End Avenue, that are known as having fair boards. Heck, we might even have a fair shot of gettin' in.

Cousins Studly and Rodney
Trenton NJ

Anonymous said...

This is a very odd report by Barbanel because as the above commenter has said you just can't buy your way into this building. Yes, you do have to have some such multiple of the sale price in liquid assets but that is not enough to get you passed the board -- necessarily.

Someone like Madonna, for instance, is not going to get through no matter what she has in the bank. And that would only be the most extreme case. If the Board President's wife doesn't like the prospective buyers wife's taste in clothes, that could be the deal breaker. Coop boards have the power to do anything they want, and they are not required to reveal why they made their decision.

Now only the very creme de la creme of brokers are involved here (if indeed they are doing it as described), and it is their business to know whether or not a prospective buyer/bidder has a reasonable chance of approval.

Anonymous said...

Well I certainly think that if you have 100 million in cold cash sitting around you should buy yourself a palace rather than waste it on charity helping nobodies with only $15,000 a year and no medical insurance survive. Let 'em die, or starve, who cares?, as long as palaces can live!

Anonymous said...

Your Mama,

Didn't you mean the Wall Street Journal and not the New York times?

You just took one too many nerve pills or a tad too many gin and tonics... forgiven. Thanks for all you do.

Anonymous said...

and here I was worried about the economy! I feel so much better!

Lilithcat said...

Don't know where the Winters $$ came from, but here's some links to financial info for the Judith and Harold Winters Charitable Trust.

Anonymous said...

dear Veranda LaPorch and Patti O. Furniture:

thanks for the update. here's another one: should i drink with fonda richmen? she (i'm assuming) might not be so fond of me, as i am a starving-artist type, a scribbler to be exact. i'm not shopping in the sweet spot, i'm researching.

and let me restate my original question succinctly here: how do we rank the buildings on fifth between 66th and 79th? 4e66, 2e67, and 960 have been identified already.

thanks to all.

- rg

Anonymous said...

I think there is wide agreement that the the buildings named in previous comments, but excluding 1040, are the most "exclusive" on the street. And, as you pointed out, they are all on the stretch between the mid-60's and 79th St.
Why, you ask, is 1040 not in that category? Well, historically it never had as fancy a list of tenants as those others, and indeed its location probably had something to do with that. Those others, historically, included families associated with major American fortunes: Rockefellers, et al. Now its just a matter of small degrees. After all, one of the richest people in America, David Koch, bought the Onassis apartment from her kids. But the fact that Jackie was able to buy that apartment may have been related to the fact that it wasn't that exclusive at that time. Despite her blue-blood bonafides (her grandfather on her mother's side, I believe, developed 740 Park Ave.), her late husband was a Democrat and a Roman Catholic, and she was one of the few people in America at that point who was being stalked by paparrazi (remember Ron Galella?). Folks in those buildings were not interested in people lurking around the front door. . .

Anonymous said...

anonymous 4:23 PM:

thanks much. seems that jackie gave 1040 some extra cachet that it still has. i can barely grasp how jackie's late husband being a roman catholic (and she herself) might still have been an issue in those buildings in 1964, but i'm still trying to wrap my mind around the idea that they excluded members of the democratic party. wow. so those buildings traditionally were occupied by protestant republicans only? i guess rosario candela would not have been welcome.

here's my next newbie question: what do we think is the best building in the city designed by james carpenter?

thanks again.

- rg

Anonymous said...

I suppose one could say that on Fifth, probably 4 East 66, but there's also 920 and 1030. On Park it's probably 640. Other than those, all his designs are pretty much copies of each other (floorplan-wise) and somewhat perfunctory.

Anonymous said...

Ah and I forgot about 950, the ones in there are nice full-floor duplexes.

Anonymous said...

...907 doesn't count because it's been awfully cut up and no one lives there anymore, and you can't count Huguette because she's probably dead.

Anonymous said...

People don't remember that Kennedy being a Roman Catholic was almost as big a deal for the country in 1960 as Obama being black was in 2008. Rich Catholics, who at that time tended to be of Irish ancestry, were indeed excluded from the top buildings and clubs. Jackie was in the Social Register, but it was through her mother, Janet Lee. The Kennedy's were definitely not. In those days, almost all rich white people were Republicans, unless they were Jewish or sometimes Irish. Take a look at Stephen Birmingham's books about the rise of the Irish elite, 'Real Lace', and the Jewish elite, 'Our Crowd', if you are interested in these subjects.

Anonymous said...

thanks to all for the responses.

i'm aware of the birmingham books, but it's time for a closer look.

seems that 907 fifth could have been a contender if most of the floors hadn't been divided.

i see lots of floor plans for the "back" of 920 fifth, but none for park-facing apartments. a full floor there would be something.

here's another question: what are the best post-war buildings on fifth? (i'm sticking with this thread until mama puts up a new one with a new york theme.)

thanks again to all.

- rg

Anonymous said...

Google 'Stribling 920 5th' or some such thing. While there aren't (originally) full floor spreads at 920, Stribling has a past-closing listing and plan for an apartment fronting 5th Ave. You can put the two together and see what it's like. Basically it's like a lot of Carpenter's other floor plans, but sideways with the larger frontage and public living areas on the sidestreet, and the bedrooms on 5th Ave.

As for post-war, 910 would probably have the biggest and nicest apartments, as horrifying as the building is on the outside.

Lucian said...

all those bldgs discussed here are great,but imo on Fifth u either live in one of the BIG FOUR LEGENDARY 820 834 960 998 or ur just a wannabee.The best apartments have to have big square footage,big frontage,big public rooms,big private rooms,high ceilings(12-13 stories in that 150 foot limit).This building may be grandish in scale,but deosnt stand a chance when compared to buildings like 998 820..those buildings have 100 feet on the park,double.And thats where its decided really.Thats why 4E 66th or 2E67th ,despite having huge apts and high ceilings dont compare.Its a good bldg but only 3 windows on the park,it could/should have had 5.Bad design.
Apartments fall in 3 categories,regarding scale:
-grand 2500-4000 SQF
-very grand 4000-5500 SQF
-palatial 5500 sqf+
This bldg is midtable at best.

Marcus said...

Although 927 is wonderfully located and has gorgeous apartments, it is NOT one of the most exclusive/grand structures that line Upper Fifth Avenue.And I'm not saying this because it wasn't included on that famous list of 42 "Good buildings".
The truly palatial and uber exclusive on Fifth Avenue are :
-820,834,4E 66th,2E 67th in the 60s
-960 in the 70s
-998 in the 80s(MET)
907 and 910 were also contenders but the apartments have been cut up a long time ago.
927, 1040,1030,1020,990,810,944,950 are all second rate buildings, despite commanding high prices .Some aren't grand enough, some aren't exclusive enough.
ps.Full floors at 927 are exactly 4750 SF.Ceilings are 11 feet, frontage 60 feet.