Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hollywood's Bronx-Born Brad Grey Buys Fancy Manhattan Co-op

BUYER: Brad and Cassandra Grey
SELLER: Peter M. Schoenfeld
LOCATION: New York City, NY
PRICE $15,500,000
SIZE: (nearly) 3,000 square feet, 2-4 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Recently we've found ourselves mostly stuck in Bev Hills and it's environs, the 'burbs, beach communities and other celebrity locales in and around Tinseltown. This past week or more of vast expanses of luxuriously watered lawns and endless ocean views have left Your Mama, like Billy Joel, Jay-Z and Alicia Keys, in a(n Empire) New York state of mind where the extreme high end real estate market is alive and well and where Bronx-born West Coast-based entertainment über-executive Brad Grey recently scooped up a pricey and impossibly swank co-operative spread situated high in the tower of The Carlyle, an elegant and impossibly sophisticated hotel and residence complex just off Fifth Avenue on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Diminutive in stature, as the current, successful and fearsomely powerful CEO and Chairman of Paramount Pictures Mister Grey looms large in the Big Bizness of Show. In his current post he's overseen the development, production and financial successes of scads of television programs and movies that include The Sopranos, Real Time with Bill Maher, Just Shoot Me, and The Larry Sanders Show, the Transformers, Star Trek and Paranormal Activity film franchises, Shutter Island, No Country Fro Old Men, Up In The Air, and True Grit. In the early Noughts, with then-married superstars Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, Mister Grey founded Plan B Entertainment, a film production company with credits that include Running With Scissors (which was really a much better book than movie), The Departed, and, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Mister Pitt is now the sole owner of Plan B but has a release deal with, no surprise, Paramount Pictures.

Probably some of the recent buying and selling of high-priced properties (on both coasts) has to do with Mister Grey's recent divorce from long-time wife Jill Gutterson and his subsequent glitzy, star-studded wagon hitching ceremony in April of this year (2011) to a gal named Cassandra Huysentruyt, a wispy, unusually beautiful high-end vintage clothing boutique owner who appears to Your Mama's boozy eyes to be significantly (if not even remotely surprisingly) younger than Mister Grey. This is after all Hollywood where, let's break it down to brass tacks and be real folks, a successful entertainment executive's mid-life (crisis) pretty much a priori includes a lithe and notably younger second and/or third wife.

Let's begin with Mister (and New Missus) Grey's latest real estate acquisition, the aforementioned full-floor apartment The Carlyle that encompasses about 3,000 square feet with 2-4 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms, and 4 multi-million dollar exposures. Records show the apartment, originally listed for $17,500,000 by hedge fund honcho Peter Schoenfeld, was scooped up by Mister and New Missus Grey in mid-November 2011 for $15,500,000, as was first revealed a couple weeks ago in the Hollywood Reporter. Mister Schoenfeld and his wife Charlotte, it should be noted, only bought the 26th floor aerie in in January 2007 for $6,451,250. That means, as anyone with an abacus can see, lucky Mister and Missus Schoenfeld are sitting pretty on a nine-plus million clam profit less about 5 years of carrying costs, renovations, decorations and real estate fees.

Speaking of carrying costs, listing information for the 8-room simplex apartment shows monthly maintenance for Mister and New Missus Grey's New York crib runs–we suggest y'all sit and stiffen your spines with a swig of your favorite hooch–an illusion-shattering $37,945. No babies, we did not make a mistake nor did your eyes fail you. Mister Grey's monthlies at The Carlyle run, as per listing information, a spectacular $455,340 per year or, seen another way, $1,247 and fifty cents every damn day of the year not counting upkeep, improvements, and/or maintenance of whatever mortgage he may (or may not) have taken on the place.

Of course, services at The Carlyle are many and impeccable and include twice daily maid service, in-suite room service as well as in-hotel dining options, a deluxe spa and beauty center, private garage with valet parking, 24-hour anything-you-want-or-need concierge services, and extensive security systems and operations that allow pooh-bahs, pashas and potentates from around the globe to feel completely at ease when their wives or lady-friends check in (or move in) with a hand-crafted, locked valise that holds five or ten million in jewelry and other glittery spoils often amassed and toted around by finely pampered and exceedingly wealthy women or sometimes by less-financially independent women who attach themselves to very wealthy and often older men. Before you all get to hooting and hollering about that last statement we suggest y'all hold on Sally. Your Mama insinuates nothing, nada, zilch about the relationship and marital affairs of Mister and New Missus Grey. We assume–as we have no other reason not to and suggest you do the same–the newly wedded May-December duo are madly in love for all the right reasons and plan to spend the rest of their natural and post-natural lives making soft cooing noises while swaddled in each others tender, loving arms.

Anyhoo, whatever kind of conniptions, indignations and indigestions the sale price and monthly maintenance costs will certainly invoke in many, Mister and New Missus Grey's apartment at The Carlyle is really something to behold. This, children, is a plum example of one of the many high-priced real estate ways the very rich do it in New York City, enveloped in refined and sumptuous luxury with attentive white-glove services available at a moment's request, and knee-wobbling wrap-around views that include sunrises over the East River, Midtown's crush of twinkling city lights at night, and sunset views over Central Park.

Floor plans included with the original online listing show a private elevator landing opens into a vast entrance gallery that stretches 36-feet from end to end and is divided only by a chunky support column set smack in the not-quite-center of the room. It's an impressive and ambitious if somewhat superfluously huge space perfect for displaying artworks, doing group calisthenics or hosting a small cotillion.

A wide corridor extends off the gargantuan gallery, passes a sizable bedroom with en suite facility–used by the seller as a library/tee-vee lounge–and whisks quickly by a windowless guest pooper before it flowers open in to a commodious, 420-ish square foot corner living/dining room where horizontally-striped curtains make (maybe too-) busy frames for the over-sized windows that dip nearly to the floor and provide all but unobstructed views north and west over Central Park's pleasantly lumpy carpet of tree tops.

The adjacent kitchen is tiny even by the standards by of fifteen and some million dollar apartments in New York City but it is none-the-less well equipped and efficiently designed to include a full-suite of high-grade Euro-style appliances, sleek blue-grey cabinetry with wintery-white counter tops, and two stools for quick snacks in front of a pair of large windows with oblique park views. A potential bedroom/live-in domestic suite off the kitchen (also with access from the main bedroom corridor and marked "office" on the floor plan) has a private windowed bathroom and a stacked washer and dryer tucked into the closet.

The current layout of the apartment would allow for four complete bedrooms suites but was configured by the seller with just two proper bedrooms: a guest bedroom with walk-in closet and small windowed facility and a considerably larger 323-square foot master suite with eastern morning and southern city views, decent-sized but not particularly huge walk-in closet, and windowed bathroom with double sinks and built-in linen/toiletry cabinet.

Back on the west coast Mister Grey's real estate portfolio remains in a bit of flux. In November 2010 he acquired through a trust a magnificent if somewhat bedraggled hacienda-style Monterey Colonial mansion in the highest of Bel Air's high-holy real estate grounds. Property records show the 2.15 acre estate (above), once owned by Frank Sinatra and the childhood home of his fab daughter Nancy, was purchased for a hefty $18,500,000 and is surrounded by the sizable estates of Danny DeVito and Rhea Pearlman and couture collector Suzanne Saperstein who has had her hyper-opulent 35,000-plus square foot residential beast Fleur de Lys on the market with a bombastic asking price of $125,000,000 for, literally, years.

Although he never moved into the house it was here where in April of this year (2011) Mister Grey and Miss Huysentruyt hosted an elaborate multi-tented event during which they made their marital vows of chastity (and whatever) in the witness of God, government, family, friends and a small army of expensively attired a-list celebrities.

Mister Grey, in classic Hollywood style, soon caught a nasty case of The Real Estate Fickle and in September 2011–without, as far as we know making any significant improvements to the property–flipped the still-a-diamond-in-need-of-a-multi-million-dollar polish back on the market with a much higher price tag of $23,500,000.

Current listing information shows the 2-story mansion, built in 1936 around a massive, piazza-like brick motor court that gives way to a second rear motor court, measures in at a small for the neighborhood 8,631 square feet with 7 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, and at least 4 fireplaces.

In April 2009, about the time it became know a soon-to-be-divorced Mister Grey spent a considerable $22,000,000 to snatch up a newly built Colonial-style mansion in a swank section of Bel Air, next door to Nic Cage's old spread and across the street from Rick and Kathy Hilton's long-time west coast abode. As far as we know the house was never on the open market but the Los Angeles County Tax Man's records shows the black-shuttered L-shaped mansion measures 10,616 square feet with 4 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms.

For many years Mister Grey and First Missus Grey–who giddily signed their divorce papers with a happy face!–lived in a 13,143 square foot mansion in the ritzy Riviera area of the affluent coastal Los Angeles community of Pacific Palisades. In June 2009, shortly after all us property gossips prattled on about Mister Grey's new digs in Bel Air, he and First Missus Grey heaved and hoisted their hulking 7 bedroom and 12 bathroom family residence on the market with an equally hulking $29,900,000 asking price.

Property records are a bit vague and, in some cases, incomplete, but it appears to Your Mama that Mister and Ex-Missus Grey sold the property in August 2010 for a reported $21,500,000 to Christine and Jordan Kaplan, a well-compensated real estate industry executive who heads up a publicly traded company called Douglas Emmett, according to its website one the largest corporate owners of office buildings and multi-family housing communities in Los Angeles County.

Like many big-shit players at the top of the Hollywood heap, Mister Grey also owns and maintains an ocean front house on celebrity-lined Broad Beach in Malibu.

listing photos (New York City): Brown Harris Stevens via Curbed
listing photos (Los Angeles): Westside Estate Agency


Anonymous said...

That $455,340 per year is nuts....even for a studio mogul who must be worth well into 9 figures.

Doug said...

I'm pretty much speechless on this one. I guess the more money you have the less you worry about being screwed out of it.

Anonymous said...

Here's a crazy thought, why not just reserve a suite at the Caryle whenever your in town, same service. The views are amazing, but for 15 mil and 40K a month, without a balcony, count me out.

However I'm totally in love with the house on Carolwood. It looks like he has razed the poolhouse (ugh), but he did tear off that stupid sunroom off the terrace.

Anonymous said...

I believe it is the ex-missus Grey, who sold the Copa de Oro house. It was a confidential sale, and not put on the open market. She bought a house last year over on Stone Canyon Road, which was a major fixer... and something tells me that she still also owns a house in Pasadena... or La Canada Flintridge... somewhere in that vicinity.

Rosco Mare said...

The Sinatra hacienda on North Carolwood is one of the few remaining, original estates on the street. Gone are the former homes of Barbra Streisand, Walt Disney, and Gregory Peck. The former Rod Stewart estate, a 1930's Wallace Neff, was restored and expanded on to the Gregory Peck property next door, and it is spec-tac-ular! Burt Reynolds former house has been remodeled. I am hoping that Herb Hutner's former mediterranean-style house across from Michael Jackson's last residence is not in danger because with a make-over by one of Our Mama's nice gay or otherwise decorators, it could be gorgeous - like Constance Bennett's former French-style house owned by Peter Morton, across the side street from the Sinatra hacienda.

Anonymous said...

Wow - I could find much better. An awkward column in the gallery, no dining room (when you want a chef to serve you privately, not in the hotel), and a lack of elegant buffer zones between public and private - for 15 million? There's no accounting for taste.

Anonymous said...

The sick part of this is that on top of the $37,945 monthly, I'll bet that the staff expects to be tipped - lavishly - every time they lift a finger for a resident.

Anonymous said...

It makes sense that an out of town person would buy this apartment in the Carlyle. I don't think a full time resident would really go for the crippling maintenance.

In recent years Carlyle apartments have flooded the market, often selling at deep discounts due to the monthly costs. People who purchased apartments years ago with $4,000 costs found themselves paying $10,000 a month, which is a different ballpark.

While the maintenance includes twice daily maid service, most people who live in expensive apartments (let's say $5,000,000 as a VERY conservative threshold) have one or more full time domestic workers. Two people full time would cost $100,000 a year or less, and you have a person who is available all day rather than two quick cleans by a rotating cast. A person who is in New York full time would likely prefer their own staff, but a pied a terre resident might not want to deal with finding a full time person. That is a rather expensive way of avoiding a minor hassle, considering there are agencies that can handle all of that. The Carlyle still charges per personal laundry item and for the room service on top of the maintenance, so the monthly charges would be even higher.

The pros of the Carlyle:

Easy board to pass
High views for Upper East Side due to height of the tower
Large downstairs staff and restaurant if you like that sort of thing at home

The cons:

Awkward, ungracious layouts with low ceilings and beams
Microscopic kitchens and bathrooms
Transient hotel guests populating the building and sharing elevators (certainly not as private as a co-op)
Maintenance that will only continue to rise - so the $37,945 today will soon be $50,000.

I think these purchasers could have gotten a much better deal on this apartment, or much more for their money elsewhere - but that is assuming they are reasonable. I suspect they rationalized it themselves as $1,250 a day for a large suite (as opposed to the $650 per night per single room the hotel charges). I just feel sorry for their heirs as this is unlikely to be an appreciating property with the lack of architectural appeal and ridiculous maintenance.

Anonymous said...

Staff in white glove buildings are part of unions are typically not allowed to accept tips. In my building in Chicago- no staff can accept tips.

Anonymous said...

Chicago isn't N.Y. EVERYONE in N.Y. has their hands out...

Anonymous said...

I'm not one to malign NY because I love NY but I lived for 10 years in a full service (but not white glove) building and it was absolutely expected that we tip the staff but only during the holidays. Management would hand around a flyer to each resident with the names and photos of each of the staff members because, well, so few residents actually knew the names of the doormen, concierges, porters and security.

Anonymous said...

No tipping the building staff will get you NO WHERE in NYC!
Also this Carlyle apartment strikes me an enormous exercise in spending money. I don't care how much you have. On top of all, it's a boring place.

Anonymous said...

I assume by the kitchen the new Mrs. doesnt cook and they will just order room service. Seems like alot of wasted space in the entry or gallery..

Anonymous said...

Building staff in NYC (and probably elsewhere) know EVERYTHING about you so it's really best to tip them.

Anonymous said...

Can one of you architecture buffs explain why Sinantra's old house has wood siding? Is that original?

It seems like a horrible mishmash of a spanish style estate with the wood siding of a Connecticut farm house. Very, very, odd and I've never seen anything like it.

Anonymous said...

The first time I set foot in the Carlyle twenty years ago, to see Dixie Carter's cabaret act (she was fabulous, bawdy fun), Julie Andrews swept right past me in the lobby, in a full length fur coat. Wow. I do appreciate the certain glamour the Carlyle has.

Anonymous said...

I went to see Dixie Carter at the Carlyle about 20 years ago... she sat on the piano and opened and closed her legs as she swung around and sang. Needless to say I saw more of Dixie than I ever wanted to that night. I'm still trying to recover