The inside scoop on New York real estate

Living in a five-bedroom triplex penthouse in SoHo can’t be that bad, right? Yet despite its celebrity pedigree, one of the two penthouse units at 30 Crosby Street, between Grand and Broome, has had a tough run on the real estate market...




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Living in a five-bedroom triplex penthouse in SoHo can’t be that bad, right? Yet despite its celebrity pedigree, one of the two penthouse units at 30 Crosby Street, between Grand and Broome, has had a tough run on the real estate market. Rock star and moonlighting decorator Lenny Kravitz—who paid $7 million for the 16-room Penthouse B in 2000, soon after the 1890 corset factory had been converted to condos—tried listing the apartment in 2002 for $17 million. After having no luck selling, he took it off the market for six months and oversaw major renovations. (Perhaps the stress of it all led him to make ample use of the calming aromatherapy system in the building’s lobby.) The apartment is huge—more than 6,000 square feet—with an additional 3,000 square feet of outdoor space. Plus, it has a keyed elevator entrance, essential to privacy-seeking celebs such as Kravitz and Nicole Kidman, who bunked here in 2003. (The two were romantically linked at the time.) Star-worthy features include floor-to-ceiling windows, eight bathrooms, a Crestron entertainment system, and a floating glass staircase that leads to the sumptuous master bedroom suite. And with no load-bearing walls, the space can be easily reconfigured.

Nonetheless, Kravitz’s trophy palace had no takers until 2010, when R&B singer Alicia Keys bought it for $12.75 million, following various price reductions. But by March 2012, she was already looking to sell and listed the condo with Sotheby’s for $17.95 million. This past February, there was a price chop to $15 million, and the place sold within weeks.  

Grammy winner Keys and her producer husband, Swizz Beatz, had already decamped to Englewood, New Jersey, where they paid about $12 million for Eddie Murphy’s seven-bedroom, 25,000-square-foot Bubble Hill estate. (Murphy had been trying to sell for eight years.) The mega-mansion comes with a recording studio, a two-lane bowling alley, an indoor pool, a racquetball court, and a tennis court. —Carmela Ciuraru

 

MANHATTAN

CRYSTAL PALACE

Can the venerable luxury goods company Baccarat, which is celebrating its 250th anniversary next year, shatter the glass ceiling of the competitive midtown real estate world? Given the considerable buzz about its new hotel and condo project, chances look good. (The company seems to be on a roll, with a new Madison Avenue flagship store, designed by Rafael de Cárdenas, opening in early June.)

Buyers might want to ante up now for an apartment in the 50-story Baccarat Hotel & Residences, still under construction at Fifth Avenue and 53rd Street, right across from the Museum of Modern Art. Available units range from a $3.35 million one-bedroom to the 7,481-square-foot, five-bedroom, $60 million penthouse. Sales of the ultra-luxe apartments began in mid-March and have been brisk so far.

Designed by the famed architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, with interiors by Tony Ingrao, the building is expected to bring some much-needed dazzle to residential midtown living. A large Baccarat chandelier is a signature feature in the foyer of every apartment, which will also include custom bronze-work, wide-plank white oak flooring, state-of-the-art technology, marble bathrooms, and floor-to-ceiling windows. Starwood Capital CEO Barry Sternlicht, whose company acquired Baccarat Crystal in 2005, has said that his aim for the building is to marry “Louis XV with the modern era”—fittingly enough, as the luxury glassworks was founded during Louis XV’s reign.

The tower’s hotel rooms will make up the lower floors, while the 61 apartments will occupy floors 18 and above. Residents will have full access to the hotel’s amenities, including room service, a spa, a 65-foot swimming pool, and a 24-hour concierge. For those with less expansive wallets, rates for the 115 sumptuous hotel rooms are expected to hover around $800 a night. —C. C.

 

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