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 ├╝ber-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