The Real Deal New York

Marc Jacobs co-founder pays $5.2 million for skinny Village townhouse

November 03, 2011 05:32PM
By Leigh Kamping-Carder

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Clockwise from top left: 35 West 12th Street, Robert Duffy, Paul Kolbusz, Sara Gelbard and Frank Arends
Robert Duffy, one of the founders of the Marc Jacobs International
fashion brand, has closed on the $5.2 million purchase of a townhouse at 35 West 12th
Street, one of the skinniest homes in the city, records show.

The four-story townhouse between Fifth and Sixth avenues is a mere 13.5 feet wide,
sandwiched between two much taller buildings. New York’s skinniest townhouse is
the 9.5-foot-wide 72 1/2 Bedford St. in the West Village, the
onetime home of poet Edna St. Vincent Millay and the actors Cary Grant and John
Barrymore.

However, sources said the 2,700-square-foot home feels much more spacious inside, and
Duffy’s agent, Frank Arends, a senior vice president at Prudential Douglas Elliman, said
the fashion executive preferred the coziness of the West 12th Street home to “majestic”
townhouses.

“The grandeur of those townhouses, he’s not really fond of,” Arends said. “He likes it
intimate.”

Duffy recently sold a larger townhouse — the 22-foot wide, 2,700-square-foot home at 62 Bank Street — for $7.05 million.

He paid $1,926 per square foot for the West 12th Street residence, which Arends said will not be his primary residence. The property was listed at $5.4 million by Sara Gelbard and Paul
Kolbusz, both senior vice presidents at the Corcoran Group, who both declined to
comment on the transaction.

The sellers were David and Valerie Hyde, an elderly couple who bought the property in
1974 for $120,000, according to property records. The Hydes are now in their 80s and
found the townhouse, which the listing said still has its original mahogany staircase, too
difficult to live in, according to a source familiar with the deal.

“They were sad to leave, but they’re going to be much happier in Vermont,” where they
also have a home, the source said.

Indeed, the sellers’ desire to extend their stay in the property was a sticking point in
contract negotiations, Arends said, since they were not just selling a house, but “selling a
life, basically.”

As soon as the deal closed, Duffy started renovations on the property, upgrading the
kitchen and “making things a little more ‘now,’” Arends said.

A spokesperson for Marc Jacobs International said Duffy was unavailable for comment
because he is recovering from hip surgery.

Duffy’s business partner, Marc Jacobs, also recently made a move, leaving the 2,062-square-foot penthouse he
rented at 252 Seventh Avenue in September.

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