The Real Deal New York

One-time Soho home of Fugees bandmember sells in all-cash deal

Prakazrel Samuel Michel lived in the unit in 2009

March 20, 2012 01:00PM
By Katherine Clarke

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From left: rapper Prakazrel Samuel Michel (also known as Pras), Vaclav Dejcmar, filmmaker and major shareholder in brokerage firm RSJ and 88 Prince Street (credit: PropertyShark)

A Soho apartment that was once occupied by Grammy Award-winning Haitian-American rapper Prakazrel Samuel Michel, better known as Pras from the Fugees trio, has sold to a Czech documentary filmmaker and finance mogul in an all-cash deal for $3.5 million, according to NestSeekers agent Sam DeFranceschi, who represented the buyer and seller in the direct deal. The listing, at the corner of Mercer Street, was asking $3.85 million.

The seller was Bone Levine Architects, a firm specializing in the restoration of historic facades, which has an office in the building.

The full-floor classic pre-war loft space at the Little Singer Building at 88 Prince Street, which has a rental tenant in place at $15,500 a month, almost had a more high-profile buyer. It was shown to Grammy-nominated composer and solo trumpeter Chris Botti, who is still in the market for a New York City home, according to DeFranceschi. Singing and dancing sensation Usher also looked around the 3,000-square-foot, four-bedroom unit last July.

Usher “was a really nice guy,” DeFranceschi said. “He was very pleasant. His entourage was a little terse with me but they were just being protective.”

It was unclear why Usher hadn’t made a move on the apartment, DeFranceschi added. Pras rented the unit for six to eight months in 2009.

Before finding success with DeFranceschi and NestSeekers agent Ryan Serhant, the apartment had previously been listed with several other firms, including Sotheby’s International Realty and the Corcoran Group.

One factor that may have impeded a quick sale, DeFranceschi said, was that previous brokers had improperly listed the unit on the Manhattan MLS with the incorrect cross streets. “This is the hottest corner in all of Manhattan,” he said, so it was important to make that clear on the listing system.

Once the current tenant moves out July 31, buyer Vaclav Dejcmar will live there, DeFranceschi said. Dejcmar is one of the major shareholders in the brokerage firm RSJ.com, which ranks among the largest players on world financial markets.

“He does travel a lot, but New York City was becoming so frequent he decided to just buy a home and spend much more time here,” DeFranceschi said.

Dejcmar said: “As a lover of contemporary art and architecture, I’ve always been a huge fan of loft living. I’ve even built a few open-space apartments in Europe but the most authentic experience you can get are still those old, cast-iron factories in Soho where it all began back in the 1950s. The beautiful Little Singer Building, realized by a savvy architect Joseph Levine, was done with an astonishing sense for every detail and represents a wonderful example of understated luxury.”

Bone Levine Architects was not immediately available for comment.

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