‘Top Model’ finalist wins free 240 Central Park South rental

By Candace Taylor | December 03, 2009 04:22PM

Through Tyra Bank’s (left) ‘Top Model’ show, finalist Laura Sioux Kirkpatrick (middle) scored a free six-month lease at 240 Central Park South

New York City landlord James Korein has never seen the hit CW television show “America’s Next Top Model.”

So when he was asked to donate an apartment as a prize for one of the contestants, he had to ask his 20-something-year-old daughters what they thought of the idea.

The women were excited about the idea and advised him to do it, Korein told The Real Deal.

“People seem to be very tuned in to this show,” said Korein, whose family owns a number of properties in Manhattan. “We thought it sounded like an interesting promotional opportunity.”

Sure enough, ‘Top Model’ contestant Laura Sioux Kirkpatrick will be moving into a studio at Korein’s prewar building, 240 Central Park South, sometime in the next few months, and living there rent-free under a six-month lease.

The perky Kirkpatrick, raised on a farm in Kentucky, earned money castrating bulls before she was selected as a contestant on “Top Model.” She received the prize after being voted “Fan Favorite” on Nov. 18 by viewers of “The Tyra Show,” the talk show hosted by ‘Top Model’ host Tyra Banks. ‘Top Model’ is in talks with Kieran about filming her move into the building.

It’s become more and more common for New York City apartment buildings to host television shows as a way to generate publicity. While Bravo’s “Top Chef New York” hosted contestants at the new 20 Bayard condominium by McCarren Park in Williamsburg, BellTel Lofts in Downtown Brooklyn was selected to house the cast of “The Real World” before construction delays derailed the deal.

Korein said he views the show as a way to increase his building’s exposure with younger people. The rental building, which has a mix of one- and two-bedrooms and studios, has lost some of its younger tenants as the recession has hit New York.

“This last year has been hard on younger people,” he said. “We’ve had a bit of attrition due to the market.”

Dennis Hughes, a rental agent at the Corcoran Group who brokered the deal, suggested the idea to Korein after the “Tyra Show” approached Corcoran with the idea of donating an apartment.

Hughes said he immediately thought of 240 Central Park South, former home of Italian restaurant San Domenico, because the building has formerly housed other creative types, including Renee Zellweger and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the author of “The Little Prince.”

“The building has had its share of celebrities,” Hughes said. “Because of its location near the theater district, it seems to attract a lot people in related industries.”

Hughes, who has worked with clients like Woody Allen and Paula Zahn, said he also felt the building’s proximity to Central Park and the Time Warner Center make it “a vibrant, exciting location for a young lady coming to New York City.”

Rent for a studio apartment starts at $2,500 a month in the building, but Kieran asked that Kirkpatrick pay only for a security deposit, which Corcoran donated on her behalf.

Kirkpatrick, who grew up on a farm in Stanford, Ky., was a finalist on the show but ultimately came in second to winner, University of Colorado sophomore Nicole Fox.