With fugitive’s homes hitting the market, P. Diddy to get new neighbors at Park Imperial

New York /
Oct.October 05, 2010 03:00 PM

Paul McCartney ex Heather Mills’ home and long-disputed pad of Bruce Farkas, heir to the Alexander’s department store chain

From left: a rental unit at the Park Imperial at 230 West 56th Street, Bruce Farkas’ pad at River House at 435 East 52nd Street and Heather Mills’ 173 Perry Street apartment

P. Diddy may soon have some new — and very well-heeled — neighbors.

A slew of high-floor apartments are available at the Park Imperial, the posh Midtown condominium where residents include P. Diddy, Deepak Chopra, James Bond star Daniel Craig and other celebrities.

In part, that’s because several high-floor properties belonging to white-collar fugitive Jacob “Kobi” Alexander are now up for grabs.

Alexander is an ex-technology executive facing federal fraud charges who made the FBI’s Most Wanted List after fleeing in 2006 to Namibia, where he has lived ever since. (And reportedly living large: in 2008, Alexander reportedly flew in 200 guests from New York and Israel for his son’s four-day bar mitzvah.)

His furnished, full-floor penthouse at the Park Imperial is available for rent for an eye-popping $120,000 per month. That makes it one of the most expensive rental listings on the market, behind the iconic Cole Porter apartment at the Waldorf Towers, which is available for $140,000 per month.

Alexander bought the 64th-floor unit at the Park Imperial — located at 230 West 56th Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue — in 2001 for $8.56 million, city documents show.

He also purchased two additional apartments on the 65th floor of the building in 2003 for $3.23 million and $2.88 million, according to public records. Those two homes are now being offered to buyers as a potential combination for $15 million. The brokers for both the rental and sales listings are Prudential Douglas Elliman’s Harry DiOrio and Jacqueline Lyoussi.

Alexander is the former CEO of Comverse Technology. In 2006, he was charged with multiple counts of fraud and related offenses stemming from irregularities in trading of Comverse stock, and if convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison.

230 West 56th Street

But Alexander, an Israeli citizen, fled to Namibia, a nation which has no extradition treaty with the United States. He was arrested in 2006 after a two-month manhunt and released on bail, and has since battled extradition to the United States in the courts. In late 2009, Alexander — who now lives with his family on a golf course in Windhoek, Namibia — agreed to pay around $60 million to Comverse shareholders in a settlement.

His 64th floor New York City apartment, which was reportedly last rented for about $100,000 per month in 2009, has six bedrooms and comprises around 8,000 feet, according to the listing. It has panoramic views and over 120 feet of north-facing floor-to-ceiling windows.

The price is negotiable, said DiOrio, who added that for a full-floor pad in the building, “it’s appropriately priced.”

The two 65th floor apartments also have an expanse of north-facing floor-to-ceiling windows, he said. DiOrio declined to comment about Alexander.

Another choice apartment currently available for rent in the building is a three-bedroom, four-and-a-half bathroom unit belonging to Alfred Liggins III, the owner of radio broadcasting company Radio One. The 3,000-square-foot apartment, also fully furnished, is asking $35,000 per month.

Liggins bought the unit preconstruction and added his own personal touches, turning the third bedroom into a media room and adding recessed lighting with mood setting switches, said listing broker Mary Grassl of William B. May.

“He’s got every bell and whistle,” Grassl said.

Until now, Liggins has split his time between New York City and Washington, DC, the radio executive told The Real Deal by phone, but he decided to Rent The Place because he’s now spending more time in DC.

“I think I’ve got one of the best views in all of New York City,” Liggins said, who added that he loves to sit in the media room and read while looking out at Central Park. “You can see every corner of the park.”

As for the building itself, “the service is phenomenal,” he said. “It’s like living in a hotel.”


A 14-room River House duplex at the center of a long and notorious dispute between Bruce Farkas, heir to the Alexander’s department store chain, and ex-wife Arlene Farkas is back on the market with a price increase and new brokers.

Sotheby’s International Realty’s Nikki Field and Patricia Wheatley now have the listing for the five-bedroom, five-and-a-half bathroom home, which is located at Art Deco co-op River House at 435 East 52nd Street.

The apartment, which overlooks the East River, hit the market yesterday with an $11 million price tag. That’s up from the $10.5 million price tag with its previous broker, Warburg Realty’s Richard Steinberg, who took it off the market in September.

In the mid-1990s, Bruce Farkas made headlines when Arlene charged in court papers that he was a bigamist who was simultaneously married to her and to his onetime Alexander’s secretary, Dolores D’Oca. The double life was reportedly uncovered when he sent children from both marriages to the same private school.

After their divorce, Bruce and Arlene spent years in court battling over the River House apartment, and it has been on and off the market for years. (His marriage to D’Oca was voided by a judge in 1992.)

Field said the building’s rules prohibit her from talking to the press about River House or the listing, but when asked about the price increase, she said: “The price increase is due to the recent sales surge in the high-end sector and the renewed interest and demand for select cooperatives in particular.”


Last week, Curbed reported that Paul McCartney’s ex-wife Heather Mills put her home at Richard Meier-designed 173 Perry Street on the market for $5.3 million. Listing broker Toni Haber of Prudential Douglas Elliman wouldn’t discuss Mills, but gave The Real Deal a few more details about the home, located between West and Washington streets.

“It’s a beautiful apartment, totally mint-condition,” Haber said. Because the apartment is on the ninth floor, “you don’t see the West Side Highway,” she said. Instead, floor-to-ceiling windows look out onto the Hudson River.

“It almost feels like you’re on a boat,” Haber said, adding that the Statue of Liberty is visible from the unit.

The apartment also had its interior designed by Meier himself — one of only three he did in the building, Haber said.

Have a tip? E-mail Candace Taylor at [email protected]


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