Georgica developer buys $2.5M Grand Madison condo

October 14, 2010 06:53PM

Developer Rob Kaliner and the Grand Madison

Developer Rob Kaliner, whose Ascend Group is behind new condominiums like the Georgica on the Upper East Side and the controversial A Building in the East Village, upgraded his own New York City digs with the purchase of a $2.48 million unit late last month at the Grand Madison, according to city records published today.

The century-old, red-brick building at 225 Fifth Avenue, located in the Madison Square North Historic District, served as showroom space for gift wholesalers for many years before Elad Properties bought it in 2004 and converted it to pricey condos. Chelsea Clinton’s new husband Marc Mezvinsky bought a corner unit there for $4 million in February 2008, and Derek Jeter opened a gym on the ground floor later that year.

Kaliner’s new two-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bathroom spread, which faces south, has views of Madison Square Park from every room. The previous owner, Carmel Ryan, of Ireland, had purchased it from the sponsor at the height of the market, intending to use it as an investment, said listing broker Cornelia Dobrovolsky, of the Corcoran Group.

Ryan paid $2.485 million for the apartment in May 2007, and wasted little time before her first attempt at a flip. According to Streeteasy.com, the apartment was re-listed that summer for $3.45 million, but Dobrovolsky said Ryan decided to rent it out when it failed to command as much she’d hoped right away. “We actually got a much higher offer, originally, than [Kaliner’s],” Dobrovolsky said.

Then, the market crashed.

Ryan, who declined to comment through her attorney, wound up relisting the unit for $2.85 million in February, and any remaining hopes of turning a profit were dashed when Kaliner’s agent, Erica Miller of Cantor Pecorella, sold the two-bedroom apartment directly below it for $2.45 million in June. Miller confirmed the sale but declined to comment further.

Kaliner, who declined to comment, too, signed a contract in July. He also owns a condo at the Shaya Boymelgreen-developed River Lofts building in Tribeca, which he purchased for $1.58 million in 2005.

“People are selling [in the Grand Madison] for around close to what they paid for,” Dobrovolsky said. “Unfortunately the values after the crash haven’t really gone up that much.”