Irish real estate mogul Derek Quinlan has had a rough time selling his many homes in recent years, but he’s hoping for better luck in the rental market.
After all, it has treated him kindly in the past.
In 2006, he rented out his 25-foot-wide townhouse at 20 East 64th Street for $90,000 per month. Now, after several years on the sales market, the house is available for rent again, according to listing broker Francis O’Shea of Leslie J. Garfield & Co.
“Right now, [the owners] feel it might be in their best interest to rent the space until the market improves,” O’Shea said.
This time, however, the asking rent is available “upon request,” O’Shea said.
The house, located between Madison and Fifth avenues, is listed for sale at $29.5 million. Quinlan first put it on the sales market in April 2009 for $37 million. He bought it in 2005 for $26.25 million from investment banker Roberto de Guardiola and his socialite wife, Joanne, in the second-most expensive townhouse deal in New York that year.
One of the most prominent figures of the Irish property boom, Quinlan’s world-wide portfolio of hotels and other real estate has plummeted in value amid the global financial crisis. In 2009, the tax inspector-turned-entrepreneur moved to Switzerland from Ireland, reportedly owing his creditors some 600 million Euros, and began putting his personal assets on the market. That includes his company’s former New York headquarters at 54 East 64th, purchased in 2005 by Quinlan Private, a fund run by the Irish mogul, for $18.74 million. Quinlan put it on the market in 2009 with Fred Williams of Sotheby’s International Realty for $27 million. Last month, the price was chopped to $25 million.
Quinlan’s change of heart regarding 20 East 64th Street was perhaps prompted by the fact that David and Frederick Barclay, the brothers who own the Telegraph Media Group, have reportedly agreed to buy his 35 percent share of Maybourne Hotels.
The five-story, 12,500-square-foot house has six bedrooms and seven bathrooms, plus another half bathroom.
“It’s in really good shape and the spaces are gorgeous,” O’Shea said.
Much of that is due to Joanne de Guardiola, an interior designer. She and her husband bought the house in 1997 (It’s not clear from property records how much they paid.) The couple then embarked on an 18-month-long renovation of the 1850s house, chronicled in a 2000 spread in Architectural Digest.
De Guardiola, founder of Joanne de Guardiola Design, told the magazine then that she expected to find limestone beneath the grime covering the front of the house. Instead, she discovered a marble façade with reliefs of sea urchins and flowers.
The living room came with hand-painted bas-relief ceiling panels and an eight-foot-high Renaissance-style stone fireplace. Instead of ripping them out, de Guardiola decided to use eclectic furniture and art to complement them, the magazine said. In a particularly striking statement, she hung abstract expressionist Robert Motherwell’s bold black-and-white Elegy to the Spanish Republic on the living room wall and bookended it with Chinese screens. The couple also decorated the room with works by Jackson Pollack and Picasso.
De Guardiola also reduced the size of the dining room to make way for a pantry. “I’m possibly the only New Yorker who said a dining room was too big,” she told Architectural Digest. “It was a huge, square room and a waste of space.”
Except for a pair of oversized living room drapes, de Guardiola’s furnishings are now gone, O’Shea said, though the striking ceilings and fireplaces remain.
The property has a distinguished history, O’Shea said. Designed by architecture firm D. & J. Jardine, the house was previously owned by Roy Howard, onetime head of Scripps Howard Newspapers (now the E. W. Scripps Company, which operates the Scripps Howard News Service).
Carol Sandler, a makeup artist with clients like Duran Duran, Robbie Williams and the British singer Katie Melua, has put her duplex at 45 East 9th Street on the market for $3.495 million, or for rent for $15,000 per month.
Carol and her husband Leonard, who has lived in the prewar co-op for 18 years, are selling the three-bedroom pad because they purchased another unit in the building, a two-bedroom on the seventh and eighth floors. According to a deed filed with the city, they paid $1.85 million in August of 2010 for the new space.
Now that Leonard’s three children are grown up, the couple no longer needs as much space, Carol explained. Plus, the apartment isn’t their primary residence. Leonard is now retired after selling his intimate apparel manufacturing company, but Carol’s work often requires her to go to Europe, so they divide their time between London and New York.
Carol works mostly with British musicians. Currently, she is the exclusive makeup artist for Melua, one of Europe’s most popular young stars. In 2006, the singer-songwriter was the United Kingdom’s best-selling female artist and Europe’s highest-selling European female artist.
A distinctive feature of the Sandler’s apartment at 45 East 9th Street, located between Broadway and University Place, is a Juliet balcony that overlooks the double-height living room.
Carol recalled that the feature was added through fortuitous circumstances. She was in the middle of renovating the apartment when she stopped by another unit in the building and saw that the owners had removed a section of the wall covering their staircase, creating a balcony overlooking the living room.
“I thought that was really pretty, and I wondered if we could open ours up,” she remembered.
She rushed home, where the contractors were at work in her apartment. “I said, ‘quick, can we open this wall?’” she said.
They could. She and her husband used railings from an old house in the Notting Hill section of their native London to create the balcony. “It made it feel so much nicer,” she said. “As you go upstairs, you look down over the sitting room.”
The effect of the balcony is “very dramatic,” said listing broker Kimberly Robilotti of brokerage Janet Aimone Robilotti & Associates. “You could confess your love to somebody below.”
Carol said she’s a bit sad to leave the old place, but excited at the same time. “It was nice to have a change,” she said.
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