Marcus Samuelsson pays $3M for Harlem townhouse

Celebrity chef and wife buy townhouse that once belonged to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

From left: Marcus Samuelsson, Maya Haile and images of the townhouse interior
From left: Marcus Samuelsson, Maya Haile and images of the townhouse interior

UPDATED, 11:15 a.m., Feb. 9: Chef Marcus Samuelsson and his model wife, Maya Haile, have purchased a townhouse at 30 West 120th Street in Central Harlem for almost $2.9 million, according to public records filed today with the city.

Samuelsson, born in Ethiopia and raised in Sweden by adoptive parents, is the owner of Red Rooster, the comfort food restaurant that has become something of a symbol of a Harlem neighborhood resurgence. Samuelsson is also the author of “Yes, Chef: A Memoir,” which was released in 2012.

Kim McKeller at Halstead Property had the listing for the 4,668-square-foot home. The sellers on the deed are listed as Roger and Sally Nelson. The Nelsons purchased the home from retired basketball pro Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 2011 for $2.5 million, according to previous reports. McKeller also brokered the 2011 deal and represented both the buyers and the sellers in this most recent deal, she told The Real Deal.

Abdul-Jabbar did a two-year renovation of the property using a blend of the classic and modern, McKeller said.

“When you walk into that house, it’s elegant,” she said. “It’s stately,” mentioning the home’s mahogany bookshelves, tile work in the bathrooms and the townhouse’s front door, which came from France.

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“I think it’s really perfect he bought Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s house,” McKeller said of Samuelsson. “The house has so much pedigree now.”

McKeller also mentions period highlights in the listing — the home’s crown molding and hardwood floors are examples, she said. PropertyShark shows the home was built in 1909.

The home hit the market in October 2012 for the exact price at which it sold, shows. The sale entered contract on Nov. 9 and transferred on Jan. 22, according to the deed. McKeller said the home was subject to a bidding war, adding that she received multiple offers — even a full-price offer the day that Hurricane Sandy made landfall.

The home comes with five bedrooms, four bathrooms, four functional fireplaces and two powder rooms. Special features include a multi-level sound system, a Zen-inspired south-facing garden and views of Mount Morris Park.

A messages to Samuelsson’s press agent was not immediately returned. A home number listed for the Nelsons appeared to be out of service.