In the dog days of summer, most New York City real estate moguls leave the city’s blistering heat behind. Many head for the East End of Long Island. Developer Billy Macklowe, for example, has a home in Sagaponack, top broker Mary Ann Tighe owns in Southampton and developer Joseph Moinian is known for throwing elaborate parties at his nine-bedroom waterfront compound on Dune Road in Quogue.
Others choose more exotic locations; Elizabeth Stribling heads to the French Riviera every summer.
This month, The Real Deal took a peek inside the vacation homes of well-known New York real estate personalities to see how they decompress when they’re away from the city.
founder, Stribling & Associates
Paris and Opio, France
Elizabeth Stribling is a self-described Francophile, and when it comes to vacation homes, she’s put her money where her mouth is. Stribling owns not one, but two, homes in France, she told The Real Deal. Aside from a triplex maisonette on the Île de la Cité in Paris, one of two remaining natural islands in the Seine, she owns a four-bedroom home in Opio, a small village on the French Riviera.
Stribling bought the Opio home — which overlooks the bay of La Napoule and has a pool — in 1987, paying just $375,000 for the property. The home, she said, is now worth “a few million dollars.”
“I have been going to this area since 1974,” she said, describing how she used to take cooking classes at the nearby home of French cookbook author Simone Beck, who cowrote “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” with Julia Child. Stribling’s daughter, Elizabeth Ann Kivlan, was christened in a local village church in the hamlet of Plascassier.
The house also has an herb garden and olive trees on the property, which come in handy when Stribling — who has “a passion” for cooking — throws dinner parties.
When Kivlan was growing up, the family used to spend six weeks of the summer in Opio as well as winter vacations. Now, Stribling said she tries to spend at least a couple of weeks there in the summer.
And it’s not just Stribling who enjoys Opio: Every year, she invites her company’s management team there for a few days for annual reviews. The tradition halted for two years after the financial crisis hit in 2008, but has since recommenced.
president & CEO, Prudential Douglas Elliman
When Dottie Herman purchased her Hamptons home in 1992, the country was in the midst of a recession. “No one was going anywhere near real estate,” she said. “I didn’t tell anyone I was buying it. People would have thought I was crazy.”
But Herman, a Long Island native who had visited the Hamptons with friends since childhood, had her heart set on a home there. After a year of house-hunting, she purchased a five-bedroom spec house half a mile from Southampton Village and a short bike ride from the ocean.
She fell in love with it immediately, she said. “I just walked into it and knew it was my own.”
Herman declined to reveal how much she paid, but did say she didn’t initially commit to buying it since it was out of her price range. Still, she kept the property in mind, succumbing to its charms months later.
“I can’t explain it,” she said. “It was just beautiful.”
Herman’s instincts were dead-on. While the property was considered pricey at the time, it has appreciated substantially since then.
“I took a leap,” she recalled. “I always believed in the Hamptons.”
The house is adorned with Herman’s collection of small china shoes. She even commissioned a local artist to paint portraits of shoes, which hang on the walls.
She said she spends at least two weeks at the property every summer, as well as occasional weekends.
While staying at the house, Herman said she loves to bike to the beach with a cup of fresh-brewed coffee. She also mixes business with pleasure, thanks to the eight offices her firm now operates in the Hamptons. And she doesn’t mind running into business associates on the beach. “People are in a different mode when they’re there,” she said.
CEO, Related Companies
Palm Beach, Florida
When Related’s Stephen Ross needs a break from Manhattan, he retreats to his oceanfront mansion in Palm Beach, Fla. The landmarked 1937 property, dubbed “The Reef,” was designed by famed architect Maurice Fatio. The spread, located at 702 North County Road, totals 11,000 square feet.
Ross, who is also co-owner of the Miami Dolphins, declined to comment on the house. But according to news reports, he acquired the property in an off-market deal in 2007, buying it from New York media magnate Stuart Subotnick for $31.86 million. The house is a few blocks from the Palm Beach Country Club.
In January, Ross and his wife, Kara, hosted a $2,500-per-plate campaign fund-raiser for presidential candidate Mitt Romney at the home.
president, Citi Habitats
It’s fitting that Gary Malin, president of the city’s largest rental brokerage, doesn’t own a home in his favored summer location: Ogunquit, Me. Instead, the Malin family rents a three-story home by the water, paying approximately $3,500 per week, Malin told The Real Deal.
The 1,800-square-foot house has a master suite that spans the entire third floor. Malin, who spends a week in Maine with his family every August, rented the house for the first time last year, and will stay there again this year. Some years, though, the family stays in a resort called Anchorage by the Sea.
The family’s association with Ogunquit — a beach town in York County famed for its wooden seafood shacks and picturesque harbor — dates back to Malin’s childhood. A Long Island native, Malin vacationed in Maine as a kid, and is keen to keep the custom alive. His kids — 12-year-old Zoe and 10-year-old Zachary — have no complaints.
“It’s tradition,” Malin said. “Of all the places I’ve taken them, if you asked my kids where they want to go, they’ll still say Maine.”
Ogunquit, which is around 90 minutes from Boston, offers a variety of activities. Gary’s wife, Rachel, and Zoe often go antiquing, he said, while he and Zachary play sports.
The family also goes boating in the harbor and takes walks on the Marginal Way, one of New England’s only paved, public shoreline footpaths.
Malin may not rent forever, though: The company head said he would consider purchasing a property in the town once his kids get a little older.
“I could easily see my kids getting jobs there and spending the whole summer when they’re older,” he said.
president, Hirschfeld Properties
East Hampton and Sun Valley, Idaho
Developer Elie Hirschfeld made headlines last year when Bill and Hillary Clinton rented his East Hampton home at 211 Lily Pond Lane for a week.
Hirschfeld declined to comment on how much the Clintons paid, but said that during their stay, the former president reorganized the library by subject matter.
Hirschfeld, whose Manhattan projects include the Grand Sutton co-op and the Crowne Plaza hotel, actually purchased the historic shingled property in 1996. He then embarked on a major interior renovation, putting in new wiring and plumbing, but working to maintain the home’s “original beach-cottage feel and historic context,” he said.
The 12,000-square-foot, eight-bedroom home sits on 1.2 acres of land, with a pool and beach access. The home is currently on the market for $19.95 million with Sotheby’s International Realty agents Bettie Wysor and Ed Petrie.
Meanwhile, Hirschfeld’s five-bedroom house in the ski-resort town of Sun Valley, Idaho, has also housed celebrities, including Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. This year, for the fourth year in a row, AOL CEO and chairman Tim Armstrong rented the house for the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference.
founder & president, Wharton Properties
Deal, New Jersey
In January, New York City retail investor Jeff Sutton paid $22.6 million for a landmarked home in the New Jersey seaside resort of Deal, according to news reports.
This is the second home in Deal for Sutton, a member of the town’s well-established Syrian Jewish community. Sutton, head of the commercial real estate firm Wharton Properties, declined to comment on the purchase.
Sutton’s new 12,000-square-foot house reportedly has seven bedrooms on 5.3 acres, including 350 feet of private beach space. The home had been listed for sale for $35 million with Bruce Germinsky of New Jersey–based BG Realty Services. Sutton’s broker was Steven Scheer of G & G Realtors.
CEO, Red Apple Group
John Catsimatidis, owner of the Gristedes grocery store chain, bought a 5,000-square-foot East Quogue estate at 93 Dune Road in 2006. He reportedly paid $7 million for the house, which sits on 2.5 acres.
Catsimatidis did not respond to a request for comment on the home. But he told the New York Observer at the time that “my wife talked me into it. We looked at it Labor Day weekend and we both liked it. My wife said, ‘You’re not getting any younger. When are you going to pull the trigger?’ … I said, ‘You’re right — I’m not getting any younger.’ ”
Ultimately, it was the ocean views that made up his mind.
“When you look at the view, it makes you glad you’re alive,” Catsimatidis told the Observer.
Catsimatidis is said to have embarked on a massive renovation of the home, expanding it to 9,500 square feet.