The A-Listers’ ground game

A look at the real estate maneuvers of the rich and famous

Dec.December 01, 2016 01:00 PM
190 Riverside Drive

190 Riverside Drive

Amy Schumer shells out

Everyone can agree that comedy darling Amy Schumer’s had a rapid rise to prominence, but who knew she’d made this much bank?

The “Trainwreck” star completely skipped several rungs on the home-ownership ladder and went from zero to $12 million with the purchase of an Upper West Side penthouse apartment this fall, The Real Deal exclusively reported last month.

Her new digs — a 4,500-square-foot, five-bedroom duplex perched atop a turn-of-the-century building at 190 Riverside Drive — features coffered glass ceilings, a wall of windows, a wraparound terrace and a separate bedroom wing.

The place is a massive step up from Schumer’s former home, an ultramodest one-bedroom condo on West 80th Street, which is on the market asking just $2 million.

Before deciding on the property, Schumer and her beau, 29-year-old Chicago furniture designer Ben Hanisch, also scoped out a nine-bedroom townhouse at 352 Riverside Drive that had eight fireplaces. It was built in 1900 and originally owned by Adolphe Openhym, a wealthy silk merchant. The two were determined to stay on the Upper West Side, which has been Schumer’s ’hood since she was a struggling young comedian.

Schumer’s ability to fund the $12 million asking price is somewhat surprising, since her net worth was pegged at just $1 million as of early 2015. No mortgage has been recorded on the property so far.

biggest-recorded-celeb-buys-nyc-chartHedge fund titan takes a hit

So much for playing the market. Some of Wall Street’s household names are feeling the pinch as the luxury market takes a tumble.

Among the finance alpha dogs who’ve had to lower the prices of their homes over the last 60 days is billionaire investor Steven Cohen, who lowered the price of his One Beacon Court penthouse to $67.5 million, down from the original $98 million when he listed it back in 2014.

Cohen has reportedly been furious about his inability to sell the home and has blamed the brokers. He’s swapped out agents multiple times already. It’s currently listed by Richard Steinberg of Douglas Elliman, who’s also repped the likes of Roman Abramovich. Cohen is said to be considering a return to the hedge fund industry. He was barred from investing for others after his hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors pleaded guilty to insider trading. The ban expires in 2018.

Cohen’s home is not the only one undergoing huge markdowns. The iconic penthouse at the Pierre Hotel, owned by the estate of Martin Zweig, a financial expert and stock market crash predictor who died in 2013, is now asking just $57 million, down from its original $125 million price tag. And an apartment at 834 Fifth Avenue formerly owned by John Gutfreund, the late “King of Wall Street,” has had its price slashed by a whopping $24 million, bringing it to $96 million. The duplex is located on the seventh and eighth floors.

“They couldn’t sell it for $100 million, so that’s coming down,” Elizabeth Stribling said of the 834 Fifth apartment. “The people who are willing to spend $90 million want to live on the 90th floor. Height is sexy.”

Nathan Lane

Nathan Lane

Tales from NYC’s real estate crypt…

New York theater icon Nathan Lane seems to be having a ball treading the boards on Broadway in “The Front Page,” a play about tabloid newspaper reporters. But Lane is just as much fun off the stage, according to the Corcoran Group’s Sharon Baum, one of the grande dames of Upper East Side real estate and a celebrity broker. “I worked with Nathan Lane years ago,” she recalled. “He was so much fun to work with. He was hysterical.”

One story in particular stood out.

“We were looking at this apartment on the West Side, and the broker didn’t know who he was,” she recounted. “She was showing him a closet and said, ‘I don’t know if you’re that interested in closets.’”

To which the funnyman replied: “Well, I used to be a lot more interested in them than I am now.” (cue rimshot.)

Lane ended up buying something directly and didn’t need a broker, but he sent Baum a  handwritten letter thanking her for her time, she said.

As for her more current clients, who’ve reportedly included Jennifer Lawrence and Taylor Swift, Baum said it’s getting harder and harder to protect their anonymity.

“I had one two weeks ago from Hollywood and I had to sign all kinds of paperwork. I was like, ‘Really? It’s going to get out anyway.’ It doesn’t matter if you put it under Kermit the Frog, LLC, it’ll still come out,” she said.

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