The A-Listers’ ground game

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

Amal Clooney and George Clooney
Amal Clooney and George Clooney

Off the rack? For George and Amal, it’s big moves and bigger discounts

Did Aby Rosen give a couple of big name celebs a sweetheart deal at his struggling new development in a bid to spur sales?

Last month, the developer’s new project at 100 East 53rd Street, which has been plagued by rumors of slow sales, was suddenly in public focus thanks to a couple of big ticket celebrity deals. As reported in the New York Post, George Clooney and his fashionable barrister wife, Amal Clooney, reportedly nabbed a unit, as did their BFF couple friends, tequila mogul Rande Gerber and his supermodel wife, Cindy Crawford.

Suddenly, the PR team for the Norman Foster-designed building was blasting out a link to the Post story to every journalist who would listen. That’s unusual behavior for non-disclosure-sworn developer flacks, who normally guard the identities of celeb buyers with the same intensity they reserve for the name of their clients’ Botox doctors.

Indeed, rumors have been rife in broker circles that the Clooneys and Gerber and Crawford were offered substantial  incentives to allow their names to be publicized in relation to the building.

“No celebrity allows their name to be publicized unless there’s a lot of financial incentive,” said one top broker, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “They definitely got paid.”

Rosen’s people didn’t return a request for comment, and reps for the two couples could not be immediately reached for comment.

It wouldn’t be the first time a developer gave a celebrity buyer a sweet deal on an apartment to give the building a boost. Denzel Washington was even rumored to have been given a discount on an apartment at the superexclusive 15 Central Park West when the building first opened.

The fast and the furiously wealthy

443 Greenwich Street

443 Greenwich Street

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

World champion Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton had to sit out some races in Barcelona last month due to a sore foot. But he may have found the perfect space to put his feet up.

Our spies tell us that the British driver, perhaps best known in the U.S. for his on-off relationship with Pussycat Doll singer Nicole Scherzinger, is the buyer of a $54 million penthouse at 443 Greenwich Street in Tribeca. The 8,900-square-foot triplex comes with its own swimming pool. His people wouldn’t confirm the transaction, asking only that no “speculative” details be published for safety and security reasons. But Hamilton certainly has the dough to pull off the deal. His three-year contract with Mercedes is reportedly valued at $32 million a year, with bonuses pushing it north of $45 million.

Developer Nathan Berman of MetroLoft declined to comment on purchasers, but he added, “Suffice it to say, 90 percent of our buyers are household names.”

Other celeb names being thrown around in connection with the building include Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively, as well as Jennifer Lawrence, who was on the hunt for a Tribeca pad last year with the assistance of Corcoran Group broker Sharon Baum. The building, which dates from the 1880s and was redesigned by CetraRuddy, has a lush inner courtyard, an underground garage and on-premises security personnel for A-listers.

biggest-recorded-celeb-buysBig chop on the UES

That was quick!

An Upper East Side limestone townhouse formerly owned by Seagrams heir Matthew Bronfman is now $11 million cheaper than when its owner, hedge funder Charles Murphy, put it on the market earlier this year.  He’s now asking $38.8 million, down from $50 million in March.

Fittingly, Murphy seems to be a victim of Murphy’s Law when it comes to the house, at 7 East 67th Street.

He bought the property from Bronfman for the record price of $33 million in 2007, before discovering that the hedge fund he worked for at the time, Fairfield Greenwich Group, had invested more than $7 billion with Bernie Madoff.  Oops.

Corcoran broker Carrie Chiang has the listing.