Stars carve out their piece of the New York pie
Gotham real estate has seen entertainment bizzers come and go over the years. But recently, the activity — mostly an influx — seems to be on the rise.Funnyman Billy Connolly dropped $3.8 million for a Fifth Avenue loft in the Flatiron District. Also on Fifth Avenue are Noah Baumbach and Jennifer Jason Leigh, who bought out their neighbors at 43 Fifth Ave. for $1.2 million in order to expand their apartment. CAA agent Bryan Lourd is also expanding his Gotham digs and bought his neighbor’s one-bedroom apartment on West 12th Street (he originally bought in 2001). Madonna is eyeing a $35 million manse on East 62nd Street. She’s also looking at a Lower East Side building to start a Kabbalah center. Martin Scorsese recently sold his four-story 1899 Upper East Side townhouse, his home of 20 years, for $6.7 million. Lindsay Lohan is shilling for glossy Gotham condos the Atelier on West 42nd Street. She doesn’t own one (yet, according to reports), but is staying in one, so the developers can create buzz. And reports that Jennifer Aniston has been looking at Gotham properties have been bubbling to the surface in recent months, linked to the Los Angeles-based thesp doing a possible stretch on Broadway. “Everyone who is powerful and famous wants a piece of the Apple,” says Denise LeFrak, co-author of “High Rise Low Down: Who’s Who and What’s What in New York’s Most Coveted Apartment Houses.” “Everything happens here. People are just attracted to this place.” LeFrak points to trendy new condo apartments downtown and upper West Side classics like the Dakota or the Beresford as popular among the Hollywood transfers. There are plenty of other options, of course. For those looking for a bit of music history for their millions, the legendary Hit Factory sound studio in Hell’s Kitchen has been turned into condos selling as high as $4.5 million. So now you can actually live in the same building where John Lennon, Sting, the Rolling Stones, U2, Paul Simon and Paul McCartney all cut tracks. And with Gotham real estate being a contact sport, there are constant turf wars and ‘hood fights. Donald Trump tends to draw fire for either blocking views or building yet another showy ode-to-self. Over in Brooklyn — where recent transplants include Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams, Peter Sarsgaard and Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Lilli Taylor — residents are now up in arms over a proposed development to build Nets stadium and a surrounding development in Prospect Heights. The group, Develop, Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, includes Ledger and Williams, longtime residents Steve Buscemi and Rosie Perez. In a recent press release, Williams took developer Bruce Ratner to task: “To my mind Ratner’s plan does not respect what is unique, inherent and crucial to Brooklyn’s landscape and history,” she stated, accusing the “Atlantic Yards” proposal as “completely out of character with the existing scale.” Williams goes on to say that she moved to the neighborhood for light, space and air. In Brooklyn? “Actors,” Ratner must have mumbled to himself.