YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Let’s begin our New York City floor plan porn tour with a 5-floor TriBeCa penthouse that has (once again) been hoisted on to the market with a sky-high asking price of $28,000,000. The 19-room and 4-terrace building topper is, according to property records and previous reports, owned by philanthropist, patron of the arts, and retired biznessman Edward Bazinet.
Mister Bazinet, according to information Your Mama dug up on the internets, is a native-Minnesotan who made his many millions in the mid-1990s when he sold his company Department 56 for a bank account bulging $270,000,000. According to the Funding Universe website, “The company [Department 56] is perhaps best known for its collection of ceramic and porcelain miniature villages. Also popular, however, are other holiday and home decorative accessories, which include a line of porcelain and pewter figurines known as Snowbabies.” Your Mama’s going to give the children a moment here to read that again and then another moment to ponder the notion that Mister Bazinet became filthy, stinking rich selling things like this and this and–heaven help us all that there is a market for these things–this.
Are you taking that moment?
Okay. Please take another moment to make sure all that really sinks in and sears a painful sore spot of decorative accessory horror into your memory.
Now then, before we go any further the children need to take note and heed that Your Mama’s decorating rule No. 71 states that no home of refined taste or style shall ever, under any circumstances, contain a collection large or small consisting of cutesy porcelain or pewter “figurines” that depict angels, animals, children, Santa Claus, Snowbabies–whatever they are–or any other person, place or thing that falls into a category of animal, vegetable or mineral. Is that clear? Okaaaay?
Moving on and getting back to the real estate, records and previous reports reveal that sixty-something year old Mister Bazinet purchased his penthouse in August of 2001 for $13,150,000. The children may find it interesting to note that Mister Bazinet bought the beastly aerie from interweb tycoon Fernando Espuelas who had only snatched up the colossal condo a year before for $6,100,000. Admittedly, Señor Espuelas made some renovations to the mansion-sized penthouse that justified an uptick in price but for all intents and purposes Señor Espuelas pocketed a good number of millions for little more than the trouble and bother for signing the damn deed. Those were some better real estate days my sweet celery sticks.
Subsequent to purchasing the penthouse in 2001, Mister Bazinet and his Belgian-born photographer man-friend spent millions and years on an ambitious Andrea Ballerini-designed renovation that included adding a fifth floor the to existing four floor penthouse. During the renovation–or maybe it was before or after the renovation we don’t know–Mister Bazinet sued the developers of the building for shoddy construction. One of those developers who was sued is none other than Sam Waksal, the founder of ImClone who is currently spending some time in a Michigan pokey on a securities fraud conviction. Mister Waksal is also the former and much older paramour of Martha Stewart’s sassy and spoiled daughter Alexis. It was Little Miss Alexis who introduced Mister Waksal to her mogul mommy Martha and it was that little bit of business about her dumping $228,000 worth of ImClone stock that got ol‘ Martha locked up for 5 months in a ladee pokey down in West Virginia. But we digress…
In April of 2006, right in the thick of the most recent real estate salad years, Mister Bazinet attempted to sell his newly renovated penthouse with a screaming asking price of $28,500,000. But alas, even then, during that scorching and fast moving market when you could sell a 300 square foot basement studio in Harlem for half a million dollars, the penthouse failed to find a buyer willing to go the distance. In October of 2007, according to a New York Sun article from January of 2008, Mister Bazinet de-listed his behemoth digs due to legitimate concerns regarding the construction of the swish Smyth Hotel being built next door. Unfortunately for Mister Bazinet, the now completed hotel towers over the penthouse and obliterates any view from the many windows on the north side of the penthouse. Before any of the children cry too many tears of real estate pain over the loss of Mister Bazinet’s northern view, remember that there remain three sides to this penthouse with glorious and open city views.
A quick study of the floor plan included with the listing reveals just 2 proper bedrooms and 4 full and 3 half poopers. Listing information indicates the penthouse measures an elephantine 10,991 square feet while the tax records show a significantly smaller but still massive 8,828 square feet.
The well conceived if grandiose and somewhat eccentric program divides the interior spaces into four distinct zones–work, public, semi-private and private–spread over the five floors. The lowest floor, which is the building’s sixth floor, comprises both the work and semi-private zones and a stand alone entrance vestibule allows the floor to function completely independently of the rest of the penthouse. On the north end, according to the floor plan, a suite of rooms designed for a dee–luxe home office makes up the work zone. The work zone includes a reception gallery complete with a built-in receptionist’s desk, a half-pooper, large private office, studio space, and a long row of closets in the studio that contain a stacked washer and dryer. In between the office and studio are a dark room, storage room, and a small study wrapped in built-in cabinetry. The south end of the penthouse’s lowest floor contains the semi-private zone, a generous guest suite that consists of a large living/bedroom, five-piece pooper with circular shower stall, and a separate kitchen and eating area. The guest quarters, as well as the entry vestibule on this floor, open to a wide south and west facing terrace. While the $28,000,000 asking price seems–and is–quite steep for a two bedroom residence, the work zone could quite simply and affordably be converted into an additional three bedrooms and three poopers or, better yet, two bedrooms, two and a half poopers plus a shared sitting room.
There is not, according to the floor plan, a private stair that connects the lowest floor to the remaining 4 floors of Mister Bazinet’s penthouse so moving between them requires a short ride in the private elevator that services all five floors. The public zone, which encompasses both the 7th and 8th floors, includes the main entrance vestibule with its swooping aluminum and glass staircase, a private and well situated guest pooper, a massive living room and dining room combination that opens to a long and wide west-facing terrace, and a sleek kitchen complex with a breakfast room and a greenhouse on the north end that Your Mama imagines now, with the hotel just arms distance away, feels like a damn fishbowl. Also compromised by the hotel is the melodrama of the double height dining room which features a built in cabinet that hides a wet bar and 24-foot high windows on the north wall that looks directly at the south side of the Smyth Hotel. We can only hope that the architects of the Smyth Hotel were considerate enough not to put windows on the south side of the facade because otherwise Mister Bazinet and his dinner guests will have a clear view di–rectly into the hotel suite of all the Fashion Freddys and hoity toity tourist who take up temporary residence at the Smyth.
The 8th floor is comprised of a media room, a L-shaped library lined with floor to ceiling bookshelves, a powder pooper and a very long room marked “reading room.” on the floor plan. We’re not sure why Mister Bazinet–or anyone else for that matter–would want or need such a large room to read in but perhaps he and his Belgian boypal enjoy having a dozen or so gals and pals over for an elegant evening of quiet reading in the “reading room” while Paul the Piano Man lightly tinkles the ivories on the grand piano downstairs and Lenny the House Boy serves lemon cooler cookies on a silver platter and mixes mint juleps at the penthouse’s second built in wet bar.
The entire fourth floor of Mister Bazinet’s penthouse–the ninth floor of the building–is given over to the master suite. A large bedroom chamber has a fireplace and windows that open to a another wide, west facing terrace. In addition to the sky lit dressing room that separates the bedroom area from the dual poopers, the children will take note of the dee–voon and well conceived “luggage” storage room. We should all be so lucky to have a separate closet to store our luggage. The identically sized and fitted his and his poopers share a party sized shower.
Just off the hallway that connects the bedroom with one of the poopers is a multi-purpose room with a morning kitchenette, a dumbwaiter station, a stacked washer and dryer and a gigantic, stainless steel jacuzzi tub that looks like a water bowl for a giant damn dog. The jacuzzi tub is surrounded by a curving wall covered in a giant mosaic tile mural of Napoleon’s face. Behind the tub sit two aggressively phallic marble (or maybe onyx) obelisks and hanging on the wall above a side table laden with glass containers full of Q-tips and cotton balls is a large painting or photograph of a young, nubile and bare-chested porn stud with unnaturally defined abs and a come hither look in his eye. Oh hunnies, pleeze! Is that just about the gayest damn thing you have ever laid your eyeballs on? Listen puppies, as far as we’re concerned there’s just nothing right about the “day-core” of this room. We can’t think of what scenario would be more psychologically unnerving, a couple senior gentleman sitting in that tub on a Wednesday evening sipping Proseco or two almost elderly men in there on a Friday night with a couple of spring chickens in bathing suits that leave nothing to the imagination.
Oh lo-ward have mercy children, we’re gonna take us a nerve pill and try to move on past that dog bowl spa tub thing-a-ma-bobber if we can. Fortunately there is only the fifth and final floor of Mister Bazinet’s penthouse, accessible only by the private elevator, contains a glass wrapped home fitness room, a petite pooper, and a wrap around roof terrace.
Given that the real estate markets–even the upper end New York City real estate market–are currently on life support and Mister Bazinet has priced his posh penthouse pad only about 2% less than it was priced at the tippy-top of the market in 2006 and 2007 when there were people actually paying twenty million buck or more for 2 bedroom apartments it seems a bit of along shot that he will get his price. But then again, Wall Street bonuses were big big big this year and there just might be a bachelor trader out there who’s willing to pay almost any price to have a stainless steel hot tub in his bathroom.
source: Sotheby’s International Realty / Stephen McRae