SELLER: Annie Leibovitz
LOCATION: New York City, NY
SIZE: 10,202 square feet with 13 fireplaces
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: It’s just come to Your Mama’s attention, via the hard work of our unofficial researcher Hot Chocolate, that world famous and financially beleaguered photographer Annie Leibovitz has put her townhouse compound in New York City’s historic West Village ‘hood on the market with a sizable but probably not unreasonable $33,000,000.
This development may not be such a surprise to celebrity and high-end real estate watchers who surely recall that the celebrity snapping Miz Leibovitz ran into some financial issues a few years ago that just about forced her West Village compound into foreclosure. Several years ago, so the sordid story goes, Miz Leibovitz needed to scare up a toe curling $24,000,000 to cover a myriad of liens, loans, lawsuits, renovation costs and other debts.
Like many bankable artists in a pinch, Miz Leibovitz went to Art Capital Group, a private banking operation that provides loans to artists who often back the loans with their own art collection and future work(s). In Miz Leibovitz’s case, the leviathan loan was collateralized by her significant but heavily mortgaged real estate holdings as well as the negatives and intellectual property rights to every photo she has ever taken. That’s right puppies, every photo she has ever taken.
The brouhaha as settled in early 2010 with a kind of detente. Miz Leibovitz reportedly re-arranged the terms of the loan agreement in such as way as to buy her more time, re-purchased for an undisclosed amount the rights to act as her own “exclusive agent in the sale of her real property and copyrights…within the context of the loan agreement, which shall prevail until satisfied.”
The complex consists, as per listing information, of three distinct but contiguous and at least partially interconnected ivy-covered red brick townhouses that surround a private garden. Property records and previous reports indicate Miz Leibovitz acquired the bulk of the complex in April 2002 for $4,150,000. She paid $1,870,000 for the third piece of her downtown real estate puzzle a few years later, in 2003.
Most if not all of one townhouse was converted and customized for Miz Leibovitz’s studio space and offices. There are soaring ceiling in the main studio, multiple fireplaces, a private office, several smaller studios/work spaces and access to the garden through the English basement where there’s more work space, ample storage and a kitchen. A triplex guest suite with living room, kitchen, and at least one bedroom with a full bath occupies at least part of the second townhouse.
The third townhouse was given over to the photographer’s personal living space and includes—as best as we can surmise from listing information—a pared down but plush parlor level living room with two fireplaces and some of the most marvelous wide plank hardwood floors Your Mama has seen in a long time. Two doors in the living room lead into the formal dining room and a third into a compact but well and expensively equipped kitchen finished with a red leather built-in breakfast banquette, a wall of floor-to-ceiling stainless steel cabinets, marble counter tops, open shelving for daily dishware and direct access to the garden.
The third floor of the main residence is devoted entirely to the master suite and contains a large bedroom with wood-burning fireplace, a large walk-in closet plus several smaller ones as well, a windowed bathroom and a private den that opens into a sun room. There is convenient direct access from the den in the master suite to Miz Leibovitz’s studio. There are four additional guest/family bedrooms and two bathrooms on the top floor—each with a wood-burning fireplace—plus a laundry room and a sky-lit playroom.
The English basement level has a separate entrances and offers one more bedroom and bathroom for guests or a live-in domestic worker, a second laundry room, enviable storage space and a spacious mud room.
As far as we know Miz Leibovitz still retains ownership of her 200-and-some acre country spread country off scenic River Road in Rhinebeck, NY.
listing photos: Brown Harris Stevens