SELLER: Ron Burkle
LOCATION: New York City, N.Y.
PRICE: $37 million
SIZE: 8,074 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms
YOUR MAMA’S NOTES: Ron Burkle hoisted his titanic triplex penthouse pied-a-terre in lower Manhattan on the open market this week, as was first reported by the eagle-eyed kids at Curbed, with a king-sized asking price of $37 million.
Property records show the penthouse was purchased by the multibillionaire supermarket tycoon, venture capitalist and quickly up-and-coming movie producer (“August, Osage County,” “The Family”) in 2005 for $17.5 million from lavish living developer, financer and trained architect Jonathan Leitersdorf, who dubbed the penthouse Sky Studios and regularly rented it out for events, parties and photo shoots. “Sex and the City” filmed at least one episode there, Chelsea Clinton threw herself a birthday party here — Mister Burkle and her former president daddy Bill used to be BFFs — and Jerry Seinfeld was married in the ballroom-sized living room.
Current listing details show the mansion-sized aerie, atop an ornately detailed yet nondescript, non-doorman building called the Dandy, encompasses 8,074 square feet of interior space with another 4,484 square feet of planted terraces and decks. We counted five bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms and two kitchens plus a built-in barbecue station, and we noted monthly taxes and maintenance charges total $11,107. That’s certainly more money than most people earn in a month but a pittance to a man with Mister Burkle’s behemoth bank accounts.
A key-lock elevator opens directly in to the penthouse’s nearly 1,600-square-foot main living space that’s done-done-done to the decorative nth-degree with a coffered and copper leafed ceiling, a massive 17th-century Dutch Tudor fireplace and a hand-carved back-lit onyx bar. The adjacent and essentially windowless eat-in kitchen has a double barrel-vaulted brick ceiling, top-quality appliances (i.e. a five burner La Cornue range) and antique blue marble tiles from a French convent.
The penthouse’s massive main floor is completed by a small, mahogany-paneled library and three en suite bedrooms including the spacious master bedroom that Your Mama thinks has surprisingly limited closet space for a residence of this proportion but does have a windowless, marble-lined bathroom that looks to this former New Yorker about twice the size of a $2,000-per-month Manhattan studio apartment.
Your Mama is somewhat perplexed by the floor plan included with digital marketing materials because, as best as we can tell, it does not appear that one can get from the main floor to the upper levels of the penthouse without having to go outside. We’re not sure if that’s just a glitch in the way the floor plan was drawn but if true, it quite frankly seems absolutely ludicrous to pay $37 million — or even $17.5 million — for a penthouse property that on colder days requires a person to put on a goddamn coat to get from the upper-level bedrooms to the main-floor kitchen.
Whatever the situation, the penthouse’s second floor contains a fourth bedroom and a petite media lounge that share a Jack ‘n’ Jill bathroom plus a (second) kitchen and an 850-square-foot double-height lounge with a towering wall of windows that swing open to a planted terraced the size of a suburban macmansion’s backyard. Not surprisingly, the capacious, sky-lit lounge is decked out with a state-of-the-art projection system that includes a movie screen that drops down from the ceiling at the push of a button.
Floor plans show a bifurcated mezzanine level includes a small fitness room and massage room one side and a fifth bedroom on the other with extensive dressing room and a sun-flooded marble bathroom that opens directly on to the deck that surrounds a 27-foot-long swimming pool. That’s right, puppies, Mister Burkle’s penthouse pied-à-terre has a private swimming pool. In addition to the aforementioned built-in barbecue station, the penthouse’s uppermost terrace is fitted with an outdoor television watching area and a redwood hot tub with, well, let’s be honest, butter beans, bikini bottom-dropping, wraparound city views.
By the way, did anyone call Heidi Klum? So the Big Apple celebrity real estate scuttlebutt went last October, the apparently super-rich German supermodel and reality television mogul went for a look-see but apparently passed on rock star Jon Bon Jovi’s nearly 7,500-square-foot SoHo duplex penthouse, originally priced at $42 million and now listed at $37.5 million.
Like many if not the vast majority of American multibillionaires, Mister Burkle maintains an impressively extensive portfolio of high-priced and high-maintenance private residences. In a 2012 profile he told the New Yorker that he doesn’t “really live anywhere much anymore” but that his legal residence is in London where Your Mama is just going to assume he owns a considerable residence about which we know not a thing.
In Los Angeles he famously owns the legendary Green Acres estate in Beverly Hills (above). The 4.91-acre spread and its 23,000-square-foot-plus Mediterranean mansion was once owned by silent film star Harold Lloyd, and property records and other digital resources show Mister Burkle bought it in 1993 for $12.5 million from department store heir and Interscope Records founder Ted Field. (In case you didn’t already know, it’s next door to fellow billionaire Tom Gore’s private soccer pitch and a couple of houses down from David Geffen’s even bigger and also Tinseltown-pedigreed estate.)
In July 2011, to much hullabaloo and relief in all the property gossip columns, Mister Burkle shelled out $4,458,044 for Frank Lloyd Wright’s beloved and quirky all but crumbling Ennis House in L.A.’s Los Feliz ‘hood, which he planned to rehab and resuscitate. And, as far as Your Mama knows, the low-key if high-profile real estate baller also owns a 500-acre-plus ranch near Yucaipa — about an hour east of L.A. — as well as a couple of casas in Mexico he bought with Leo DiCaprio and a nearly 27,000-square-foot mansion on 5.45 prime bluff top acres in La Jolla, Calif. (above), that he bought in early 1999 for $15,848,443 from auto parts store tycoon Harry Eberlin.
Listing photos: Douglas Elliman