TOBY JOHNSTONE August 08, 2012
Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban
Famous Australians have been active in the New York apartment scene recently with Lucy and Malcolm Turnbull buying and Nicole Kidman selling.
Kidman reportedly sold her 12th-floor apartment overlooking the Hudson River in the West Village for $US16 million ($15.17 million). Records of the sale were lodged with the City of New York and surfaced on US property website the Real Deal.
The apartment in the Richard Meier-designed building was bought in 2003 for $8 million in the name of her trustee, sister Antonia Kidman.
A year later another Meier-designed tower was built at 165 Charles Street which, to the dismay of Kidman, partially obstructed her view of the Hudson River. The decision to lease out the apartment in 2010 for $US45,000 a month indicates that Kidman and husband Keith Urban had been spending less time at the West Village abode leading up to the sale.
However, the couple have not sold out of the Big Apple completely. They're holding on to their other New York acquisition - an Eleventh Avenue penthouse, which they paid $US10 million for in 2011.
The latest Australians to buy up in the New York are power couple Lucy and Malcolm Turnbull who have bought a two-bedroom apartment near Central Park for $3.275 million.
Mrs Turnbull is a former Lord Mayor of Sydney and currently the chairman of Prima Biomed an Australian cancer treatment company.
Speaking exclusively to the Herald, Mrs Turnbull outlined her reasons for purchasing the apartment.
‘‘New York is my second favourite city (after Sydney) and I had been looking at property there for quite a while,’’ she said.
"We wanted to be close to Lincoln Centre and Columbus Circle, a vibrant part of New York City, close to the subway hub and conveniently located close to midtown and to Central Park."
The purchase was opportunistic with the strong Australian dollar playing a part in the decision, but "it was not a spur-of-the-moment thing", she said.
Mrs Turnbull plans to visit the apartment a couple of times a year for work and pleasure, while Mr Turnbull will join her when his schedule permits.
The apartment is in The Century, a striking 1931 art deco building at 25 Central Park West. New York's most famous twin towers may be gone, but The Century and its "sister building" The Majestic are a part of a group of twin-towered buildings in the area, a quirk arising from the planning laws of the day.
Described as a ''sophisticated essay in Art Deco design'' The Century has been given landmark status by New York's Landmarks Preservation Commission.
The building's twin-towered form helps give Central Park West its ''distinguished silhouette'', according to the commission.
There are 410 apartments over 32 floors that range in size from one to five bedrooms, according to real estate advertisements. Fifty two apartments have access to large elegant terraces, one of which can be seen in images below.
Beautiful period features survive in many of the apartments and are featured selling-points in online advertising. There are decorative fireplaces, hardwood parquet floors, curved staircases and elegant arched entrance ways in some living rooms. Some apartments have been completely renovated, others have been stripped of much of their pre-war charm.
The services the Turnbulls will have access to in their new home include: a full-time staff of doormen, elevator attendants, a concierge and access to a bike room. Laundry service and in-building storage are also available, according to an advertisement for other Century apartments. There are a number of one- to five-bedroom apartments available and Cityrealty estate agents are quoting prices up to $US9,600,000.
Mrs Turnbull's uncle, the late art critic Robert Hughes, had lived in New York since the 1970s. Known for his irreverence and larrikin charm, Hughes was once proclaimed by The New York Times as the world's most famous art critic.
Both Kidman and Turnbull's dealings are small change compared with what is happening in the upper echelons of the New York market. A mystery buyer recently snapped up the two-storey penthouse atop the soon-to-be-complete One57 building for a reported $US90 million.
Although this set a new price record for New York, it's not likely to stand for long, with the penthouse of the City Spire building just listed with a price tag of $US100 million.
Kidman has recently turned her attention away from the US back to Sydney, doubling the size of her penthouse in the Latitude building in Milsons Point by buying the neighbouring apartment for an undisclosed price. Her original apartment cost $4.75 million in 2005 and her latest purchase previously sold for $4.95 million in 2006, so the consolidated 800 sq m apartment with expansive views of the harbour would be worth well over $10 million.