455 Central Park West 455 CPW Above the Law blog.jpgIn Chicago, gay lawyers get to attend exclusive parties. In New York, they enjoy a finer prize: luxury real estate.

The law schools of Columbia and NYU have been battling over faculty superstars for several years. And now NYU is bringing out the heavy artillery: multimillion-dollar condo purchases. From the New York Times:

Columbia University, in a never-ending search for a larger campus, has long had an outpost for faculty housing at 455 Central Park West — 53 apartments in an 26-story tower attached to the French Renaissance chateau at West 106th Street.

So it was something of a surprise when a foundation associated with New York University bought a large condominium in the complex. The unit, which cost $5.2 million, is built into one of the huge turrets of the chateau…. The duplex apartment has a round living and dining room with 37-foot high ceilings and Central Park views, along with three more conventional bedrooms.

Sounds fabulous! Who gets to inhabit this fabulous pad?

Still from the NYT:

Columbia paid $45.4 million for the 53 apartments in 2004, or an average of about $860,000 per unit, a move that helped save the once-struggling development. And Catherine M. Sharkey, a Columbia law professor, lived in a 2,000-square-foot two-bedroom on the second floor of the tower building.

[L]ast June, the New York University School of Law announced that it had recruited Ms. Sharkey, an expert in product liability law and empirical legal studies, from Columbia. A month later the New York University School of Law Foundation signed a contract to buy the nearly 4,000-square-foot apartment in the same complex for use by Ms. Sharkey.

The property records show that the foundation spent $4.2 million two weeks ago to buy an 80 percent interest in the turreted apartment…. Ms. Sharkey and her partner, Ina Bort, who practices commercial and maternity law in New York, bought the remaining 20 percent interest in the apartment for $1.05 million, but the foundation provided them with a mortgage to cover $650,000 of their share of the purchase price for up to 30 years (unless Ms. Sharkey leaves the university before then).

Who says entering academia from a law firm requires scaling back one’s lifestyle? Professor Sharkey and Ms. Bort are enjoying an apartment that many Biglaw partners could only dream of.

Jeffery Becherer Jeffery P Becherer Dickstein Shapiro Above the Law blog.jpgBut lawyers in private practice are still doing okay in the real estate department. Over the weekend, the Times also profiled the elegant duplex of another gay couple: Matt Blood, 34, and Jeff Becherer, 31. The handsome Becherer (pictured) is an associate in the securities practice of Dickstein Shapiro.

The apartment is located in the rapidly gentrifying area near the Gowanus Canal, in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. From the Times:

Mr. Blood and Mr. Becherer rent the lower duplex. On the ground floor, their living room, at the front of the building, is connected by a bridge to the dining room and kitchen at the rear.

A metal railing guards the 12-foot drop into the remodeled basement containing the couple’s bedroom, washer, dryer, storage and home office, which is partly illuminated by a transparent panel in the dining-room floor.

This sunken cellar space, open to the ground floor above, is like a giant conversation pit. The effect is striking and inviting, giving the apartment the off-kilter surprise and spaciousness of a Paul Rudolph design….

They often have guests over, especially in warm weather when they can open the rear glass wall and everyone spills into the garden, where the orange tree, flowering maple and angels’ trumpets that winter in the kitchen soak up the sun’s rays.

Sounds lovely. You know where to reach us, boys!

An Idiosyncratic Gem in Carroll Gardens [New York Times]
Recruiting With Real Estate [New York Times]
455 Central Park West [official website]
Jeffery Becherer bio [Dickstein Shapiro]


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