Many real estate lawyers are also real estate investors. It makes perfect sense: they know the market, they know the intricacies of complex transactions, and they see a lot of deals in the course of their practice. For example, Jonathan Mechanic, the renowned real estate lawyer who heads the practice at Fried Frank, owns retail and office space in Bergen County, New Jersey (where I grew up).
Over the weekend, the New York Times documented the successful real estate investing of another top New York real estate attorney: Alan J. Pomerantz, currently a senior counsel at Orrick, and before that the co-CEO of a real estate investment fund and a longtime partner at Weil Gotshal. In 1994, Pomerantz and his wife, Carol Pomerantz, a psychotherapist, bought a fabulous Upper East Side apartment for $1.6 million. Now, “because they now spend most of their time with family in Northern California and are building a house in the Napa Valley” — sounds like a nice life, doesn’t it? — they are selling the apartment.
The asking price: $5.7 million. Even accounting for inflation and the costs of their renovation, it seems that the Pomerantzes made a wise investment (assuming the co-op sells at or near the asking price, as places are starting to do again here in NYC).
So what do you get for almost $6 million?
Here’s the building, 1185 Park Avenue:
The Upper East Side Book describes 1185 Park as follows:
One of the very few grand courtyard apartment buildings left in Manhattan and the only one still standing on Park Avenue, this very large and very handsome building has 185 cooperative apartments. Designed by Schwartz & Gross, it was developed by the Bricken Construction Company in 1929.
As you’ll see from the photos, the apartment’s modern interior, custom designed for the Pomerantzes by the late Charles Gwathmey, contrasts strongly — and quite nicely, in my opinion — with the modern exterior of the prewar building. The connection to Gwathmey, described by the Times as “a giant of Modernism,” is the main reason the NYT decided to profile the pad.
Let’s spin through some photos of the place and check out the floor plan of apartment 5C, shall we?