Stephen G. Kliegerman
President of Development Marketing
Featured above: Ian Reisner
by Sarah Portlock
Last October, a banking executive offered Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass of Parkview Developers $15.5 million in cash for their apartment, a 4,000-square-foot combination of five apartments at Southmoor House at 230 Central Park South.
The pair didn't have to think hard about turning down the offer.
"After thinking about where we would move, we realized we would never be able to replace this," Reisner said, gesturing to the 16th- and 17th-floor views of Central Park.
For Reisner, 40, and Weiderpass, 49, the apartment is as much a home as their headquarters for Parkview, and it is where they conceived plans for the 505, a seven-story, 109-unit ground-up condo in Hell's Kitchen that is impressively 90 percent sold after launching in late 2007. Reisner attributes their success to a formula of low-priced units — the majority sold in the low $600,000 range — in a booming neighborhood, and said he's excited to relaunch the sales office this summer to sell the remaining units: four one-bedrooms, two two-bedroom penthouses and one three-bedroom penthouse.
Reisner said they closed the sales office last fall so they could focus on finishing construction. He added that they are on budget, on schedule and that the first movers come this summer.
Parkview owns nearly one-fourth of 230 Central Park South, making it one of the co-op's largest shareholders. Reisner and Weiderpass bought their first apartment — four units that had already been connected — in 1995 in the wake of the savings-and-loan crisis for a mere $820,000, and added the fifth unit in 2002. Five years ago, the two men embarked on a nearly $5 million two-year gut renovation to create their current space. No design detail has been spared in the renovation, overseen by architect Paul Dominguez, most notably to the point that there is near-perfect symmetry throughout the home.
"I'm into symmetry big time, and you're not going to find anything in my apartment that's not symmetrical," said Reisner, pointing to ceiling beams he built to parallel the building's actual support system.
The apartment has four bedrooms, six bathrooms, a great room with sweeping park views, a formal dining room, library, bar and kitchen decorated for entertaining with an intricate Moroccan-tiled island.
The rooms, save for the upstairs bedroom, master bath and guest suite, are all connected through a series of custom-made
8-foot-tall pocket doors. There isn't much art on the walls, to avoid clashing with the intricate ceiling decoration, fabric hangings and paneling that fill the spaces instead.
Reisner said he isn't into art, and much prefers architectural elements, while Weiderpass, who likes photography, has hung a few framed prints. The focus, however, is more on the view of Central Park.
Maximizing such a vista would theoretically be any homeowner's priority, but Reisner and Weiderpass took the opportunity as an edict, carving out panoramic windows wherever possible, and using the pocket doors to allow the rooms to flow into one another and toward the view. The kitchen and guest suite do not have that view, but in the master suite, a series of windows and mirrors allow for views from the closet, shower and Jacuzzi.
After passing through the foyer, the apartment begins in the great room, a 720-square-foot, white-walled room filled with off-white suede furniture. The apartment is styled in early 20th-century French Art Deco, and the rooms are monochromatic for dramatic effect: The great room is white to further accentuate the park's natural colors. The burgundy library is meant to be soothing, while the brightness of the golden dining room makes up for a lack of park views, Reisner said.
The apartment is also built for entertaining, something Reisner and Weiderpass love to do — "give me an excuse and I'll throw a party," Reisner said. The pair frequently host benefits and celebrations, and said they have the goods on hand to handle a 100-person party.
The dining room is in the back of the home. Reisner installed gauzy curtains to shield the view of neighboring apartment buildings, and pocket doors open to the library, which has views of the park. There is a large 20-seat dining table made of anegre, a blond African hardwood, and a grid pattern in the bamboo floor echoes the tic-tac-toe-patterned ceiling. To further match the ceiling and floor, there is a delicate three-stepped pattern on the formal dining ware.
Just outside of the dining room, there is the library and bar space, where a black-and-gold marble bar sits opposite a wood-burning fireplace with a matching marble mantel, which is surrounded by four velvet club chairs.
That's Reisner's favorite retreat, he said. "I find [the library] to be calm, soothing and a great place to unwind by the fireplace and read the day's paper."
Everything is tucked away in the kitchen, which is done in classic subway tile and Calcutta marble. A breakfast nook sits between cabinets, and even the coffee pot is nestled behind a trap door.
Up the carpeted, spiral staircase is a guest room, the master suite and the couple's latest renovation project, a guest suite. A notable highlight in the master suite is the Jacuzzi overlooking the park, which is surrounded by mirrors — even on the ceiling — and offers the feeling of an infinity pool hanging over the trees 16 stories up.
Having completed their renovation, the pair now buys other properties in the building to renovate and resell them. Reisner has spent 10 of the last 12 years on the building's board, pursuing an ambitious project to create a cond-op arrangement, a hybrid with co-op taxes and condo rules. (Under his leadership, the co-op building no longer requires board approval or financial disclosures from its residents, and pied-à-terres and subleases are welcome.) The building recently sold its air rights to fund a new Art Deco façade, elevators and a gym.
"My vision is to take a park-facing building in close proximity to the finest addresses in the world, and redevelop the building from a prewar co-op to a state-of-the-art condo, fully refurbished and ready to compete with the best," Reisner said, referring to 15 Central Park West, Trump Tower and Columbus Circle nearby.
And yet, between work, parties and their two Shiba Inu dogs, Lucy and Ricky, the partners, who have been together for 15 years, still try to find time to enjoy where it all started.
"It's rare that there is quiet around the house, but I have a separate office where I can sometimes isolate myself from all the activities," Weiderpass said.
Tuesday, June 02, 2009