Fancy Face-Lift

The New York TimesFebruary 14, 2014
A combination unit at 845 United Nations Plaza that underwent a multimillion-dollar three-year renovation to transform a modern bachelor pad on the 32nd floor into a contemporary showplace with a 95-foot west/east wingspan, dynamic East River views, and an assortment of futuristic home-technology systems is about to enter the market at $25 million.

The four-bedroom four-and-a-half-bath condominium, No. 32A, in the sylphlike black-and-gold glass Trump World Tower at First Avenue and 47th Street, just north of the United Nations campus, has monthly carrying costs of $8,150. From the living area, the home theater and the secluded master suite, there are unimpeded views of the 1936 Pepsi-Cola billboard on the eastern bank of the river as well as views north to the Queensboro Bridge and west to the Chrysler Building.

On either side of the 95-foot-expanse that constitutes and connects the main entertaining spaces, the nearly 3,600-square-foot apartment has two wings — one for the master suite, to the southeast, the other for two bedrooms and an auxiliary catering kitchen, to the north. On the western end, the library, with Macassar ebony wood built-ins, has an eight-foot-tall window that captures western views and connects to the family room, which has a built-in desk and is dominated by a Steinway grand piano. The 20-by-16-foot living room has picture windows overlooking the East River, a built-in ebony bar, and a hidden television also framed in ebony. The room opens onto a dining area with north and east exposures, and as befits a home with Warhols and Picassos on the walls, the windows have an art-protective ultraviolet tint.

The elaborate face-lift was dreamed up by the seller, Dr. Sam S. Rizk, a facial plastic surgeon and self-described “detail fanatic” who moved into No. 32A in 2002 and five years ago added No. 32E when he learned that an east/west open reconfiguration was possible. “We were able to tear out a bathroom and break through the walls and create something that runs the depth of the building,” he said. Many of the design elements, like the white crocodile-skin cabinetry framed with metal in the master bath and walk-in closet, owe their existence to the unconscious imaginings of Dr. Rizk. “I would see it in a dream and wake up and write it all down,” he said.

The overarching theme of the renovation, which was preceded in 2011 by the eight-month installation of a white 17-by-12-foot Poggenpohl kitchen with Caesarstone counters and floor, was also Dr. Rizk’s idea. He wanted a modern aesthetic, but not an austere version of modernity.

“I don’t like cold modern,” he said. “I wanted it to be contemporary and warm, and for that you need lots of wood and warm colors.” The floors are oak plank, and the 20-by-7-foot entrance gallery is sheathed in custom African ziricote wood panels fabricated by NY Loft. The custom milk-glass-and-Macassar-ebony pocket doors used as discreet room dividers throughout the home were created in Italy, and the leather chairs in the leather-wrapped, triple-soundproofed home theater were made by Bentley Motors, the luxury automobile purveyor.

Dr. Rizk, along with his wife, Carolina, a former model who assisted on the apartment’s redesign, and their 8-month-old son, will most likely move farther uptown to be closer to his office at 1040 Park Avenue. Their next move, he said, will probably not involve another major renovation. “This one was grueling; I mean, we had to move out for two years.” The artwork and furnishings, including the Steinway and a rare-edition silver Harley-Davidson that stands guard in the master bedroom like a sculpture (albeit one that can be driven though it never has been), are available should the buyer be interested.

Another lavishly appointed former bachelor pad at Trump World Tower, this one on the 70th floor near the apex of the building, and with Ultrasuede walls and a billiards/game room, sold for $15.5 million in 2012; Derek Jeter, the Yankees captain (who just this week announced his retirement), was the seller.

The listing broker of No. 32A, Jarrod Guy Randolph of the CORE Group, said the unit had been so thoroughly and expensively renovated that, besides being in turnkey condition, “it is like buying a new-construction product.” The level of the finishes, the attention to detail, and the pristine condition of the mechanical systems and appliances make it “an anomaly in the building,” he said. “It compares favorably to One57, 432 Park Avenue and One Beacon Court, and for a buyer to be able to find something of that level of quality in this neighborhood is very rare.”

And expensive, but Dr. Rizk envisions a billionaire buyer who covets the building’s Trumpian amenities and proximity to the United Nations. “I can see a buyer from Russia or the Middle East taking one look at this and loving it,” he said. “I know I’ve loved everything about it.”

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