There's a new celebrity dorm in town, and it's 436 West 20th Street, a 25-foot-wide Greek Revival townhouse that's been undergoing an extensive gut renovation. The historic house got some pub when it was put on the market for a whopping $21 million, not your typical price for a Chelsea townhouse, even a 10,000-square-foot beauty dating back to 1835 across the street from the lush General Theological Seminary. But here's the thing: This is far from your typical townhouse.
Broker Michael Bolla and developer Michael Daniel bought the place back in the summer of '08 for $6.1 million, then sunk millions more into the renovation. We're talking $100,000 chandeliers, bulletproof glass, out-of-town paint consultants, a small army of artisans creating some sort of European barn vibe and much, much more. The painstaking process gets painstakingly detailed in the Daily News today by Jason Sheftell, and it all sounds quite lovely, but the house hasn't sold. Instead, four full-floor units and a duplex penthouse are being rented out for $15,000 per month and up. Four of the five units have already been claimed, Sheftell writes, including "three to celebrities," a list that includes an actress, a rock star and a relative of a prime minister.
The relative we have pegged for Olivier Sarkozy, half-brother of France's Nicolas Sarkozy and a New York resident. The curveball is that Nicolas Sarkozy is the president and not the prime minister, but our chips are still on the Big O, who runs in the Schnabel circle (the house features artwork by Lola Schnabel). The actress we're in the dark about, but regarding the rock star renting the parlor-floor apartment, a source tells us it's serial house hunter Courtney Love. That means the deal could still self-combust and wind up in rehab any second, but for now, she's slated to move in following her upcoming tour.
What's with the attention-grabbing crop of tenants? Says Bolla, "Only very creative people who want wide streets, a relationship to the river, and have a love for history can understand this house." The broker's website (warning: delicate piano tinkling and French) has photos and floorplans of everything but the penthouse. Meanwhile,the whole house is still on the market for $21 million if one of those creative history-loving water sports enthusiasts really likes what they see.
· Back to Life: Perfect restoration draws big-name renters at $15K per month [NYDN]
· 436 West 20th Street [Official Site]
· It Happened One Weekend: Chelsea Mansion Debuts [Curbed]