While Sarah Jessica Parker is best known for her role in Sex and the City she is an enthusiastic real estate investor even if her recent investment past is somewhat patchy. When two West Village townhouses went up for sale they were snapped up for an eye watering $34.5 million which caused something of a stir at the time. Initially there was no indication of the underlying buyer but then the rumour started to circulate that it was in fact Sarah Jessica Parker and her husband Matthew Broderick. So, why has Sarah Jessica Parker bought two properties side-by-side?
Mega-mansions all the rage
This is not speculation as building permits have been submitted to effectively combine the two properties, 273-275 West 11th Street between Bleeker and West 4th Streets. The lead architect is Morris Adjmi Architects who is famous for designing the Samsung building in the Meatpacking District. The fact that the architect himself lives in a West Village property ensures that he knows what is going on, what is trendy and what will add value to the property.
The two properties were sold by the United Methodist Women and have an incredible floor space covering 13,900 ft.² although this does not include the 2100 ft.² private garden. This is a phenomenal project for anybody to undertake, to combine two properties into a domestic live in mansion, well, where do you start?
The official paperwork has highlighted the need for “interior demolition partitions” which is effectively technical speak for joining the two properties together as one. There has been no official word from Sarah Jessica Parker or Matthew Broderick but we can safely say they are the underlying owners of the two properties. It will be interesting to see how this particular project goes because to get any value from a $34.5 million investment, before development costs, will certainly be an interesting challenge.
Why build a mega-mansion?
This celebrity couple is not the first to build a mega-mansion with many celebrity real estate investors leading the way in years gone by. If we look at this from an investment point of view there will need to be a significant uplift on the combined purchase cost of $34.5 million, plus development costs, to make it worthwhile. However, when you bear in mind the price of individual properties in the area there is a good chance they will walk away with a decent return if the project is managed correctly.
In the past we have also seen celebrities acquire nearby properties simply to avoid unsavoury neighbours who may impact their lifestyle. Many would see this as a relatively expensive way to protect your privacy but it can also be a good investment!
We have seen a significant increase in the value of celebrity properties changing hands over the last few months. A $34.5 million investment by Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick is a large investment by anybody’s standards. We have also seen Justin Timberlake acquiring a $20 million apartment at 443 Greenwich Street just prior to even more celebrities joining the real estate rush. Is this a sign that the US real estate market is fairly buoyant and set to grow in the short to medium term? Are celebrities simply flexing their financial muscle and spending their money wisely?