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The latest news on Real Estate from Business Insider

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    Jakarta and Bali, both in Indonesia, ranked highly on real estate firm Knight Frank's new index of price growth in the world's luxury real estate markets.

    The capital city of Jakarta, where prices increased 38 percent year-over-year, topped the list this year. And Bali ranked second, tying Dubai with a 20 percent increase in luxury real estate prices between 2011 and 2012.

    Knight Frank explained the growth:

    Jakarta benefited from continued strong GDP growth, which has stood at or above 6% for five out of the past six years and, in particular, from rapid growth in middle-class wealth. Increased access for non-resident purchasers could help sustain the trend through 2013.

    In Jakarta, prices jumped from $250 per square foot to $346 per square foot. And in Bali, they went from $224 per square foot to $269 per square foot, according to Knight Frank.

    While a third of the cities in the report experienced price growth in 2012, prices declined in around half of the cities analyzed in the report. Overall, the Asia-Pacific region fared well, while Europe struggled.

    According to Knight Frank, the dichotomy stems from the aftermath of the financial crisis:

    The search for safe haven investments has continued to propel prices higher in key global cities; some of the markets worst hit by the global financial crisis appear at long last to be recovering; and the impact of growing global wealth flows has kept governments busy in their attempts to limit price growth and deflate nascent real-estate bubbles before they explode.

    Even with the upswing, Jakarta and Bali still fell outside Knight Frank's list of the 20 most expensive places to buy luxury property.

    Here are the 20 cities (out of 80 analyzed by Knight Frank) where prices on luxury residential real estate rose the most in 2012:

    knight frank chart

    And the markets where they decreased the most:

    knight frank chart

    SEE ALSO: The Cities That Matter Most To Wealthy People

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    erickson pic final

    Kathryn Korte, the president and CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty, and Ellie Johnson, the manager of the firm’s Upper East Side office, may also face disciplinary action as the result of a state probe into allegations that top-producing broker Roger Erickson acted as an undisclosed dual agent, The Real Deal has learned.

    The New York State Department of State opened the investigation last year, after the seller of an apartment at 812 Fifth Avenue lodged a complaint. He alleged that Erickson had breached their exclusive sale contract by clandestinely working with a prospective purchaser, effectively lowering the sale value of the home.

    While brokers are permitted to represent both parties in a condominium or co-op sale, they must disclose their work as a “dual agent” and sign disclosure forms to that effect.

    Last week, state officials wrapped up the investigation into Erickson and referred the materials to the DOS’ litigation unit, which will determine if the broker will face a penalty or not. (It is not clear when the DOS will issue a decision.)

    At the same time, the DOS revealed that it had widened the inquiry, naming Johnson — Erickson’s manager at the time of the sale — as well as Korte, who oversees the New York City franchise, as subjects of the probe. Both brokers could face disciplinary action, though it was not clear what specific allegations they are facing.

    Indeed, naming Korte, the firm’s broker of record, and Johnson, Erickson’s manager, may not be an indication of their direct culpability so much as an assumption that the duo was responsible for supervising Erickson, an industry source noted.

    “A broker of record is responsible for the behavior of agents whose license they hold,” said the source, who does not work at Sotheby’s and requested anonymity in commenting on the case. “There’s the presumption of supervision and that they’ve given the broker sufficient training that they’re not going to do anything that [constitutes misconduct].”

    Erickson, Korte, Johnson and Sotheby’s declined to comment on the case via a spokesperson for the firm. In a statement released after the DOS opened the investigation, Erickson and Sotheby’s asserted that the allegations had no merit. A spokesperson for the DOS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    In this case, a man named Harvey Schuyler retained Erickson in December 2008 to sell his Fifth Avenue co-op, originally listed for $3.65 million. Several months later, Erickson allegedly recommended Schuyler accept a $3 million offer from another one of his clients, Turkish businesswoman Demet Sabanci Cetindogan, whom he represented in contract negotiations. However, he allegedly did not reveal that she was his client, nor obtain Schuyler’s consent to act as a dual agent.

    The two-bedroom apartment ultimately sold to another buyer for $3 million in 2010.

    Separately, Schuyler sued Erickson early last year, claiming that he used “aggressive tactics, deception and sheer dishonesty” to convince him to accept Cetindogan’s offer, which allegedly caused him to take a hit on the eventual sale of the apartment.

    “Having set the apartment’s purchase price below the fair market value, created a false market,” the complaint said. “[Schuyler] thereafter was unable to realize a higher market value for the apartment as the false market price was widely known.”

    A New York State Supreme Court judge has not yet ruled on the allegations.

    In a statement to The Real Deal, Schuyler’s attorney Evan Schieber, a partner at the law firm of Rivkin Radler, called the DOS investigation “a positive step towards curbing abuses by real estate brokers.”

    Erickson, who reportedly drives a platinum Ferrari F430, is noted for his flashy lifestyle and has worked with celebrity clients such as Steve Jobs, Bono and Madonna. He was named the No. 1 broker at Sotheby’s in 2010 and has closed sales in excess of $1 billion during his 20-year real estate career, according to his agent’s page.

    Erickson spent the early part of his career working as a music executive at CBS records and reportedly left his music publicist ex-wife Susan Blond after 13 years of marriage for Russian tango instructor, Irina Shpeckt.

    Erickson recently listed a full-floor apartment at the Rosario Candela-designed 778 Park Avenue for $22.5 million. The apartment belongs to the estate of noted philanthropist Celeste Bartos, who passed away in January, The Real Deal previously reported.

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    chloe sevigny apartment

    It looks like actress Chloë Sevigny has finally sold her farmhouse-chic apartment in NYC's East Village.

    The apartment is in contract for $1.85 million, according to StreetEasy.

    We first heard that the home had been sold in July of last year, when The New York Post reported that the actress had found a buyer after listing the place for $1.7 million.

    But neighborhood blog EV Grieve says the buyer dropped out due to a death in the family, and the home was re-listed for $1.995 million.

    Hopefully, this time it sticks. The apartment was designed by David Cafiero and has a wood-burning fireplace, beamed ceilings, a fountain in the backyard, and exposed brick walls.

    The co-op is on East 10th Street.

    But it doesn't feel like a city apartment. Check out those wide-plank floors.

    There are built-in bookshelves and even a working fireplace.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    $60,000 a month penthouse gehry building new york

    It’s conventional wisdom that “blue chip” apartments surrounding Central Park command the highest prices in New York City, beating out trendier Downtown towers on a price per square foot basis.

    For the first time in a decade, however, the asking prices for luxury Downtown apartments have outpaced those in Midtown and Uptown, new data show, as developments in Tribeca, Soho and Chelsea demand in excess of $7,000 per square foot.

    The average asking price for a Downtown luxury apartment rose to $2,777 per square foot in the fourth quarter of 2012, surpassing comparable units in Midtown and Uptown, where the collective average price was $2,685 per square foot, according to data from Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group provided to The Real Deal.

    The data, which the new development marketing firm has been tracking for 10 years, is based on a survey of 140 Manhattan luxury condominium and co-op buildings that have asking prices averaging more than $1,700 per square foot. The collective Uptown and Midtown neighborhood is defined by the firm as north of 34th Street and south of 110th Street, while the Downtown neighborhood is defined as south of 34th Street not including the Financial District or Battery Park City.

    The growth in the market is the result of a bevy of new luxury towers hitting the market Downtown in recent years, as well as buyers’ willingness — and even preference — to seek out homes far afield of Central Park. And while this trend has been on the rise for years, the pace has escalated in the last 12 months.

    In fact, prices for Downtown units have risen a dramatic 28 percent compared to the same period in 2011, marking a 30 percent jump over the previous peak in the fourth quarter of 2007, the data show. Uptown prices have not seen the same dramatic uptick, despite the introduction of luxury towers such as Extell Development’s One57.

    “Uptown is tried and true — if you list something pre-war Uptown, you’re going to sell — but Downtown really has the buzz right now,” said Michele Kleier, a luxury broker whose brokerage Kleier Residential is based on the Upper East Side. “People are much more open about location now in general. It used to be they would have a 10-block radius in which they wanted to live [on the Upper East Side]. Now, it’s a lot more about the apartment for a lot of people. They’re flexible on location. That fabulous apartment with a terrace and a view is worth moving for.”

    The evolution of the Downtown market has been in the making since the mid-1990s, said Jonathan Miller, an appraiser at Miller Samuel, as neighborhoods such as Soho and Tribeca became popular with celebrities and Wall Streeters. The influx of moneyed buyers began with the rise of the dot com boom, he said, when Park Avenue-qualified buyers started looking at similarly sized spaces in raw, Tribeca loft buildings.

    More recently, the debut of several luxury Downtown skyscrapers — which have pushed the envelope in the last 18 months with asking prices in excess of $6,000 and $7,000 per square foot — are shifting the market even further. Recent examples include 56 Leonard, a 60-story condominium tower in Tribeca developed by the Alexico Group, Dune Real Estate Partners, Goldman Sachs and Hines, and the Witkoff Group’s 150 Charles Street in the West Village.

    Last year, sales also launched at pricey new developments such as Chelsea’s Walker Tower, a condominium project by JDS Development and Property Markets Group, and 18 Gramercy Park South, the new project from the Zeckendorf brothers, who developed 15 Central Park West.

    While sales at these developments have not yet closed, the eye-popping asking prices and rapidity of contract signings have reinforced the desirability of Downtown homes.

    At the same time, while Corcoran Sunshine’s data provides an insight into the luxury market through the lens of particular buildings, it may not be conclusive for the luxury market as a whole, said Kirk Henckels, chairman and director of private brokerage at Stribling & Associates.

    For one thing, there are many fewer new luxury residential developments on Fifth Avenue and Central Park West than Downtown, Henckels noted. (New developments tend to command higher prices than resales, and condos are often pricier than co-ops.)

    For another, the Upper East Side and Upper West Side can still command top dollar—literally. Last year, the city’s priciest home sales all took place in Midtown and Uptown, including the largest co-op deal (the $54 million sale of media mogul David Geffen’s apartment at 785 Fifth Avenue), the largest townhouse deal (the $49 million sale of the Stanford White Mansion at 973 Fifth Avenue), and the largest condo deal (the $88 million sale of a penthouse at 15 Central Park West), according to a market report prepared by Henckels.

    But buyers are also seeking trophy homes Downtown, and increasingly finding towers that come heaped with amenities, including swimming pools, gyms, roof decks and screening rooms. Properties with access to those facilities have not historically been available in Downtown neighborhoods.

    “The Uptown people tend to want these newer buildings with views. Downtown properties historically haven’t offered that,” said Mara Flash Blum, a luxury Downtown broker at Sotheby’s International Realty. “Most areas are landmarked so you can’t build these huge tall towers there.”

    The building under construction at 56 Leonard, which stalled for several years during the financial crisis, was permitted to rise to 830 feet thanks to its location between the Tribeca East and Tribeca West Historic Districts. A penthouse there is asking $6,400 a square foot, while at 150 Charles Street, one of the priciest units has a price tag topping $7,592 per square foot.

    Kelly Kennedy Mack, head of Corcoran Sunshine, which is marketing 56 Leonard, told The Real Deal that the property is commanding interest from a range of different kinds of buyers, including some who previously may have opted to live in a trophy tower Uptown. If it hadn’t been for the introduction of properties such as 56 Leonard, many buyers would never have considered looking southward, said Mack, who noted that the building has been hit so far with local buyers more so than international purchasers.

    “We had always suspected that 56 Leonard would compete with luxury high-end properties in the Midtown market, particularly for the international buying community and for the penthouses,” she said. “This is the first time that a product is being introduced to the Downtown market that has ticked all of the boxes historically only checked in prime Midtown.”

    And it’s not just condos that are seeing price hikes.

    “I’m seeing record numbers in co-ops Downtown,” Blum said. “The average price in the co-op market Downtown has been somewhere between $1,200 and $1,300 a square foot. When you start to see $1,500 to $1,900 a square foot, as we’re seeing now, that’s pretty outrageous.”

    These are not the first Downtown properties to achieve record numbers. Last year, for instance, a pair of penthouses at Superior Ink on West 12th Street sold separately for $16.9 million and $10.5 million. Several years ago, a penthouse co-op at 40 Fifth Avenue sold for $11 million.

    “If that came on the market right now, would it come on at $25 million?” Blum wondered.

    To that end, brokers who have traditionally stuck to selling pre-war Upper East Side co-ops to well-heeled Manhattanites may need to learn mobility as demand for properties further south ramps up, Kleier said.

    “We need to be in a car or on roller skates [to keep up],” she joked.

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    brad pitt malibu house

    Brad Pitt sold his Malibu beach house to Ellen Degeneres. Ryan Seacrest picked up Ellen's Beverly Hills compound for $49 million. Christina Aguilera bought Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne's home back in 2007.

    Celebrity-on-celebrity real estate deals seem to happen all the time. What gives? Is there some unspoken rule that says famous people can only live in the homes of other famous people?

    Celebrity real estate blogger The Real Estalker has a logical explanation, which she explains in the Hollywood Reporter. In short, stars' homes have some unique amenities that only a fellow star would appreciate.

    She writes: 

    Stars and other high-net-worth people have special real estate needs regular people don't, needs probably already addressed in a home owned by a celebrity: high walls to act as looky-loo buffers, remote-control access and badass alarm systems are inviolable requirements. They need Kardashian-sized closets for all their swag and a home office to house their squadron of personal assistants. 

    Since privacy is also important to celebrities, many of their real estate transactions are shrouded in secrecy in ways that regular folks would never even consider.

    According to the Real Estalker, "It's not uncommon for brokers to sign lengthy nondisclosure agreements (NDAs), be told they can't have open houses and/or be asked to quietly shop a star's home off-market as a pocket listing before it goes on the MLS, if it ever does."

    You can read the full article at the Hollywood Reporter.

    SEE ALSO: Ryan Seacrest Bought This Gigantic Beverly Hills Compound From Ellen Degeneres For Around $49 Million

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    Weeks after it was rumored to be headed for market, we now know that late investor Martin Zweig's legendary penthouse apartment atop the Pierre in New York City will be listed for $125 million, the New York Times' Robin Finn reports.

    While the listing has yet to appear, the $125 million price tag makes it the most expensive home for sale in New York City. It narrowly beats a midtown apartment owned by Steve Cohen, which the SAC honcho is reportedly selling for $115 million.

    So what does $125 million buy you at the fabled hotel?

    According to Finn, the penthouse is "a triplex confection graced by a grand black-marble staircase, arched cathedral windows that replicate a Versailles chapel, 23-foot ceilings, and fireplaces embraced by mantels designed in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries."

    It has five bedrooms and six bathrooms, 360-degree views of Manhattan, and multiple terraces, a rarity in Manhattan real estate.

    Zweig, a stock investorinvestment advisor, and financial analyst, died in February.

    He paid $21.5 million for the penthouse back in 1999, setting a real estate record at the time. He tried  but failed  to sell it for $70 million several years ago, according to Curbed NY.

    The New York Times has some photos of the apartment's interior; you can see them hereElizabeth Lee Sample, Brenda S. Powers, and Serena Boardman of Sothebys International Realty have the listing.

    Ex-Citigroup CEO Sandy Weill's penthouse at 15 Central Park West sold last year for a record $88 million.

    SEE ALSO: The Most Expensive Home Sales In NYC In 2012

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    60 Million Dollar Penthouse NYC

    The New York City real estate world is abuzz over two properties reported to be hitting the market for well over $100 million in the past couple of days.

    One belongs to SAC Capital honcho Steve A. Cohen; the other was owned by late investor Martin Zweig.

    In light of these two blockbuster properties, we're taking a look at the 10 most expensive homes that are currently for sale in New York City, based on publicly available listings.

    #10 A 7-story townhouse on the Upper West Side is on sale for $50 million.

    This townhouse on West 86th Street was built in 1900 in the Beaux Arts style.

    It was gut-renovated in 1998, and has eight bedrooms, 14 bathrooms, and a roof garden. 

    #9 A duplex penthouse on the Upper East Side is on sale for $50 million.

    The penthouse at the all-new 135 East 79th Street has six bedrooms, eight bathrooms, and multiple terraces.

    The apartment, a duplex, is 8,987 square feet, and is located on the 19th floor of the building.

    #8 The penthouse atop the Mandarin Oriental in Columbus Circle is listed for $50 million.

    The penthouse at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Columbus Circle's Time Warner Center has bounced on and off the market for more than a year. It was previously listed for $42.5 million, according to Curbed.

    The 4,825-square-foot condo has a 30-foot gallery and a wine cellar, as well as access to the hotel's concierge service and amenities.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    attached imageAnother blockbuster property recently hit the market in Manhattan, and it's not even complete yet.

    The $60 million penthouse duplex is part of Midtown's new 50-story Baccarat Hotel and Residences. It first went up for sale in late February of this year.

    All we have so far are the schematics for the home, which is set for completion in late 2014, but we do know that guests will have access to the hotel's amenities such as the spa, fitness center, and pool.

    The five-bedroom penthouse has 14-foot ceilings, a floating fireplace, wet bar, and 360-degree views of Manhattan and Central Park. The master suite alone is a staggering 1,137 square feet.

    The $60 million penthouse will be on the 48/49 floors of the Baccarat Hotel & Residences.

    Source: Baccarat Hotel & Residences

    The new luxury apartment building will be on 20 West 53rd Street in midtown Manhattan.

    Source: Baccarat Hotel & Residences

    Residents will have access to the building's gym, spa, and expansive pool.

    Source: Baccarat Hotel & Residences

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    pierre penthouse martin zweig

    We learned that the penthouse of New York City's Pierre Hotel was hitting the market for a record $125 million last week, and the official listing has finally surfaced with some photos of the space.

    The apartment, which belonged to late investor Martin Zweig, encompasses three floors and was originally the hotel's ballroom.

    Commenters over on Curbed NY have pointed out that the apartment's history as a massive ballroom means its an awkward living space today; that doesn't mean it's not pretty to look at.

    The 16-room spread is listed with Sotheby's International Realty.

    The apartment is a triplex, taking up floors 41, 42, and 43 of the Pierre.

    It formerly housed the famous hotel's ballroom, and "the living room is considered the most magnificent privately owned room in the world," according to the listing.

    There are 16 rooms in total, including five bedrooms.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Arianna Huffington SoHo Loft Mercer Street

    Arianna Huffington isn't letting rumors that she trashed a $32,000-a-month Chelsea loft stop her from playing the real estate game — the media mogul has set her sights on SoHo instead.

    According to The New York Post, Huffington bought a luxury loft on Mercer Street for $8.15 million this past December, for slightly less than its initial $8.495 million asking price.

    The Huffington Post founder's new property has three bedrooms, a large master suite, and plenty of natural light throughout.

    Welcome to Arianna Huffington's new building on 158 Mercer Street.

    The media queen bought the SoHo loft in late December of last year.

    The condo has 4,177 square feet of space, and gets plenty of light from the massive windows.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Girls lena dunham

    Greenpoint has received a lot of attention lately for its role as the setting for the HBO mega-hit-series “Girls.”

    That exposure, brokers say, has boosted the neighborhood’s rental market.

    “We get more and more calls there for rentals every day,” said David Behin of the brokerage MNS.

    And while the twenty-something crowd at Grumpy’s Café — the Meserole Avenue hangout featured on the show — probably can’t afford to buy real estate, the Greenpoint residential sales market is also seeing an uptick.

    Sometimes referred to as “Little Poland” due to its large population of Polish immigrants, Greenpoint’s housing stock is composed mostly of low-rise brownstones and attached single-family houses. The area has virtually no co-ops, noted Jonathan Miller, CEO of appraisal firm Miller Samuel.

    Along with Williamsburg, the Greenpoint waterfront was rezoned in 2005 from industrial to mixed-use, but the downturn halted much of the planned residential development there. Now that the economy is improving, however, a slew of new residential buildings are popping up, including two massive rental projects: Park Tower Group’s 5,000-unit Greenpoint Landing and a 210-unit project by the Domain Companies. The two are the first large-scale residential projects in Greenpoint since the rezoning.

    Plans for two other large residential developments — one by the Chetrit Group and another by Red Sky Capital — have not been made public, and neither developer returned calls for comment.

    The neighborhood also has nearly a dozen boutique condo buildings on the market or in the works. And the units in those projects are selling quickly amid high demand and low inventory, said David Maundrell, president of the brokerage, which is marketing several new buildings in the neighborhood, including 145 McGuinness Boulevard, 287-299 McGuinness Boulevard, 141 Dupont Street and 98 Clay Street.

    Prices are on the rise, too.

    The average price per square foot for a Greenpoint condo was $739 in the fourth quarter of 2012, jumping 22.2 percent from $605 per square foot in the same quarter of 2011, according to data from Miller Samuel. The average condo sales price, meanwhile, grew slightly to $610,048 in the fourth quarter, up from $601,070 in the same period of the previous year.

    Meanwhile, rents in existing buildings are skyrocketing, brokers said.

    Bram Lefevere, vice president with brokerage Miron Properties, estimated that Greenpoint rents increased by more than 30 percent in 2012, and said he expects a similar increase in 2013.

    “A decent two-bedroom two years ago rented for $1,900,” Lefevere said. “Last year, it went up to $2,400, and this year it’s going to be $2,800.”

    Still, Greenpoint’s lack of subway access will likely limit price growth.

    It currently takes two subways or a ferry to get to Manhattan, and many area residents walk over the Pulaski Bridge to Long Island City to catch the 7 subway line, Behin said.

    The city is looking into adding stops to the G line, but for now, “Greenpoint is getting rents of $45 to $50 a foot, and I think landlords would get 20 to 25 percent more if you had better transportation,” Behin said.

    Check out some new properties in Greenpoint at The Real Deal >

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    micro apartments san francisco model

    The city will be putting out more requests for proposals for micro-apartment sites, the New York Observer reported.

    “We are considering RFPs for two or three micro-unit developments later this year,” a Department of Housing Preservation and Development spokesman told The Observer after a lunch hosted by the Citizens Housing Planning Council Thursday.

    “We’re in the process of vetting a number of city-owned sites, and RFP guidelines will be tailored to the chosen sites.” 

    The announcement comes a few months after Monadnock Development, Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation and nARCHITECTS won the city’s adAPT NYC contest and were selected to build micro-apartments at a city-owned site in Kips Bay.

    The 10-story complex, located at 335 East 27th Street, will feature 55 apartments – 40 percent of them affordable — ranging in size from 250 to 370 square feet.

    Real estate insiders have been asking whether developing micro-apartments is financially feasible, as The Real Deal previously reported. [NYO]

    SEE ALSO: 12 Space-Saving Items That Are Perfect For A 'Micro Apartment'

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    Cohen penthouse

    Looking at the listing photos for Steve A. Cohen's $115 million Manhattan penthouse, one thing caught our eye: a sculpture of a short, bald man with raised arms standing in a prime spot in the living room.

    Cohen's a well-known collector of contemporary art. He famously owns Damien Hirst's sculpture of a shark in a tank of formaldehyde, and spent $137.5 million on Willem de Kooning's "Woman."

    But we didn't recognize the bald-man sculpture, which appears over and over again in the listing photos.

    picasso by maurizio cattelanSo we did some digging, and it appears that the work is by Maurizio Cattelan, an Italian artist known for his satirical sculptures. It's a depiction of Pablo Picasso, which makes sense given the hedge funder's love of the artist  he recently bought Picasso's "Le Reve"from Steven Wynn for $155 million.

    The work first appeared at the Museum of Modern Art in 1998, as part of an exhibit where Cattelan looked at the concept of "art as mascot,"according to The Guggenheim's education center. The Guggenheim explains:

    For the run of the show, an actor dressed as Picasso in a large molded head mask and the artist’s striped boatneck shirt occupied the galleries. This Picasso behaved like an amusement-park mascot, greeting crowds, posing for photographs, and signing autographs ...

    The presence of Cattelan’s Picasso as a friendly face, an inviting host, resembled those cartoon characters come-to life at Disneyland, an emblem for lowbrow, wholesome amusement.

    We couldn't find any record that Cohen himself bought the work, but a version (there are two) last sold at a Christie's auction in London in 2007 for $487,000.

    Here's a close-up, from when the 7-foot-tall sculpture appeared at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice in 2006. 

    picasso by maurizio cattelan

    SEE ALSO: Steve Cohen's Jaw-Dropping Penthouse Just Hit The Market For $115 Million

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    Necker Island Wildlife, CaribbeanPrivate islands are all over the news.

    It's rumored that Jay-Z is looking for a private island getaway for wife Beyonce and baby Blue Ivy, and Skorpios — the most famous private island in Greece — just sold to an anonymous Russian billionaire for $153 million.

    Last month, the Emir of Qatar bought $11 million worth of islands, also in Greece. And Oracle honcho Larry Ellison spent a reported $600 million on his own Hawaiian paradise last year.

    But lots of celebrities and wealthy people own their own private islands, which are, perhaps, the ultimate symbol of wealth. Here's a look at some of those owners.

    Actor Johnny Depp paid $3.6 million for 45-acre Little Hall's Pond Cay, in the Bahamas, in 2004 after filming "Pirates of the Caribbean."

    Source: Huffington Post

    Jay-Z is rumored to be spending around $3 million on an island in North Abaco, a district in the Bahamas, so he can have a private place to escape with wife Beyonce and baby Blue Ivy.

    Source: The Sun

    Skorpios Island, off the coast of Greece, was the private island of the late Greek shipping billionaire Aristotle Onassis. It just sold to a Russian billionaire for $153 million.

    Source: Business Insider

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    san francisco house

    Tech entrepreneur Trevor Traina and his wife Alexis reportedly spent $35 million on a mansion on San Francisco's "Billionaire's Row," according to local real estate blog Socket Site (via Curbed).

    At that price, it would be the most expensive home ever sold in the city.

    The home, a Tudor in Pacific Heights, last sold in late 2011 for $29.5 million. It has six bedrooms, seven bathrooms, bay views, a chef's kitchen, a catering room, a 3,000 bottle wine cellar, and a heated outdoor spa.

    Traina has founded four tech companies, including, according to CrunchBase.

    These photos are from last time the home was listed but show how stunning the property is.

    The gardens surrounding the home are immaculate.

    And the views of the bay and Golden Gate Bridge are unbeatable.

    Check out how big the property is from above.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    5 Centre Market Place

    Two years ago, George Soros' son bought a townhouse in Little Italy with a domed basketball court on the roof for $11,999,900 million.

    Now he's selling it for $12 million, says Curbed NY.

    Wonder what he'll do with that extra $100...

    The five story townhouse has four bedrooms, a sick roof terrace (there's a basketball court up there, remember), and a garden.

    Jed Garfield, Matthew Pravda, and Christopher Ricchio of Leslie Garfield Real Estate have the listing.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    In an interview with, Bubba Watson revealed that the home he bought in the summer of 2012 in Florida was Tiger Woods old house in Orlando, Fla. Yes, the house where the Woods scandal all began to unfold when he crashed his car into the fire hydrant.

    Watson didn't say how much he paid for the home but Woods bought the house in 2000 for $2.45 million, and it was assessed at $2 million in 2012, according to The Real Deal.

    Watson and his wife remodeled the entire house. Watson told

    "I looked at probably 50 houses before I looked at Tiger's. A lot of the houses there are old, and we ended up changing everything. We probably saved maybe five percent of it. We built it all around Caleb. There are like three playrooms."

    Here's an overhead view of the house:

    tiger woods house

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    JPN026 Miami Edition view04 bedroom copy

    The buyer of a $34 million condo at the Miami Beach Edition was infomercial tycoon Ajit Khubani, according to Jennifer Gould Keil at the New York Post.

    Khubani is the founder and CEO of TeleBrands, the direct response marketing company behind "As Seen On TV" products.

    The South Beach condo, which sold last month, was the most expensive condo ever sold in South Florida, according to Curbed Miami. At $3,800 a square foot, it was nearly three times as expensive as typical luxury real estate in Miami.

    The building is not even complete yet; it's slated to open in 2014. The Ian Schrager-designed residence and hotel will have 26 apartments and 250 hotel rooms.

    These renderings are for a range of residences in the Edition, but they'll give you a good idea of what Miami's new most expensive condo looks like.

    Here's a panorama of the living room, which has floor-to-ceiling windows and unbelievable Atlantic Ocean views.

    Here's another view of the penthouse living room. It flows right into the kitchen.

    The kitchens are stark and modern.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    The Abingdon

    Billionaire hedge funder Steve Cohen, whose SAC Capital has come under scrutiny lately, has been snapping up real estate left and right.

    He recently purchased a $60 million Hamptons home.  He also bought 145 Perry Street in the West Village, the New York Post reported citing property records. 

    He's not only buying. He also put his Upper East Side duplex penthouse on the market for $115 million.

    Now the latest chatter, according to the Post, is that Cohen snapped up an apartment in The Abingdon located on 320 West 12th Street by Abingdon Square Park in the West Village. 

    We called The Abingdon up to confirm this.  They had no comment. 

    Street Easy's website shows that there are nine listing currently in contract at the ten-home apartment building.

    There are two penthouses — East Penthouse and West Penthouse, according to the Abingdon's website.  There are two "mansions"— East Mansion and West Mansion. 

    The lowest priced unit in the building is a three-bedroom 3,263 square-foot apartment for $8.75 million and the most expensive is a three-bedroom 5,602 square-foot penthouse for $25 million.  There is also a 9,600 square-foot West Mansion costs $25 million, according to Street Easy. 

    The most recent sale at The Abingdon was for $13.2 million, the site shows. That was the 5,951 square-foot East Mansion. 

    The Abingdon is a newly converted condominium building. The building was originally a home for working women and later a nursing home with 200 beds for its residents, according to the New York Times. 

    It looks super nice, according to promotional photos posted on Street Easy. We have included those pictures in the slides that follow. 

    Here's a sample of the dining room in an apartment at The Abingdon.

    This looks like an inviting place to relax.

    Here's what a living room in the The Abingdon looks like.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    house 7

    $1 million is a lot of money to spend on a house.

    But what it buys in Wayzata, Minn. is not the same as what it can buy in Miami, Fla.

    From small suburban houses to waterfront mansions, our friends at Zillow shared a variety of million-dollar homes currently for sale around the U.S.

    Bend, Ore.: $1.1 million buys a 3,698-square-foot home on a .93 acre lot with radiant floor heating and mountain views.

    Click here to see the house on Zillow.

    Park City, Utah: $1.1 million will get you a 2,000-square-foot residence, plus a second home divided into two rental units that earn about $45,000 each year.

    Click here to see the house on Zillow.

    Chicago, Ill.: $1.1 million gets a renovated three-bedroom condo on Lake Shore Drive.

    Click here to see the house on Zillow.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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