Very blond, well-boned, expensively jeaned buyers have been pouring into East Village apartments for so long that it’s hard to find new excuses to complain about the area’s über-gentrification. But then again, it’s hard to remember when someone as upsettingly young as Lily Donaldson, the 21-year-old Vogue cover girl, spent anything like $2.2 million on a neighborhood apartment, especially one that happens to be as far east as Avenue B.
Her new two-bedroom place on Tompkins Square Park around East Eighth Street could be the most expensive co-op ever sold on the block, according to listing broker Danny Davis.
She has Brazilian cherry wood floors (“that glow with the setting sun,” according to his listing), two bathrooms with original pedestal sinks and cast iron tubs, a 40-foot-long living room with six windows facing three directions, and, of course, a dressing room off one of the two bedrooms.
On the downside, the building is massively nondescript and un-frilled, plus the apartment needs work. “I’d put money into it,” Mr. Davis said, “I’d bet she will, too.”
Nevertheless, it sold for well above its $1.895 million asking price from this December. “I had six offers on the place,” said the broker, though he wouldn’t discuss the deal itself. The model’s rivals included a husband and wife from Goldman Sachs, a bachelor who owns a PR firm, and a woman with a trust fund.
But Ms. Donaldson was “the highest bidder and very qualified. The board liked her and approval was unanimous, which is always a concern when you’re dealing with a young model,” Mr. Davis said. “You’re never sure how a board would see her.”
The last sale in the building, according to city records, was a $650,000 deal just one floor down. That was in October 2004; nowadays, Avenue B has a lot of models and PR executives willing to pay more. Those new buyers make things nice for brokers like Mr. Davis, who wears slicked-back hair and a big smile in his Web site’s photograph: He left for Mexico after the apartment was listed in December, held just one open house when he came back, and accepted Ms. Donaldson’s offer a week later.
After closing, Mr. Davis went south again for a 40th birthday celebration in Jamaica: “Twenty-one people, all friends, no kids,” he said. “Awesome place—yeah, it was great.”
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