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A-Rod Stays In NYC? What It Means To Real Estate

Monday, 23 Jul 2007 | 11:18 AM ET
New York Yankees Alex Rodriguez
New York Yankees Alex Rodriguez

I’ll admit it right here in print: I don’t really care if A-Rodstays in New York or follows the old Brooklyn Dodgers and heads for warmer climes. It’s not that I don’t get baseball, I do. One of the main reasons my husband married me was because I could name the full starting line-up, with positions, of the 1977 Yanks. My first real crush was #49, Louisiana Lighting, Ron Guidry.I’m a New Yorker, and I married a Bostonian, so baseball is always there.

I know New York is all a twitter today with news that A-Rod is considering buying a 9-acre $25 million Greenwich mansion.So, that means he’s staying? Like I said, I don’t care what that means to baseball; but I do care about what it means to real estate.

Coincidentally,I did a piece on this mansion a few months back.The sprawling stone estate is the brainchild of real estate developer and Antares Investment Partners co-founder Joseph Beninati. He calls it “couture-ready” real estate. That’s because the house has been standing there, unfinished, for many months now. When I say “unfinished,” you’d never know it from the outside. The inside is just framing. A lot of framing.

“It gives the buyer an opportunity to truly personalize the estate and make it something that’s unique to them as opposed to buying a resale, buying a spec home or buying a piece of dirt and building a home for 48 months,” Beninati told me in an interview several months ago (see video below).

Rich & Richer: Couture Mansions
An ultra high-end developer in Greenwich, Conn., has started to build couture mansions, letting homebuyers get exactly what they want. Diana Olick, CNBC real estate reporter, has the story.

I have to tell you, I was skeptical about this premise to begin with. I mean, $25 million, and there are literally no walls?? It would take $5 million more to finish it, at least. The whole idea is that you get this tabula rasa home, without having to actually deal with the building process, i.e. the permitting (which in Greenwich is a nightmare), the construction, the zoning, etc.

Now I’ve been inside this mansion, and it’s really quite something. Space, space, space everywhere, and a basement that is not to be believed. It has the expected swimming pool, but also a full sunken basketball court, which I’m guessing A-Rod would re-do and make some kind of infield. Actually, if you scrap the pool, I’m not sure you couldn’t get a full sized regulation field in there!

The land is beautiful, plenty of room for little A-Rods to run around, and Beninati’s own estate neighbors the property, so if, you know, there’s a leak or something in the middle of the night, A could just call B and B could get C out there in a snap (C being the contractor).

I’ve also toured the master bathroom, which is fit for a king, not that it has a tub or a toilet in it (don’t forget the whole couture-ready thing). “We didn’t want our customer to go to any hotel in the world and find a master bathroom that was more lavish than the one we’re building here,” Beninati said. Now A-Rod travels a lot, so he’d have a lot of hotels to compare.

So enough about the bathroom. I know what it means to baseball if he buys the place, but I’m more interested in what it means to real estate. Essentially it equates a big name with “couture-ready” real estate, a PR agents dream! I spoke with Nick Ragone, said PR agent for the estate, and while he couldn’t confirm the deal, yet, he seemed itching to give me anything on it. Hmmm, did the Post have the bit about dining at Beninati’s restaurant? Oh, shoot, they did. What about the agent’s name? Yup, they had that too.

So I have nothing unique to report on the potential deal, only that, from a real estate perspective, if it does happen, this is a home run scored for ultra deluxe properties, majestic structures built to the hilt, vast expanses of stone and glass--with absolutely nothing inside.

Questions? Comments? RealtyCheck@cnbc.com

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  • Diana Olick serves as CNBC's real estate correspondent as well as the editor of the Realty Check section on CNBC.com.

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