The $100K Rental Home: Beyoncé Swam Here

Donna Dotan


When 214 Lafayette Street in SoHo recently went on the rental market, it raised many eyebrows. Not just because it’s an unparalleled five-story mansion in a city notoriously short on living space or because it has a private indoor swimming pool. It's the rent: $100,000 per month.

Botox-free foreheads everywhere should prepare to give those eyebrows another workout, because 214 Lafayette Street is already rented for at least two months this summer.

Donna Dotan


Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 3 full, 1 partial
Square footage: 13,000

In addition to the pool, the property has a nearly 1,000-square-foot terrace with a Zen garden. The guest room on the ground floor features a porthole window to the middle of the pool, lending it the feelof an underwater room, like a submarine room, according to Steve Halpern, a broker for the apartment with Citi Habitats. A dumbwaiter goes up to the terrace and the home’s main living room. Outside the master suite, a master sitting area overlooks the main space.

Donna Dotan


The building was one of New York’s original Con Edison power stations, Halpern said. Back then, it was “turbines floor to ceiling--and they still have the original barrel vaulted ceilings [pictured at right].”

In the 1950s and ‘60s, it was a factory and later agallery space. The current owners are Marcus Nispel, director of remakes such as “Friday the 13th” and “Conan the Barbarian,” and his family, who purchased the building in 1996 from the gallery. It took 10 to 12 years to renovate, including taking out one of the floors, so the main living room is now double height, Halpern said.

The space has also made cameos in pop culture. The video for Beyoncé's2008 song “Halo” was shot here, including a segment where she’s swimming in the pool in a white gown. John Mayer also shot a video there.

Donna Dotan


The mansion is already rented for June and July, and possibly for August. Who is the demographic for a $100K rental home? Halpern notes he has shown the space to a 24-year-old billionaire and to some celebrities.

Why would renters consider paying this much? Gary Malin, president of Citi Habitats, gives the oft triple-cited reason: Location, location, location. Other aspects that might tempt the wealthy to spend $100K each month, he says, are its rare combination of amenities, like the indoor pool and private roof deck. He adds that it requires no board approval and offers the utmost in privacy, since it is a single-family dwelling.

“Two Fourteen Lafayette appeals to celebrities, wealthy international businesspeople and others with disposable income that plan to be in New York for a relatively short amount of time,” said Malin. “Most likely, they are already homeowners somewhere else.”

What is the appeal of such a high-end rental? “In some circumstances, it makes a lot of sense,” Malin said. “Those who chose to rent do not have to sacrifice anything in order to live the lifestyle of their dreams.”

“For those who only plan to stay in a property for a few years, renting is definitely the way to go. It’s a more affordable option. If you plan to be in N.Y.C. for two or three years, why buy a $20 million property and worry about the maintenance — plus the prospect of having to sell the home in a down real estate market? Renting is, for the most part, short term and worry free. It’s like dating your home, instead of marrying it.”