Eye On Real Estate
By Lore Croghan
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brad Pitt has a thing for Arts and Crafts-style architecture. Vicki Negron has a house he's sure to love – in Bay Ridge.
It's a magic manse made of natural rocks and boulders which adoring fans have nicknamed the Gingerbread House, a landmark with a lawn as large as a pocket park.
“I don't have him on my speed-dial, but I'm trying to get in touch with him,” Negron, an associate real estate broker at Corcoran, told Eye on Real Estate.
She and Corcoran colleague Carrie Chiang are marketing the Gingerbread House, AKA 8220 Narrows Ave., which owners Jerry and Diane Fishman recently put back up for sale at $10.5 million. Three other firms previously had the listing in sales efforts that started in 2009, at asking prices as high as $12 million.
Steven Spielberg is enamored of the Arts and Crafts movement, so he's on Negron's radar screen, too. The Gingerbread House is one of New York City's few homes in this style. The enchanting mansion looks like a very big cottage in a fairy tale, one populated by very rich fairy folk.
Negron, who is based in Corcoran's Montague Street office in Brooklyn Heights, already has a couple of celebs who are interested in seeing the historic 5,746-square-foot house, which sits on a 20,000-square-foot lot.
Her marketing angle is catchy: The property that's the pride of Bay Ridge has the makings of a Hollywood-style compound, she said.
“If you have an entourage, you can accommodate them,” she said.
There could be staff quarters just off the kitchen of the 1917-vintage house designed by architect James Sarsfield Kennedy. The former chauffeur's quarters in the basement, which is office space now, could be turned into a screening room.
The Fishmans had a plan done for an outdoor pool, and the city Landmarks Preservation Commission has okayed it.
There's room on the grounds for a guest house – or pool house – which could win the commission's approval if it's designed appropriately to go with the Arts and Crafts-style house.
Also, the hedges on the property could be grown out to give the new homeowner a greater degree of privacy without running afoul of the landmarks agency.
If Jay-Z made the Gingerbread House his own, it would be a cinch for him to get to Barclays Center for Nets games. Have the brokers spoken to him about the property?
“We're working on it,” Negron said.
Her roster of clients includes “global celebs of a film and theater ilk,” she said. “I'm trying to will them to take the drive south.
“It's got to be a celebrity who thinks out of the box. They can't be a celebrity who wants to live at Central Park West,” she said.
Her colleague Chiang's clients include Barbra Streisand and P. Diddy, according to published sources.
Chiang, whose office is on Madison Avenue, has a lineup of listings that includes an Upper East Side penthouse with a $60 million asking price.
There are other types of prospective buyers besides celebs – Brooklyn Heights parents with kids at Poly Prep have expressed interest in the Gingerbread House. (The school is located in Bay Ridge.)
Foreign buyers are marketing targets, as well as Wall Streeters who could get to their Lower Manhattan offices from Bay Ridge faster than from their Upper East Side residences.
So are nonprofits or “philanthropic interests,” she said.
The buyer could be a monied Manhattan or Brooklyn resident who is “fed up with towers being erected around them and wants to feel they're at their country estate all the time,” she said.
“The rich want something no one else has, or something better than what all their friends have,” Negron said. “This is that house. This is a storybook house. This is a fairy-tale house.”