NEW YORK TIMES – Where A Greedy Wall Street Villain Would Feel Right At Home

Bankers who have spent two decades quoting Gordon Gekko’s sayings — or what they remember Gekko saying — like “Greed is good” and “Lunch is for wimps” hope to lap up more of his insights when the sequel, “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” comes out this fall.

One person trying to cash in on the hype is the owner of a Chelsea penthouse, a 6,250-square-foot duplex with four bedrooms, five baths and 3,500 square feet of outdoor space at 31 West 21st Street. It is where Gekko’s new protégé and soon-to-be son-in-law, played by Shia LaBeouf, lives in the movie. Mr. Gekko’s daughter, played by Carey Mulligan, can be seen sitting in its bedroom in a trailer for the film.

Jonathan Isaacs of Aligned Real Estate said the owner was selling now because he is spending more time in Florida and thinks there is enough excitement about the movie to draw buyers.

While greed may not be as well received as it was in recent years, bankers have enough of a budding interest to spend again on pricey apartments, Mr. Isaacs said — especially homes associated with the male literary equivalent of Scarlett O’Hara or Elizabeth Bennet.

“Most of my clients have already seen the trailer. They know they’re making the sequel to the best-known finance movie of all time,” Mr. Isaacs said. “There will certainly be a very interested group.”

The apartment got the part in the movie through connections: Mr. Isaacs said the owner knows a location manager for the movie. The location manager visited several times, at different times of day and on rainy and sunny days, to make sure it would work.

Celia Costas, the location manager on the 1987 “Wall Street” movie and an executive producer on the sequel, said that Oliver Stone fell in love with the apartment the minute he saw it: its floating staircase, terraces and “a killer, dead-on view of the Empire State Building.” She also said that a loft fit Mr. LaBeouf’s character because “this to us would be where a young, hip up-and-coming master of the universe would want to be.”

Mr. Isaacs said that it took the film crew only 10 days to get their shots. The crew cleared the entire apartment of the owner’s furniture and replaced the kitchen and living room space with more updated furniture. The apartment’s distinctive vertigo-inducing stairs remain in the movie. The crew respected the owner’s requests to preserve his walnut floors by wearing special booties.

The owner, not surprisingly, works in finance. He declined to comment, saying the bank he works for would not allow it; because of populist anger over Wall Street bailouts, financial institutions have been asking their high earners to keep as low a profile as possible. He did not even want to be named.

So with a meticulousness that Gekko would admire, the owner cleared his apartment of nearly all traces of his identity before a reporter and photographer visited. He does not have his name on his buzzer and his brokers did not allow access to his home office. There were no outward signs of his name in his apartment except for a black “RMW” monogram on his bathroom towels.

Still, he left a few clues about himself. The space is filled with a mix of passed-down family heirlooms and signs that a sportsman lives there. Behind the apartment’s tall mahogany doors, the owner has filled his custom closets with painstakingly organized baseball gloves, skis and Dartmouth caps and sweatshirts.

His front closet has more than two dozen brown and black coats. In his walk-in bedroom closet, he has more than two dozen pairs of khaki pants, 10 sweatshirts and rows upon rows of shoes. His linen closet is filled with only white sheets. In his screening room were a copy of the Vanity Fair “Money” issue and five books — all about finance. His movie collection includes “The Hobbit,” “Taxi Driver” and “Lost in Translation.”

The owner bought the apartment in 2003 for $1.4 million. After conducting extensive renovations, including constructing the second floor, he put it up for sale in January 2008 for the Gekkospheric price of $16.5 million, according to the Web site StreetEasy.com. He lowered the price to $14.5 million and then $13.7 million, and is now considering asking $12 million to $14 million.

That would run to roughly $2,000 a square foot, but his brokers compare it to recent sales at neighborhood buildings like the Chelsea Mercantile at 252 Seventh Ave., where a much smaller 11th-floor apartment recently closed for $1,813 per square foot, and the Grand Madison at 225 Fifth Avenue where a penthouse recently closed for $2,833 per square foot.

Ms. Costas said it was much harder to persuade apartment owners to let their homes be used in the 1987 movie because they were wary of being involved with a film about finance involving a director who was at the time less well known. The first movie was filmed in a condo building in the East 50s.

While it was easier to get access to properties for the sequel, Ms. Costas said she was challenged to capture “how the community that was millionaires and is now gazillionaires” lives.

Clearly, much about Manhattan properties has changed since the first “Wall Street,” in which a real estate agent — said to be modeled on Linda Stein, who was killed by her personal assistant in 2007 — told Charlie Sheen’s character: “Everybody tells you they hate the Upper East Side. They wanna live on the West Side. But believe me, when it’s resale time, the East Side moves all the time. I mean what do you got on the West Side? Sean and Madonna?”

View original article at nytimes.com