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Will Smith’s former fresh Village pad listing for $12.5M



Will Smith's former fresh Village pad listing for $12.5M

A West Village townhouse that was once home to film star Will Smith is on the market for $12.5 million.

That’s quite a hit, considering the buyer paid $13.82 million for the stately manse at 13 Leroy St. in 2008. (One of the previous owners was tech entrepreneur Andrew Rasiej, the founder and CEO of non profit Civic Hall; founder of Personal Democracy Forum; former chair of the New York Tech Alliance and founder of the Irving Plaza concert venue.)

Smith reportedly paid $60,000 a month for five months in 2004 while working on a film.

The 25-foot wide residence features four bedrooms and five bathrooms. It also comes with a two car garage, an elevator and a floating staircase.

Other details include a chef’s kitchen with a pantry, and a living/dining room area under a skylight and exposed brick — all with 16-foot ceilings and under-floor radiant heating.

There’s also a Zen garden with a “winterized” koi pond underneath the living room wall that runs into the back garden.

The home comes with COVID-coveted features, like a pandemic-friendly home office and a main bedroom suite with a private roof garden.

Other fancy details include a 3,000-bottle, climate-controlled wine cellar and “state-of-the-art security.”

The listing broker is Adam Modlin of the Modlin Group.

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Real Estate

Montana Log Home Comes With Tie To An Early 1900s Copper King



cornelius kelley copper king montana log home swan lake

There may not be gold under the floorboards, but it’s not a stretch to say this Montana retreat has a bit of copper in its bones.

The log cabin-style home overlooking Bigfork’s Swan Lake was built in the early 1900s as a summer retreat for the four daughters of industrialist Cornelius ‘Con’ Kelley.

During the early to mid-1900s, Kelley was instrumental in the rise of the Butte-based Anaconda Copper Mining Company, working his way up from underground nipper to hold a myriad of executive leadership positions during his decades of service. As president, he grew the company to become a global mining powerhouse as a leading producer of copper, manganese and zinc.

The copper baron also had a hand in developing the Swan Lake area itself, buying up more than 100 acres on the lake’s northern end with fellow industrialist Orvis Evans to build a fishing camp, which later became their exclusive retreat.

Now for sale at $1,999,995, the Swan Lake log home was brought into the present day thanks to a three-year renovation completed last year. Susan Kratt of National Parks Realty holds the exclusive listing.

The project involved a complete remodel of the two-bedroom, two-bathroom home but preserved the three original stone fireplaces, high ceilings, and distinctive log frame. New details lie in the chef’s kitchen, which pairs brilliant cobalt blue-hued cabinetry and a matching island/breakfast booth with white stone countertops.

The living room sits adjacent to the kitchen and takes in unobstructed lake and mountain views through wall-to-wall windows. Two bedrooms and two updated bathrooms fill out the single-story floor plan.

Decking wraps the perimeter of the lodge to extend the home’s footprint outward. Across from the home is a matching garage with built-in cabinetry and epoxy floors.

Nestled between the Mission and Swan Mountain Ranges, the 10-mile-long lake is a popular fishing and resort area dotted with cabins and upscale homes. Residents of Swan Lake have access to the original Kootenai Lodge, which now serves as a community clubhouse. A private dock and pontoon boats. A swimming pool, a gym and yoga rooms are among other amenities on-site.

For outdoor enthusiasts, the area has access to a year-round pedestrian trail that connects Bigfork to Seeley Lake to the south and Swan Lake Nordic System, consisting of some 50 miles of backcountry trails. To the south, the lake abuts the Swan River Wildlife Refuge, a sanctuary home to Sandhill cranes, bald eagles, and various other creatures.

National Parks Realty is an exclusive member of Forbes Global Properties, a consumer marketplace and membership network of elite brokerages selling the world’s most luxurious homes.

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BeautyRx Founder Offers Up Sunny Manhattan Setting For $4 Million



living room in a yorkville apartment  52 East End Avenue, Apartment 35

When it came to decorating their home on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Amy Schultz and her husband, noted dermatologist and BeautyRx founder Dr. Neal Schultz, found inspiration in a familiar setting: picturesque views of the East River.

“Overlooking the East River provides a sense of peace that is very rare for a New York City apartment, and we chose to decorate it using colors similar and related to the water,” Amy Schultz said.

It doesn’t hurt that the Yorkville apartment, now for sale at $3.995 million, is in a prime position for enjoying the sights. Located at 52 East End Avenue, the 35th-floor apartment features wall-to-wall windows that frame spectacular river and skyline views. Two private balconies also take in season-changing sights extending as far as the eyes can see.

“The sunlight floods the apartment from sunrise to sunset, and then, at dusk, the city “light show veins,” continuing an incredible visual experience,” said Dr. Neal Schultz, who has been featured in such publications as Shape, Elle, GQ and Allure and hosts the YouTube channel DermTV. “And yet, it’s a different experience every single day and night.”

The more than 2,600-square-foot apartment has a sunny and cheerful disposition driven by an expressive use of color and texture, according to Dr. Schultz. The centerfold-worthy residence is embellished in gold accents and has light hardwood floors and white walls that keep the atmosphere warm and bright. 

In the living room, expanses of glass converge at a centerpiece fireplace decorated in glittering tile. A gleaming chef’s kitchen sits off the space and has gold hardware and a matching backsplash that pops against the custom white-hued cabinetry. A formal dining room with its own skyline is adjacent to the kitchen.

The apartment has four en-suite bedrooms including an enhanced primary bedroom with a dressing area and a spa-like bathroom. Custom California Closets are prevalent throughout the home, as are Nest thermostats and window shades. Phillip Jeffries wallcoverings provide another textured element.

Located a block from the East River and near Carl Schurz Park, the full-service boutique building provides residents with 24-hour door staff, a concierge and a fitness center. But the real prize may be its proximity to the Upper East Side and Midtown.

“It’s location is great—I never have to gamble on whether or note to take the FDR, or whether there are parking available at Costco,” Dr. Schultz said.

The apartment is listed for sale by Annie Cion Gruenberger and Rebecca Blacker of Warburg Realty, an exclusive member of Forbes Global Properties.

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Construction Brand James Hardie Goes Global, Acts Local In Climate-Challenged Residential Market



Scientists developing new building products at the James Hardie Research Center that will make homes more resilient in the face of intensifying climate challenges.

Mother Nature – a.k.a. necessity – is the mother of housing invention. Or it had better be.

Every wildfire, super-convective storm, seismic spasm, tidal surge, polar vortex bomb cyclone, tornado, months-long drought, inch of coastal erosion – there were 22 events whose destructive toll eclipsed $1 billion and took 262 lives in 2020, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information – now clocks in as a statistical menace, impacting one in three U.S. homes at risk of catastrophic damage.

In the face of such challenge, paradigms rotate. Tried and true ones in construction and real estate formed around cyclical constancy and copious quantities of relatively cheap manpower, trees, land, and access to money. Now, those structural baselines no longer revert to their historical norms – there are just less of them everywhere.

What’s more, President Joe Biden’s new $2 trillion infrastructure framework, now treading an iffy, tricky, bumpy, bruising gantlet through Congress, would quite literally redraw residential property value maps in the U.S. The plan’s master architects and lawmakers up and down the national, regional, state, county, and local policy life-cycle will face tough choices on where – and where not – to invest those dollars to replenish and freshen infrastructural foundations.

It’s no coincidence, then, that Jack Truong, CEO of the $2.8 billion in net sales global fiber cement building products manufacturer James Hardie (ASX: JHX; NYSE: JHX), figures there’s no better moment than now to challenge — head-on — practically cardinal rules of engagement for construction products distributors in a volatile, disrupted global supply and value chain.

The commonly-held, if idiosyncratic, laws of a still largely un-industrialized residential construction community come down to four received-knowledge assertions:

  • Being a true, strategic global residential construction products producer and distributor is practically an oxymoron, given shipping costs, trade and tariff disputes, and supply chain dysfunction;
  • Design aesthetics are sharply local, and almost never port over from market to market, especially when the markets are culturally, climatically, and hemispherically separate;
  • Exterior cladding and finish products bear little impact on interior live-ability features;
  • That consumers view homes as a cross between a quick-turn investment vehicle and a cash dispensing ATM based on escalating valuations.

Thing is, COVID-19’s sundry crises and upheavals broke a lot of rules and turned many notions previously regarded as a reach into urgent necessity. Just over a year ago, in housing — like everywhere else in society’s daisy chain of trillion-dollar value gains and losses— nearly everything seemed instantly to sort into before-COVID and after-COVID. What the world of housing looks, feels, and acts like now is a place with altogether less patience for hidebound stipulations as to what can and can’t be done.

More needs to be done – for people and their homes, for communities, and for a planet whose bounty – while enormously resilient and abundant, is alarmingly finite.

James Hardie’s Truong, just over two years in as CEO, has cause to believe that what loom as structural challenges for most of the construction industry’s household names represent a frontier full of opportunity for his current enterprise.

A business and economic-cycle stress-tested track-record, highlighted by a seven-quarter run of sequential better-than-market growth and a 250% increase in market capitalization to more than $14 billion in early 2021, has earned Truong this “think-global-act-local” case-study play for worldwide strategic cohesion where few have achieved it.

Odds of succeeding owe in large part to James Hardie’s core proprietary fiber cement building block and just how applicable, adaptive, and, in an ever-more-climate challenged built environment, enduring it can be. The fiber-cement “secret sauce” ingredient-brand in James Hardie’s array of exterior siding and trim product lines has the DNA virtue of being made of 85%-locally sourced raw materials, like water, sand, and natural cellulose fibers.

A top-down focused lean-in on lean production in facility-tooling, manufacturing, best practice, and process standardization across the James Hardie global network of factories has begun to net performance improvements, says Truong. “We now ship 70% of our products to customers within a 500-mile radius of our plants, which lowers our operational carbon footprint.”

The other part of James Hardie’s step-change potential, says Truong, springs directly from an exclusive capability to draw on its multi-continent operating footprint – with 18 production facilities as of March 31, 2021 and distribution capacity spread across Asia-Pacific, Europe, and North America – as an enormously rich sounding board to discover consumer needs and wants around the next corner.

“We have spent the better part of the past year-and-a-half intensifying our investment in consumer research – and among architects and designers – so that we can be ahead of the changing curve on homeowners’ wants and needs,” says Truong. “We bring homeowners into our innovation centers, expose them to the way varied materials look and perform, and ask them to respond. Our role as an innovator, though, is not only to listen carefully to what they don’t express to us, but to also study their actions, reactions, and behaviors, so that we can also discover what people find difficult to articulate about what they need.”

Within the broad context of crisis – pandemic, economic, social, and climate – what people may be incapable of saying about what they need is a strategic critical path issue. In Truong’s mind, it’s an opportunity for an enterprise to de-couple from the legacy secular status quo and do more.

Step one for Truong and the James Hardie organization meant busting the myth that to fit in functionally as a go-to producer of its portfolio of exterior solutions in building’s value stream, it needed separate, siloed, one-offs for myriad different operating arenas dispersed across its multi-continent footprint.

To free up trapped opportunity in global operational streamlining – which by cutting down on the number of steps and hand-offs that layer costs on top of costs, Truong took all the right cues from the deep-dive to the company’s center-of-the-universe: consumers. He was not driving for efficiency sheerly to impact consumers’ costs, but, in the end, to aim to become a “passion brand” among consumers.

“By realigning our operations across three global regions and integrating manufacturing, supply chain, sales, marketing, and design into a cohesive platform, we have given ourselves a front row seat to discover all the things that are happening among consumers around the world,” says Truong. “It used to be assumed that design needed to behave strictly on a micro-region to micro-region basis, but we’ve seen first-hand the adoption of California-style modernism in homes adopted whole-cloth in Denmark, while more South Hamptons-style elevations are going gang-busters in Australia. This kind of portability opportunity is new, and we’re on the front lines of helping bring this about.”

An unappreciated dimension of James Hardie’s ability to both listen to and anticipate consumers wants and needs – especially in a climate-risk-filled residential landscape — is in its essential building science product properties. Few of us look at a home’s exterior cladding and finishes and realize how much of the interior livability derives from what goes on outside the walls of the home.

For instance, room air comfort, interior flow, indoor-outdoor living, natural lighting, and, ultimately, a sense of peace-of-mind and well-being spring in large part from how durable, saft, and resilient the exterior materials serve functionally as well as in aesthetic form.

“We view affordability, sustainability, and that sense one wants so deeply in their home – of its beauty – as synergistic as opposed to mutually exclusive,” says Truong. “Our mission is in understanding unmet needs among people, and as people spend more time at home, those unmet needs change.”

Truong’s ahead-of-the-curve focus – particularly at a time more people are spending greater tenure in their homes, and as climate conditions worsen – is on securing both the beauty and the viability of the nation’s second-hand homestock.

“There are 80 million owner-occupied homes in the United States and 55% of them are 40 years old or more – which tallies up to 44 million 40-plus-year-old houses,” says Truong. “When you think about it, just 5% of that total would come to 2.2 million homes, which is double the size of new construction. We believe that many of those homes are built with wood, vinyl and other materials that are not durable enough, or are highly flammable, or are just not going to be fit to survive more adverse natural disaster conditions. We see James Hardie in that light as a solution homeowners can turn to, and we’re working to transform that landscape of opportunity.”

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