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Florida Home Heads to Auction, Angels Included

April 17th, 2015 admin

  • Location:

    Stuart, FL

  • Price: $20,000,000

With its Sistine Chapel-inspired frescoes, an ornate carved staircase banister, and floors inlaid with intricate designs, the home in Stuart, Fla., is a distinctive 10-bedroom retreat—Sarah Tilton

A Gallery of Rogues’ Homes

April 17th, 2015 admin

The study inside Kenneth and Linda Lay’s Houston condo, which Kelly Joy and his wife, Becky, purchased in 2013 for about $5.5 million.

Another view of the study. The Joys made few changes to the décor, feeling that the Lays had ‘built a spectacular place that we fell in love with,’ Mr. Joy said.

The dining room. The Lays bought the almost 13,000-square-foot unit in the mid-1990s, when prices ranged from $247 and $340 a square foot for raw space, one broker said.

The living room. On Valentine’s Day 2013, Mr. Joy, a former energy executive, surprised his wife with news he was buying the place.

The living room and kitchen. Ms. Joy was ‘a bit overwhelmed by it,’ her husband said. ’It was way more than anything she thought she might live in.’

A hallway leading to the different living areas. Mr. Joy says that the fact that their home used to be the Lays’ has drawn little attention.

A guest bedroom.

Becky and Kelly Joy on the terrace of their Houston home.

The 2000s saw a tidal wave of corporate scandals in which some of the world’s top business titans moved out of their palatial homes, ritzy ski lodges and vast ranches and checked into prison cells.

Enron, Tyco, WorldCom, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities—in these cases, executives bilked investors of billions through accounting fraud, conspiracy and insider trading. And part of the proceeds went into real estate.

What became of their mansions? We reached out to case lawyers, county tax offices, real-estate agents, new owners and the fallen executives themselves to ask what became of the properties caught up in the scandals.

Scott Sullivan purchased a waterfront lot in Boca Raton, Fla., for $2.5 million in 1998 and was building a house there. After WorldCom fell, it was sold for $9 million.
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WORLDCOM

An $11 billion accounting fraud felled the company in 2002. Scott Sullivan, the former chief financial officer, pleaded guilty to securities fraud and was sentenced in 2005. That same year he forfeited his palatial mansion under construction in Boca Raton, Fla.

“It was a mistake to ever build that place,” said Mr. Sullivan when contacted last month. “It was beautiful, but it was a mistake to ever get that far off track and build something like that.”

Mr. Sullivan’s 4-acre, Boca Raton waterfront property, purchased in 1998 for $2.5 million, was a motivator for Sean Coffey, an attorney who represented investors pursuing claims of securities fraud tied to WorldCom’s “accounting shenanigans,” he said.


The lawyer taped a picture of it to his office window. “We put it up and it fired up the team,” he said.“I thought it was so big you could see it from space,” said Mr. Coffey, who now oversees complex litigation for Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel in New York City.

When Mr. Sullivan was indicted in 2002, Mark Nestler, co-owner of Nestler Poletto Sotheby’s International Realty in Boca Raton, cold-called him and got the listing. It came to market in January 2003 for $22.5 million. The next year, Mr. Sullivan switched to Premier Estate Properties, which sold the property for $9 million in 2005, the company said. WorldCom investors received about $5 million from the sale, with most of the rest going toward construction liens on the property, Mr. Coffey said.

The buyer was Daniel Katz, a Milwaukee-based property developer, according to public records. The house, completed in 2006, is over 18,000 square feet and has 10 bedrooms, tennis courts, a pool, and boat dock. (Mr. Katz did not respond to requests for an interview.)

Mr. Sullivan served four years in federal prison and was released in 2009. Today, he lives in a Boca Raton house he bought for $170,000 25 years ago, according to public records. Mr. Sullivan, who declined to provide details about his life after prison other than to say that “life is good,” said he doesn’t miss the place at all. “It was a blessing for that property to go to someone else because we’re not caught up in that material world,” he said.

As part of his plea agreement, Mr. Sullivan testified against Bernard Ebbers, WorldCom’s former chief executive, who is currently serving a 25-year term for fraud and conspiracy. In 2005, in a deal with shareholders, Mr. Ebbers agreed to give up assets in order to settle investor claims. His former company took possession of other assets and sold them in order to recover some of the $400 million it had lent him.

Among Mr. Ebbers’s many properties was the Douglas Lake Ranch, a 500,000-acre property in British Columbia he bought in 1998 for $60 million, according to sources familiar with the deal. WorldCom, which had changed its name to MCI, announced in 2004 that it was selling the ranch for $68.5 million to billionaire real-estate and sports magnate Stanley Kroenke, whose company owns the NFL’s St. Louis Rams and the NBA’s Denver Nuggets.

“We would expect that that property would trade for 30% to 35% more today, really as a result for demand from international buyers for large scale opportunities like this,” said Kirk Kuester, executive managing director of Colliers International, which listed the property both in the sale to Mr. Ebbers and to Mr. Kroenke.

A representative for Mr. Kroenke said he doesn’t comment on private business deals. Through an official at the Oakdale, La., prison where he is being held, Mr. Ebbers declined to comment.

Dennis Kozlowski's former Nantucket home.
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TYCO

In 2005, former CEO L. Dennis Kozlowski and CFO Mark Swartz were found guilty of looting $150 million from the security-systems company. In addition to prison terms, the executives were ordered to pay restitution and fines. Mr. Kozlowski was ordered to pay fines of $70 million and to repay Tyco $97 million.

The most high-profile property in Mr. Kozlowski’s real-estate portfolio was a duplex apartment in Manhattan at 950 Fifth Ave., which Tyco had purchased for his use in 2001 for $16.8 million, and then paid $14 million to renovate and furnish, according to a report by the Securities and Exchange Commission. It was here that a $6,000 shower curtain was discovered, quickly becoming a symbol of corporate greed. Tyco sold the apartment in late 2004 for $20.2 million, according to public records. The buyer was widely reported to be hedge-fund manager James Dinan, and his foundation lists the same address and apartment number in IRS filings. Mr. Dinan didn’t return calls seeking comment.

Mr. Kozlowski’s personal real-estate holdings included an 8,500-square-foot oceanfront home on Nantucket, which was sold off in 2010 for $13.5 million.

Before tearing the house down, the contractor for the new owners, who aren’t named in public records, contacted Habitat for Humanity and told them to take anything they wanted for the charity’s use. Over 2½ weeks, about 12 Habitat volunteers carted away six Sub-Zero refrigerators, an eight-burner Thermador range, claw-foot tubs and granite countertops.

Habitat for Humanity auctioned off the items and raised over $30,000, said board president Lou Gennaro. The funds were used to build affordable housing on the island.

Mr. Kozlowski was also forced to sell an 8,600-square-foot, eight-bedroom house in Bachelor Gulch, a ski community in Beaver Creek, Colo. The home, purchased in 2000 for $8.5 million, included features like radiant heating around the fireplace “to take the chill off the stone,” said Darwin McCutcheon, broker associate at Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate in Bachelor Gulch.

In late 2006, Trevor Rees-Jones, founder and chief executive of Chief Oil & Gas in Dallas, paid $10 million for the house, according to public records. He also paid $750,000 for all the furnishings, which were colorful, “mountain-classic style” and “really classy and well done,” said Mr. McCutcheon, who represented Mr. Rees-Jones. Mr. Rees-Jones did not return calls seeking comment.

Mr. Kozlowski, who served six years in state prison and on work release, was formally paroled last year and now lives in New York City, said Alan Lewis, his attorney. Through Mr. Lewis, Mr. Kozlowski declined to comment.

ENRON

In 2001, the company collapsed in what was then the largest corporate bankruptcy in U.S. history, which led to federal criminal charges against numerous former executives. Former Chairman Kenneth Lay died in 2006, just a few weeks after being convicted of conspiracy and fraud.

Texas, where Enron was based, allows homeowners to shield their primary residences from creditors under homestead-exemption laws. That meant that Mr. Lay and his wife, Linda, were able to hold on to their almost 13,000-square-foot apartment in a Houston condo building.

The Lays bought the unit in the mid-1990s, when units in the Huntington were going for between $247 and $340 a square foot for raw space, said Martha Turner of Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty in Houston, who managed sales in the building from 1995 to 1998. The couple then hired an architect who designed a “beautiful, opulent” place, said Ms. Turner. “I thought it was a gorgeous home, but it was not to everyone’s taste,” she added. “It was very heavy, with beams, carvings, stone, antique pediments and reclaimed wood.”

In 2010, Mrs. Lay’s son, real-estate agent Beau Herrold, listed the unit for $11.9 million. On Valentine’s Day in 2013, Kelly Joy, a former energy executive who now invests in a wide range of interests, surprised his wife, Becky, with the news that he was buying the place. He paid roughly $5.5 million in cash, he said.

His wife was “a bit overwhelmed by it,” said Mr. Joy. “It was way more than anything she thought she might live in.” The couple made few changes to the décor, feeling that the Lays had “built a spectacular place that we fell in love with.” As for the property’s provenance, Mr. Joy said “in Houston, the energy from most of the Enron scandal has dissipated” and that the fact that their home used to be the Lays’ has drawn little attention.

In today’s market, the property would likely sell for about $7 million, said Ms. Turner.

Mr. Herrold and Ms. Lay, through her attorney, did not respond to requests for an interview.

Bernard and Ruth Madoffs’ South Florida home, which was sold in 2013 for $9.1 million.
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BERNARD L. MADOFF INVESTMENT SECURITIES LLC

The investment firm under Bernard Madoff engineered a massive Ponzi scheme that bilked investors out of billions. Mr. Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison and ordered to pay $170 billion in restitution.

When Mr. Madoff was first exposed in late 2008, all eyes turned to his 4,000-square-foot apartment on Manhattan’s East 64th Street, where the disgraced financier spent 24-hours a day under house arrest before the unit was seized by the government.

The apartment, where the Madoffs had lived since the 1980s, sold in 2010 to Alfred Kahn, a toy-industry executive and his wife, Patsy, for $8 million. It sold again in August for $14.5 million to Lawrence Benenson, a real-estate executive, according to public records. Mr. Benenson did not respond to calls seeking comment.

Mr. Madoff and his wife, Ruth, owned several other properties, all of which have been sold to raise funds for victims of the fraud. Their home in Montauk, N.Y., at the far tip of Long Island, sold in 2009 for $9.4 million, according to public records. The Wall Street Journal reported that the buyer was Steven Roth, chairman of Vornado Realty Trust, one of the country’s largest owners of retail and office space.

The Madoffs also owned a home in Palm Beach, Fla., purchased in 1994 for $3.8 million. It was sold to the Texas-based Bray Children’s Trust for $5.65 million in 2010, according to public records. MP Design and Architecture in Palm Beach was hired by the family to perform a major renovation, said president Michael Perry.

In addition to upgrading the wiring, windows and doors, MP Design’s main job was lightening and brightening the home, which the Madoffs had designed in an oddly dark manner, Mr. Perry said.

“It almost seemed like it was done to be a hideaway,” said Mr. Perry. The Bray Children’s Trust sold the property in 2013 for $9.1 million to a Garden City, N.Y.-based company identified in public records as Algonquin Partners LLC.

An attorney for Ms. Madoff did not return calls seeking comment. Through an official at the federal prison where he is being held, Mr. Madoff declined to comment.

Write to Katy McLaughlin at katy.mclaughlin@wsj.com

An Apple Manager’s Headquarters for High Jinks

April 17th, 2015 admin

Lane Foard, a creative director at Apple, has worked as a stuntman, an actor and an offbeat greeting-card company owner. His wife, Nicole Rimpel, now a physician, was a graphic designer and a photographer. Neither was willing to settle for a conventional home.

Smack in the middle of the main living space of their house is a wood rope swing that hangs 25 feet down from an open-riser steel stairway. It reaches, at top speed, from the dining room at the front end of the house, through the kitchen and living room, to the sliding glass doors at the back of the house that open to the patio and yard.

“We wanted something fun. This isn’t a cucumber-sandwich kind of family,” said Mr. Foard, 45, rocking on the swing on a Sunday morning with his 6-year-old son Jake perched on his shoulders. Pointing out a big divot in the wall where the swing had struck more than once, Ms. Rimpel, 47, added: “We don’t take ourselves too seriously.”

The three-year, roughly $1.5 million renovation took what was a two-bedroom, one-bathroom, 2,500-square-foot, one story house and turned it into a three-story, 4,200-square-foot light-filled home with four bedrooms, 3½ bathrooms and a newly installed yard and patio. The exterior fits into the quirky Cole Valley neighborhood of mostly older Victorian and Edwardian homes, but it is decidedly modern: a rectangle made from fiber cement board and charcoal-painted cedar siding with casement windows that have projecting wood frames.

The length of the outdoor area was determined by the regulation distance from the pitcher’s mound to home plate.
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The enormous, white-framed, pivoting front door creates a dramatic entrance. Stuck on the roof is Mr. Foard’s office, a pod-shaped structure that looks like it landed from outer space. Its door is custom-made to resemble the type found at a vintage dentist’s office, with gold leaf and black lettering that reads “L.W. Foard & Sons: Jackassery, Tomfoolery, High Jinks and General Nonsense.” Stairs outside lead to a roof garden with views of Mount Sutro forest and the hills of Twin Peaks.

The length of the outdoor area was determined by the regulation distance from the pitcher’s mound to home plate—a crucial consideration because Mr. Foard and his sons, who also include Cooper, 14, and Riley, 11, are baseball fanatics. A loft runs between the children’s rooms, allowing them to visit each other without going out the door. To inspire his children to be mavericks, Mr. Foard defaced a 130-year-old oil portrait of a man by adding a mustache and glasses and hung it in the powder room.


A huge portion of the square footage in the house is given to empty space: An open, three-story middle core feels almost like an atrium, ringed with the stairway. Because Mr. Foard and Ms. Rimpel wanted a house where the family would be thrown together, the dining room, kitchen, living room and bedrooms all open up to the center area. Mr. Foard joked that the design was inspired by prisons, where guards need to keep an eye on the inmates, but it also works for son Cooper. “I can shout and figure out where people are. I don’t have to walk around the house looking for them. I’m lazy like that,” he said.

So much communal space is very unusual, said the architects, Tai Ikegami and Jonathan Feldman of San Francisco firm Feldman Architecture. “They always picked the most exciting design we drew—things we’d throw in as a crazy idea. It got to the point where we wouldn’t show them anything unless we were really sure we wanted to do it,” he said.

Mr. Foard grew up in Roanoke, Va., and after graduation from Hampden-Sydney College went into advertising at an agency in San Francisco. That is where he met Ms. Rimpel, who is from Boston, went to Dartmouth and spent a few years working as a photographer and graphic designer in Aspen before going to medical school at the University of California, San Francisco.

After five years of copywriting, Mr. Foard started a business selling unusual greeting cards and then wrote books of postcards, like “New Parent Apology Cards.” Intended for recipients like waitresses, neighbors or people on the plane, they offer sayings like “With extreme awkwardness and no small amount of embarrassment, we would like to apologize for destroying your restaurant.”

Lane Foard, left, a creative director at Apple, has worked as a stuntman, an actor and an offbeat greeting card company owner. His wife Nicole Rimpel, right, now a physician, was a graphic designer and a photographer. Neither was willing to settle for a conventional home. Also shown are Cooper, 14, Riley, 11, Jake, 6, and their dog Ozzie.

Lane Foard, left, a creative director at Apple, has worked as a stuntman, an actor and an offbeat greeting card company owner. His wife Nicole Rimpel, right, now a physician, was a graphic designer and a photographer. Neither was willing to settle for a conventional home. Also shown are Cooper, 14, Riley, 11, Jake, 6, and their dog Ozzie.
Jason Henry for The Wall Street Journal

The living room of the house is in back, with sliding glass doors that lead out to the patio and back yard.

The kitchen sits between the living room and dining room and is open to the 25 foot ceiling that’s ringed by an open-riser steel stairway.

The dining room is in the front of the house, with casement windows that open onto the street. This is where the family eats and the kids do homework.

The three-year, roughly $1.5 million renovation took what was a two-bedroom, one-bathroom, 2,500-square-foot, one story house and turned it into a three-story, 4,200-square-foot light-filled home with four bedrooms, 3½ bathrooms and a newly installed yard and patio. Shown here is the dining room.

Since Mr. Foard and Ms. Rimpel wanted a house where the family would be thrown together, the dining room, kitchen, living room and bedrooms all open up to the center area. Shown here is the living room.

On one side of the living room is an Eames lounge and a tower the family made out of Legos.

The door to Mr. Foard’s office is custom-made to resemble the type found at a vintage dentist’s office, with gold leaf and black lettering that reads “L.W. Foard & Sons: Jackassery, Tomfoolery, High Jinks and General Nonsense.”

Mr. Foard currently commutes to Cupertino for his job as creative director of Apple TV. This is his office at home.

Riley and Jake share a room with bunk beds and a loft that connects to their brother Cooper’s room.

A huge portion of the square footage in the house is given to empty space: An open, three-story middle core feels almost like an atrium, ringed with the stairway.

At the top of Ms. Rimpel’s wish list for her new house was a roof garden.

A view from the roof garden down to the deck, yard and basketball court in back. The length of the outdoor area was determined by the regulation distance from the pitcher’s mound to home plate—a crucial consideration since Mr. Foard and his sons are baseball fanatics.

The views out the back of the house are of Mount Sutro forest and the hills of Twin Peaks.

The exterior of the house fits into the quirky Cole Valley neighborhood of mostly older Victorian and Edwardian homes, but it is decidedly modern: a rectangle made from fiber cement board and charcoal-painted cedar siding with casement windows that have projecting wood frames.

The couple lived in Portland Ore., for two years, where Mr. Foard worked at Wieden+Kennedy on the Nike
NKE


0.07
%




and Starbucks accounts, but missed San Francisco and moved back in 2006, buying their house that year for $1.375 million. It was small and rundown, with a disaster of a backyard, said Ms. Rimpel. But the lot was deep and sunny, they saw the house’s potential and they loved the neighborhood.

After they moved back in 2007, Mr. Foard worked as a stuntman and actor in a movie called “Pig Hunt.” Later that year a friend recruited him to Apple, where he started on the iPhone and is now focusing on Apple TV, with responsibility for advertising and designs for marketing. Ms. Rimpel works at Stanford Medical Center as a hospitalist.

On weekday mornings, Mr. Foard leaves at 6:45 a.m. for the 40 minute drive to their eldest son’s high school in Mountain View. Even though he and Ms. Rimpel both work in the South Bay, it was a “decidedly less interesting” place to live than Cole Valley, he said.

The door to Lane Foard's office is custom-made to resemble the type found at a vintage dentist’s office.
ENLARGE

In 2011, Ms. Rimpel saw Mr. Feldman’s work online and invited him over to discuss a renovation. Mr. Feldman detailed how hard it is to get permitting and how expensive it is to build in the city. Ms. Rimpel switched gears, spending a couple thousand dollars to design and build a 10-foot-by-10 foot fort in the backyard—a precursor of the house to come, with a loft, skylights and a rope swing inside.

The couple said building the fort taught them how to work together. Mr. Foard is both creative and focused on details, and has an Apple-like philosophy that functionality and design are inseparable. For Ms. Rimpel, that could be exhausting. “There’s a point when you have to stop with the detail and just make a decision,” she said. As a result, Mr. Foard supplied ideas and Ms. Rimpel executed them, along with her own.

Four years later, the couple called Mr. Feldman and said they were ready. Neighbors had blocked the construction of a modern house next door, so Ms. Rimpel made an effort to reassure everyone who would be impacted by the construction that their design would fit into the neighborhood. Permitting took a year, but it would have been a longer process had there been any opposition, said Mr. Feldman.

While the San Francisco house was under way, the couple commissioned Feldman Architects to build a guesthouse in the backyard of the Martha’s Vineyard property where Ms. Rimpel’s parents spend the summer. Like the fort (since replaced by a basketball hoop) and the Cole Valley house, the new guesthouse has a modern feel, a loft and lots of empty space. It, too, took effort to placate the neighbors—Ms. Rimpel’s parents. There is also a wooden rope swing, but it is outside. “We felt more restricted with the design,” said Mr. Foard.

Write to Nancy Keates at nancy.keates@wsj.com

A Bahamas ‘Dream House’ With Palm Beach Touches

April 17th, 2015 admin

  • Location:

    undefined, undefined

  • Price: $13,800,000

Inspired by Palm Beach homes of the 1920s and ‘30s, the 13,600-square-foot Bahamas residence, up for auction, has a massive loggia and 150 feet of beach frontage—Monika Anderson

A Bahamas ‘Dream House’ With Palm Beach Touches

April 16th, 2015 admin

  • Location:

    undefined, undefined

  • Price: $13,800,000

Inspired by Palm Beach homes of the 1920s and ‘30s, the 13,600-square-foot Bahamas residence, up for auction, has a massive loggia and 150 feet of beach frontage—Monika Anderson

A Bahamas ‘Dream House’ With Palm Beach Touches

April 16th, 2015 admin

  • Location:

    undefined, undefined

  • Price: $13,800,000

Inspired by Palm Beach homes of the 1920s and ‘30s, the 13,600-square-foot Bahamas residence, up for auction, has a massive loggia and 150 feet of beach frontage—Monika Anderson

A Bahamas ‘Dream House’ With Palm Beach Touches

April 16th, 2015 admin

  • Location:

    undefined, undefined

  • Price: $13,800,000

Inspired by Palm Beach homes of the 1920s and ‘30s, the 13,600-square-foot Bahamas residence, up for auction, has a massive loggia and 150 feet of beach frontage—Monika Anderson

A Bahamas ‘Dream House’ With Palm Beach Touches

April 16th, 2015 admin

  • Location:

    undefined, undefined

  • Price: $13,800,000

Inspired by Palm Beach homes of the 1920s and ‘30s, the 13,600-square-foot Bahamas residence, up for auction, has a massive loggia and 150 feet of beach frontage—Monika Anderson

Chita Rivera on the Leap That Launched Her Dance Career

April 16th, 2015 admin

Chita Rivera, on right, in the 1969 film ‘Sweet Charity,’ with Paula Kelly, left, and Shirley MacLaine.
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Actress, singer and dancer Chita Rivera, 82, is the winner of two Tony Awards and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and Kennedy Center Honor. She is starring on Broadway in “The Visit.” She spoke with Marc Myers.

Fate never played a big role in my career. I was always prepared for my breaks. I wasn’t tall, like many of the dancers I auditioned with, so I had to offer something different to stand out.

Fortunately, my legs were strong and fast. A pear tree in the backyard of my family’s two-story brick home on Flagler Street in Washington, D.C., is partly responsible. I loved to climb it, and I’d spend long stretches up there. I lived on a bike and skates, and played in the street all the time.

My parents had five children, and each of us was five years apart. I was in the middle. Carmen was the oldest, then Julio, me, Armando and Lola. It worked out perfectly. There wasn’t much competition with such wide age gaps. But we were wild. If someone did something wrong, we all had to line up and get spanked.

Chita Rivera’s childhood home on Flagler Street in Washington, D.C.
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My older brother Julio slept on a cot in the basement and had his version of a movie house down there. He would show scary films like “Frankenstein” to neighborhood kids for a five-cent admission. I have no idea where he got the reels. My job was to dance before the movie and pull the curtains open to expose the screen.

I usually bored the kids and got booed. During the movie, Julio sat Armando in a chair with a Frankenstein mask on. When the lights came on at the end, the kids saw him and screamed. The room cleared out fast.


My father, Julio, was a big-band clarinetist and saxophonist. He was very handsome and formal, and always ate dinner in a shirt and tie. In 1940, when I was 7, he died of cancer. My mother, Katherine, had been a housewife, but after Daddy died she went to work as a clerk at the Pentagon to support us. I don’t remember wanting for anything, and I have no idea how my mother pulled that off. Fortunately, my grandmother lived in the house and looked after us while my mother was at work.

I was such a tomboy as a kid. You couldn’t keep me still. By 11, I was constantly jumping over the sofa and chairs until one day I didn’t make it and broke the coffee table. “That’s it,” my mother said, “you’re going to dance school. Someone has to control your energy.” Deep down, I think my mother wanted to be a dancer. She was so special. She was elegant and had a beautiful body and shapely legs, and she was very graceful.

My mother enrolled me at the Doris Jones School of Dance in Washington, an integrated ballet school. I loved it. Miss Jones was big on discipline and she was tough. I worked hard. I was there for nearly five years.

When I was 15, some people from George Balanchine’s School of American Ballet in New York came to watch our class. Two of us were chosen to audition for scholarships. Miss Jones accompanied us to New York. When we arrived, there were all these blonde, long-limbed girls waiting. I was scared. I said to myself, “Well this is new. I’m different. I don’t look like that.” Miss Jones sensed me tense up. She looked me in the eye and said, “You have nothing to worry about. Just stay in your lane.” Meaning, do what I do best and not worry.

Chita Rivera
ENLARGE

When it was my turn to audition, I entered the room and there was a sweet older man sitting there. I auditioned using a ballet bar on the wall. About halfway through, a blister on my ankle started to bleed through my white tights. The older man put my leg up on his lap, and he cut the material around the blister with a scissors and put a bandage on it. Then I finished my audition. When I walked outside, Miss Jones came over and said the man was Mr. Balanchine. After we returned to Washington, I learned I had won a full scholarship.

The turning point in my career came in 1951, when I was 18. My friend Helen at the Balanchine school told me she was going to audition for the national touring company of “Call Me Madam,” starring Elaine Stritch. She urged me to come along and audition, too. I didn’t want to go at first, but Helen insisted. When we arrived, I wasn’t scared, so I took a position in the front line. It was Jerome Robbins’s choreography—which meant ballet and character dance. I was free to express myself, which came naturally to me.

After the audition, I got the part but Helen didn’t. I felt terrible. I don’t recall us getting a soda afterward, and our lives drifted apart.

Today, I live near Nyack, N.Y., with my daughter, Lisa Mordente, who is a dancer, actor, singer and choreographer. The house has four bedrooms and is open on all sides, letting in lots of sun and light. It gives me a chance to unwind—but just a little.

Philadelphia Penthouse Is Listing for a Record $17.6 Million

April 16th, 2015 admin

A rendering of the unit’s outdoor space.
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Last month, real estate blogs, Philadelphia magazine and other publications reported on a rumor that music’s power couple Beyoncé and Jay Z had purchased a $17.6 million penthouse at 500 Walnut, a condominium project under construction in Philadelphia.

Tom Scannapieco, the project’s developer, said he doesn’t know where the rumor—which he said is untrue—came from. “We never even had a conversation with” the stars, he said. But “if I can find out, I’m going to hire the person,” he added with a laugh—as the tale generated free publicity for the project, which broke ground last month.

The penthouse is still available. If it sells for its asking price, it will be the most expensive residential unit ever to sell in Philadelphia, according to Mr. Scannapieco. Representatives for Beyoncé and Jay Z didn’t respond to requests for comment. Philadelphia magazine and other publications reported that the developer denied the rumors.


Located on the top two floors of the planned 26-story building, the 500 Walnut penthouse will measure approximately 9,000 square feet, Mr. Scannapieco said.

Current plans call for the duplex to have four bedrooms, four full baths and three half baths, plus a library, media room and two living rooms, though Mr. Scannapieco said he would work with a buyer to customize the layout. A two-story foyer will have floor-to-ceiling glass windows with views of the Delaware River, he said. An interior glass staircase will lead from the bedroom level to the main living level, then up to the rooftop. There will also be a private interior elevator to access any of the three levels, he said.

A unique feature will be a roughly 2,500-square-foot private rooftop terrace with a fireplace. The outdoor space is also slated to have a hot tub and a covered full kitchen along with a trellis and multiple water features, said Paula Celletti-Baron, who is handling sales in the building.

The project has a total of 38 units, and about seven are in contract, Ms. Celletti-Baron said. Amenities in the building include a pool and a garage with a robotic parking system which retrieves cars in about 90 seconds. To access their vehicles, residents swipe a key fob, and an automatic guided vehicle maneuvers their car through the garage. The building will also have a Tesla and driver on hand to ferry residents around the city. Construction is expected to be completed in the fall of 2017, Mr. Scannapieco said.

The high-end residential real-estate market in Philadelphia saw values drop around 20% to 50% during the recession, but has now recovered, according to Philadelphia real estate agent Laurie Phillips, of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach, Realtors, who is not involved in the 500 Walnut listing. She said luxury homes are now priced above their boom-time highs, and many properties have been selling within 10 days or less. “There’s been very little inventory” at the high end, she said.