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Esquire: DUMBO is man at his best • Brooklyn Paper

Esquire: DUMBO is man at his best

Crash pad: Esquire Magazine has rented DUMBO real-estate titan David Walentas's $23-million Clocktower penthouse for the rest of the year. The apartment is only available because it hasn't sold, despite being on the market for two years.
The Brooklyn Paper / Mike Short

Esquire has finally decided that Brooklyn is man at his best.

This month, the men’s magazine moved into the borough’s priciest property — a $23.5-million triplex penthouse in DUMBO’s Clocktower building — and will host charity events there this fall.

“We really challenge ourselves every year to find a new prime neighborhood and a building that represents the essence of the magazine,” said Jack Essig, a senior vice president at Esquire.

But few others may think the apartment fits its billing as a primo bachelor pad, given that it has remained empty for so long.

The 7,000-square-foot fantasy island features jaw-dropping views of Manhattan from a wraparound terrace, 16- to 50-foot ceilings, natural light pouring in through four 14-foot-high clock faces, and an interior glass elevator.

If it’s the “ultimate bachelor pad,” why hasn’t it sold?

“The simple answer is it’s very extravagant,” said Asher Abehsera of Walentas’s firm Two Trees Management. “You need a very specific person who wants the apartment and for whom money is not an issue.”

Abehsera said that Two Trees has received “many offers” for the trophy abode, but that the company is taking its time to get what it wants.

The property went on the market in 2009 in the throes of the economic downturn with an asking price of $25 million — more than any other asking price in Brooklyn history, including a Brooklyn Heights house once occupied by Truman Capote that’s now going for $14.9 million.

In 2010, Two Trees thought it found a buyer but the deal fell through, paving the way for Esquire’s lease.

Walentas converted the Clocktower building into condos in 1998. The 1914 building was originally a factory for cardboard boxes.

Now it’s Esquire’s ninth annual high-tech showcase, replete with a life-sized hologram embodied by “Pan Am” actress Margot Robbie; a desk with a 3D touch-screen; a 40-foot projection screen of social-media feeds; and eight rooms filled with luxury designs from the likes of Hugo Boss. The magazine will begin hosting parties there on Oct. 13 with a benefit for the Fresh Air Fund.

Chris Havens, the legendary real-estate broker, said that the property’s price signals what kind of buyer Walentas wants to attract to DUMBO.

“You’re not going to make any money betting against David,” he said. “He’d rather wait for his price, wait for the right buyer, and the right tenant to create what he wants to create.”

Still, other local wags were a little surprised that it took Esquire to finally “discover” DUMBO.

“DUMBO has been hot and in since 1999,” said David Kramer — a principal at Hudson Properties, the developer behind the neighborhood’s tallest building, the J Condominium. “It’s only natural that Esquire would focus on it!”

Fresh Air Fund benefit is by invitation only. The rest of you shlubs can donate to this worthy charity at www.freshair.org.

The Brooklyn Paper / Mike Short

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