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Powerhouse Discovery Inc. president and CEO David Zaslav, consistently one of the highest paid CEOs of a public company ever since he took the company’s reins in 2007, announced Discovery’s tightly brokered blockbuster takeover of WarnerMedia earlier this week. And the media landscape was shooketh.
The surprise mega-merger was negotiated in a Greenwich Village townhouse owned by Zaslav, whose 2020 compensation package totaled $37.7 million, a staggering sum by any standard but well below the $129.4 million in compensation he received in 2018 and even less than the stratospheric $156.1 million he hoovered up back in 2014. To be clearer, Zaslav’s base salary has held steady for more than a decade at $3 million per year, with the bulk of his annual compensation granted in vesting stock awards, option awards and non-equity incentives. Still, it would take a median-salary Discovery worker who earns about $80,000 a year nearly 500 years to earn what Zaslav did in 2020.
Like most spectacularly compensated media titans, Zaslav and his wife Pamela maintain a jaw-dropping property portfolio. In addition to a huge high-floor duplex in one of the finer buildings along New York’s Central Park West, there’s an oceanfront getaway in the Hamptons and, as of early 2020, a fabled estate in Beverly Hills.
However, it seems the low-key and much-in-the-news corporate exec seeks to thin his holdings with the sale of a 19th-century Greek Revival townhouse on an especially prime block in New York’s Greenwich Village that has come up for grabs at a dollop under $17.9 million. It’s quite possible this is the aforementioned townhouse, though listings held by Chris Poore and Eyal Dagan, both at Brown Harris Stevens, indicate the historic home is currently a construction zone in the midst of a comprehensive overhaul.
The 22-foot-wide, five-floor townhouse, purchased through a corporate entity not quite five years ago for $11.8 million…in cash, is billed as an “amazing opportunity to complete your dream home,” and marketing materials indicate plans are already approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the Department of Buildings, with the entire home structurally reinforced and 4.5 feet dug out of the basement level to make it usable as living space.
Though a buyer could step in and make changes, floor plans show the planned overhaul will expand the house to about 6,750 square feet, including the finished basement, and contain five bedrooms and five full bathrooms plus three powder rooms. An elevator will conveniently service the four aboveground floors, as well as the basement, while a south-facing top-floor terrace overlooks the 40-foot deep garden, as well as those of the surrounding townhouses.
High quality renderings show the handsome red brick exterior will be refreshed and restored, while all-new interior fittings will marry the vintage spirit of the home with modern-day creature comforts and top-flight materials.
The open-plan parlor floor living spaces, which include a street-facing living room with floor-to-ceiling windows and a wood-burning fireplace, form one great 50-plus-foot sweep from the front to the back of the house, where a wall of glass in the chef-accommodating kitchen opens to a slender balcony with stairs down to the garden.
Floor plans for the planned and approved renovation show the smart positioning of the three powder rooms and that each of the bedrooms has direct access to a private bath. In addition to the kitchen, there’s a spacious kitchenette off the garden-level family room plus two itty-bitty wet bars, one in the third-floor primary suite and another next to the fireplace in a skylight-topped lounge on the uppermost fourth floor.
As was widely reported at the time, back in 2010 the Zaslavs paid late-night talk show veteran Conan O’Brien $25 million for a seven-bedroom and 8.5-bath duplex at The Majestic, a twin-towered Art Deco masterpiece along Central Park West with panoramic city views over Central Park.
About 2.5 years later, in late 2012, the Zaslavs forked over $24.65 million to ad man and restaurateur Jerry Della Femina for an oceanfront estate superbly positioned off one of the most coveted and expensive lanes in all of East Hampton, New York, where some of his well-heeled neighbors include Carl Icahn, Martha Stewart and David Geffen. At the time of the purchase the nearly 1.7-acre spread was anchored by a 7,000-square-foot European-style villa that has since been expanded and transformed into a shingle-clad Dutch Gambrel mansion set high in the dunes with a swimming pool and carriage house.
The New York-based Zaslavs set their deep-pocketed real estate sights due west about a year ago when they ponied up $16 million for Woodlands, a Beverly Hills estate once owned by Greta Garbo but more famously known as the longtime home of late legendary producer Bob Evans.
Behind gates and enveloped in trees, the slightly shy of 1.5 acre spread includes a modestly sized Hollywood Regency style residence designed by architect John Elgin Woolf, a small guest house or caretaker’s apartment, an egg-shaped swimming pool and a tennis court. The Zaslavs, who have applied to the City of Beverly Hills to designate the property as a landmark listed on the Beverly Hills Register of Historic Places, are reported to have brought in former White House decorator Michael S. Smith to restore and refresh the residence and to rebuild the also Woolf-designed pool house screening room that burned down in 2003.
This story first appeared on Dirt.com, which features additional photos.
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Jeriana San Juan