SELLER: Steve Burke
LOCATION: Philadelphia, PA
SIZE: 8,120 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 6 full and 3 half bathrooms
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Much to the self-serving chagrin of many, we're sure, Your Mama unilaterally decided that, today, rather than dis and discuss the real estate affairs of some over-exposed reality television denizen or a misbehaving super star or international film legend, we'd like to discuss powerful and influential entertainment industry executive Steve Burke. Not only did he quietly acquire a nearly nine million dollar house in Los Angeles in December (2012) but he and his missus, Gretchen, also—as we first learned from real estate yenta Yolanda Yakketyyak—own an elegant, mansion-sized row house in downtown Philadelphia that's currently on the open market with an asking price of $5.2 million.
Mister Burke, formerly the well-compensate COO of the cable t.v. and internet services conglomerate Comcast, became the even better compensated head honcho CEO of NBC Universal in January of 2011 after a much ballyhood merger between the cable and media juggernauts. The veteran executive was launched to the top of the industry gossip pyramid last fall when he and his team botched the unceremonious firing of a long-time NBC Universal executive named Adam Fogelson. Now, before some of y'all get your knickers all up in an indignant twist, Your Mama knows that probably nobody in Peoria, Panama City, or Pawnee gives a shit about the Misters Burke and Fogelson and/or their bad professional blood but, make no mistake, butter beans, in Tinseltown this was a much reported on and tittered about topic at all the best Showbiz power lunch eateries that cater to industry insiders. Still don't care? Well, too bad. Have a gin and tonic and take a nerve pill and just try to enjoy the photos and the floor plans, okay?
Mister Burke, in his early 50s and still handsome in that clean-cut middle-aged former frat guy sort of way, purchased the historic red brick row house near Philadelphia's picturesque Rittenhouse Square in August 2010 for $5.85 million. It was, according to local property gossips, the most ever paid for such a property in downtown Philadelphia.
Current digital marketing materials show the five floor Georgian—there are four floors above ground plus a finished basement, all serviced by a wood-paneled elevator—stretches about 26 feet wide and spans 8,120 square feet with five bedrooms, six full and three half bathrooms, and half a dozen fireplaces.
Floor plans included with online listings show a raised stoop entry opens into a large entry with built-in window bench, wood floors, and an impressive staircase with lots of elaborately turned spindles. The street-facing formal living room has a fireplace and the formal dining room—the Burkes appear to have furnished it as a sitting room in listing photos—has an ornamented barrel vaulted ceiling. A full wall of bookcases fitted with leaded glass doors also opens on the back side in the dining area of the expensively outfitted and cook-friendly eat-in kitchen at the rear of the house.
On the lower level, in addition to a (windowless) fitness room, a three-quarter hall bath, and several impressive storage rooms and a walk-in wine storage space, there's an attached, alley-accessed two-car garage. Think about how desirable an attached two-car garage in the middle of downtown Philadelphia is to a wealthy, city-dwelling Philadelphian who prefers their own Mercedes or Maserati to the SEPTA. Anyways...
A bedroom-sized, bookcase-lined, and all-paneled library plus a larger family room (with fireplace) and a compact half bathroom in the hallway share the roomy row house's second floor with the master suite. The decent-sized but hardly huge master bedroom has a fireplace and direct access to a private deck. There's also a fitted walk-in closet/dressing room and a compartmentalized bathroom equipped with two sinks, a free-standing soaking tub, separate glassed-in steam shower and a wee dry sauna.
Each of the three bedrooms on the third floor have private attached bathrooms. The smallest gets no extra special amenities but the medium sized one has a fireplace and a small dressing area and the largest one, which stretches the full width of the house, not only has a fireplace but a fitted walk-in closet. A fourth family/guest bedroom on the fourth floor is identically sized and laid out as the largest bedroom the third floor. Also on the top floor is another pint-sized powder pooper in the hall and, at the back of the house, a wet-bar equipped media alcove and an adjoining sitting room with built-in book cases and French door access to a city view roof deck.
Mister and Missus Burke, who have five children, may have set a record sale price when they purchased their mid-city row house but, with it's current $5.2 million asking price, the West Coast-bound Burkes stand to loose a good-sized bundle of money, even if they manage to pull in a full price buyer. Indeed, as per Your Mama's bejeweled abacus, Mister and Missus Burke are looking at a bank account brutalizing $650,000 loss, not counting carrying costs, improvement expenses, and real estate fees.
Money, however, doesn't seem to be too much of an issue for Mister and Missus Burke, bless their financial hearts. Even though they're looking at a hefty loss in Philadelphia they still have the wherewithal to keep a huge spread in New York City—more on that later—and spend—as we also first heard from Yolanda Yakettyyak and confirmed with property records—$8,700,000 on a newly built mansion in L.A.'s Brentwood area. Listing details described the white, clapboard-sided house as a "New England Trad" that sits on almost a third of an acre in a discreet but decidedly affluent and—obviously—exceedingly expensive neighborhood and is conveniently located walking distance to The Brentwood Country Mart.
The children will note that listing details (and other reports) show Mister and Missus Burke's row house in Philly measures 8,120 square feet and listing details Your Mama turned up for their new house in Los Angeles shows it, too, has 8,120 square feet. Spooky or just a cute coinky-dink? You decide.
Listing details Your Mama turned up show the Colonial-esque residence has a total of six bedrooms and 6.5, one of each of which is comprise a staff suite in the finished basement area. The airy interior spaces were finished with furniture grade built-ins, quarter and rift sawn oak floors throughout, and feature vaulted wood ceilings and marble bathrooms.
There are, as is expected in a house of this size and price, a foyer that will impress guests, formal living and dining rooms, and a wood-paneled library. Less formal family quarters include an large eat-in kitchen with breakfast area, separate mud room, and an adjoining family room that opens to the backyard. Downstairs, in the finished basement, along with the staff bedroom and bathroom, there's a screening room with wet bar, a wine room, a powder room, and a laundry room with dual washers and dryers, probably handy for a family with five children. The landscaped backyard has large terraces and patios, one with a fire pit, a built-in barbecue set up, and a heated swimming pool and spa.
In New York City, Mister and Missus Burke own a large, terraced apartment in the same Arts and Crafts-y Upper West Side building where Madonna lived in a meandering multi-unit combo before she decamped to her triple wide townhouse on the Upper East Side. The Burke's, higher floor urban aerie is a combination of three apartments that property records and reports from the time show Mister and Missus Burke purchased in separate transaction between early May and late July in 2011.
First they paid $11.75 million for a large and lovely if somewhat quirkily laid out four bedroom and three bathroom apartment with a slender, 65-ish foot long terrace with sweeping views over Central Park to Fifth Avenue. Quick on the heels of that came the $2.95 off-market acquisition of the apartment next door—of unknown size—and shortly after that the space-craving couple coughed up another $1.8 million for a third, contiguous apartment with one bedroom and one bathroom. A few quick tabulations on Your Mama's bejeweled abacus reveals they spent a cool $16,500,000 to purchase the three apartments and we have to assume (without knowledge or proof) they've since spent a small fortune to combine them into one (hopefully cohesive), family-of-seven-sized sprawler. As of today the combo-crib is not listed on the open market but, of course, we don't have any inside intel on the Burke's future plans for the place.
listing photos and floor plan (Philadelphia): Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Fox & Roach
listing photos (Los Angeles): Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices