by Amanda Fung, Crains New York
Date Publish: Thursday August 11, 2011

A dining room at 24 Thompson St. is part of a rental offering for $37,500 a month.

A five-story, 5,000-square-foot SoHo townhouse owned by 7'3” basketball star aptly known as “Big Z” is on the rental market again for $37,500 a month. 
Earlier this year, the five-bedroom, four-bathroom townhouse, located at 24 Thompson St., was rented out for two months for a total of $85,000, according to Josh Fields of Spire Group, who is the exclusive broker for the rental. The property is owned by Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who currently plays for the Miami Heat, and his wife, Jennifer. The couple purchased the townhouse in 2006 for $7 million, according to 
The owners would consider selling the place for at least $14 million, Mr. Fields said, but they have decided to rent for now because “they didn't feel like they can get what its worth.” In the meantime, if they visit the city they would have a place to stay, he said. 
“It is an amazing property with lots of detail,” he said, adding that he has shown the townhouse to a number of celebrities, but he declined to identify them. One exception is Anne Sinclair, wife of former International Monetary Fund chairman and French politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Ms. Sinclair struck a deal to rent the townhouse for $198,000 for a six-month stay with her husband in the wake of his arrest in June on charges of sexual assault. According to Mr. Fields, that deal fell apart at the last minute when the Frency couple decided to increase their budget to $50,000 a month and ended up renting a 7,500-square-foot townhouse in TriBeCa. 
According to published reports, rock star Courtney Love and comedian Sasha Baron Cohen also looked at Big Z's townhouse.
“It's perfect for short-term stay for a rock star or actor, who is working on a major film,” Mr. Fields said.
The townhouse at 24 Thompson St. was originally built and designed 10 years ago by Robert and Courtney Novogratz, a well-known husband and wife design team who had their own Bravo show, 9 By Design, and now star in HGTV's Home by Novogratz. The property includes many antiques such as windows from France, as well as things salvaged from across the country, Mr. Fields said. 
The 8-month-old Spire Group currently has 50 brokers and plans to double in size by the end of the year, according to its founder, Kevin Kurland. It's one of many new firms offering brokers 100% commission, but Mr. Kurland said the fact that Spire does not charge transaction fees is what sets his firm apart. Instead, Spire charges its brokers a monthly $495 fee.


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