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January 2012

Jan. 31, 2012 - another day, another parking lot to be developed / Varick Street Tribeca edition


more View Diligence due [UPDATED]
The guy at Tribeca Citizen had a nice catch yesterday in response to a reader’s jackhammer question: building permits for the parking lot on Varick Street opposite the First Precinct. The Department of Buildings permit (yes, Erik: transparency is a wonderful thing!) is for a 9-story new building, 119 feet high, that will cover 80% of the lot, built out to the sidewalk on Varick, Beach and N. Moore Streets (if I am reading this right) with a 30 foot “rear yard equivalent”. While this structure is not as large as the “old renderings” TriCi found, it is large enough to deprive some neighboring lofts of views [Feb 1: Curbed has the link to new renderings, looking like a full-lot 5-story base.]

a prophecy fulfilled (not cinema worthy)
If it seems like only a week ago that I was (again) beating the drum about the need for View Diligence in the due diligence process for buying Manhattan lofts, that is because it was only a week ago I was (again) beating the drum about the need for View Diligence in the due diligence process for buying Manhattan lofts. I won’t repeat what I said in my January 24, banging the View Diligence drum (again), for Glass Farmhouse loft views from 448 West 37 Street, except to quote the punch STRIKE closing line:

Methinks I will be back to this topic again. And again. And ….


I just did not think the return visit would be so soon.

This parking lot has been a pretty prominent Tribeca feature since, well, forever (or, at least as long as Tribeca has been “Tribeca”; it was there when I bought in the American thread Building in 1981). Property Shark has no information about former uses of this lot, but it does show the earliest permits to erect that illuminated billboard facing the exiting Holland Tunnel traffic as being from 1995.

not much lost, but every bit hurts
I see only a limited number of residential loft buildings that will be impacted by a 9-story building covering 80% of this parking lot. The main impact will be the loss of the Ghostbusters views (the handsome FDNY at the SE corner of N. Moore and Varick) and a sliver of light and other views from the south windows in the 7-story 19 Beach Street, itself a 2002 new development.

It was just a month ago that I enthused about the views from this building, in my December 21, tunnel living has its benefits, as 19 Beach Street loft sells up 22% over 2005, about views from the then-recently sold 5th floor loft:

I had never thought before in these terms, but seeing the corner views south and west from this loft immediately spurred the thoght that these are the best views of any of the spillway lofts. The long wall of windows facing west present a view anchored by the First Precinct on the cater-corner and the extremely handsome back of The Ice House, a prospect marred only by the tacky tower of 388 Greenwich, which has long since lost its giant bright red umbrella. The huge sky to the northwest is wonderful, but not my favorite angle from here.

The south view down Varick is wide and long, with a buffet-table of varying and classic Tribeca buildings including the Ghostbusters firehouse, the 5-story Walker’s building, perhaps the most handsome building in Tribeca at 140 Franklin, and the Woolworth Building; even the squat mass of the Western Union Building has its charms.


Once the parking lot is gone, that south view down Varick will be less wide, with the new condo taking up the 2 east panels in the living room south windows in the featured photo and all the south views from the 3 bedrooms. It appears as though they will also lose the Woolworth Building views, alas.

The loss of views at the 5-story 9 N. Moore Street will be more severe: you can see in that Property Shark photo of the parking lot that there are as many as 4 west windows on some of these floors that will lose all west light. The last building sale here was the 2nd floor that sold in post-Peak 2008 for $1,096/ft with 3 windows that will be blocked (how close will a 30 foot “rear yard equivalent” be?). The floor plan is best viewed from the PruDE site, showing a Long-and-Narrow footprint that soon will have windows only front and back (and that second bedroom becoming “interior”).

Across the street at the Atalanta, 25 N. Moore Street the lower floors will lose their east views. See, for example, the footprint of #7C on the northeast corner of the building. The master bedroom and one living room wall will soon face a new, taller condo (see the [currently] wide open prospect from the master bedroom in pic #5 of the listing photos).

Again: if you are interested in a loft that looks over a parking lot or any development site, The Google is your friend. And few views are forever. Be careful out there.

© Sandy Mattingly 2012

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Jan. 30, 2012 - 105 Hudson Street loft sold at $1,241/ft with great light but needing TLC is news only to Old Grey Lady


the Real Estate Industrial Complex, Media Division, strikes (late)
The fact that the November 1 sale of the “2,800 sq ft” Manhattan loft #10S at 105 Hudson Street (the Powell Building) was featured in Residential Sales Around The Region in this weekend’s New York Times real estate section gives me the excuse to talk about this interesting sale long after it was proper news. It also gives me the excuse to succumb to the temptation to wonder aloud (again!) if the Old Grey Lady understands that the role that this weekly feature plays in the Manhattan residential real estate information stream is more as novelty item than as news. It may well have been different back in the day, but since the inter-tubes became popular (and since Curbed and StreetEasy began to scratch the real estate jones of fanboys and fangirls) people actually interested in residential sales around the region learn about these sales in close to real time, not 90 days later.

People who check in on my Master List of Manhattan Lofts Sold Since November 2008 would have seen this Tribeca sale the weekend after the deed was filed on November 21. Manhattan Loft Guy readers who do not track that list would have seen loft #10S mentioned in a list of 7 “other large-ish loft sales since August” around the dollar-per-foot range of the Manhattan loft I hit in my December 16, price increase for 222 Park Avenue South loft gets the job done.

With so many lofts and so little time, I often regret not having done a blog post about a specific loft sale. The New York Times earns my thanks for having prompted me to revisit this sale, which (as noted). This loft has many virtues (windows and light among them), but was marketed as needing work (“[r]eady to move in or make your own style with some Tender Loving Care”). Yet it closed at the top of this group of lofts listed in that December 16 post (with that subject loft added, and the list re-stated with corrected $/ft values):

  • 149 Franklin St #5S $2.7mm $1,174/ft
  • 38 Warren St #3B (Keystone Bldg) $2.565mm $1,186/ft
  • 155 Franklin St #2S $2.995mm $1,228/ft
  • 140 Thompson St #1B (West Broadway Arches) $2.95mm $1,229/ft
  • 222 Park Avenue South #11E $1,229/ft
  • 7 Wooster St #2B $2.05mm $1,233/ft
  • 245 Seventh Av #3B $2.8mm $1,240/ft
  • 105 Hudson St #10S (Powell Building) $3.475mm $1,241/ft
a strong price, nonetheless
In that December 16 post, I concluded that “[p]ending more information, I consider #11E [at 222 PAS] to have been a curiously strong sale.” Loft #10S at Hudson Street is also a strong sale, given its condition. Beyond the TLC hint, note that the broker babble is all about the skeleton instead of the finishes (excerpted; I apologize for shouting):

SPRAWLING INCREDIBLY BRIGHT loft has a magnificent Living Room that is 22 x 44, Dining room and an expansive open Kitchen. ... 4 Exposures with full city views, magnificent light & sunsets of the Hudson through the 20 , yes 20 windows. ...Prewar details throughout with wide plank hardwood floors, mahogany windows and a remnant interior fire stairwell of times gone by along with thick ceilings providing privacy. This loft has huge/spacious closets throughout and large washer dryer room.


When these sellers bought the loft in 1995 (for $1.025mm, per our data-base) the condition was described as “excellent” (not “mint”, curiously). My guess from the very modest babbling that it is in substantially the same condition now, as then (no pics or floor plan survive in our data-base) is confirmed by the babble when it was offered into a different market in 2009. That was a brief effort at the wrong prices, featuring this kind of (use your prize fight voice) Let’s Get Ready To Reno language... (again, I am not the one yelling):

CREATE YOUR DREAM …. an original condition, vintage loft …. never before available Loft


So somebody paid $1,241/ft for a loft with great bones that needs a facelift, or at least a dermabrasion.

The Times notes the loft was on the market 19 weeks, which is information probably provided by one of the firms involved in the sale. In reality, the sale was pretty quick, with a contract 7 weeks after coming to market (June 20 to August 3). Quick and (for the seller) painless, as the clearing price was a tiny fraction off the asking price ($20,000, or 0.058%; just enough so that the buyers felt there was a “negotiation”).

is a footprint among the great bones?
Indulge me in considering the shape of the space as among the skeletal items encompassed within the notion of “great bones”, as the not-square-but-squat floor plan provides volume and flexibility. The front space is 22’6” x 44’6” with 3 exposures and 9 windows (including the only east window, completing the [claimed] 4 exposures). Most of those windows are large, ending near the 10 foot ceilings, so there will be a palpable sense of ‘volume’ in this room.

One key element of flexibility in this footprint is that plumbing stacks are in the middle of the space. Users who do not 4 bedrooms can open up the main room even larger; others can find a spot for a 5the bedroom, if necessary. There are 3 full baths, 2 large walk-n closets and a large pantry. That is a lot of utility for only “2,800 sq ft”. The main exposure from the main room is west, hence the “magnificent light & sunsets of [over?] the Hudson”.

A terrific footprint!

is above-Nobu prime Tribeca, or near-prime?
I suggested on Friday that my single choice as the price Tribeca micro-nabe would front on Duane Park (January 27, butter and egg loft at 176 Duane Street sells at $1,889/ft) but that I would entertain an argument for near the Powell Building. Thoughts?

© Sandy Mattingly 2012
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Jan. 29, 2012 - Sunday diversion / 20 days to America's game, boy division


you’ve been counting down, right?
...So you know that the first day for pitchers and catchers to report to any major league baseball spring training site is February 18, February 19 for the Yankees, and February 21 for a hoping-to-not-finish-last team nearby.

But that’s just a lead-in to another baseball topic for a sunny Sunday heading into Oscars season.

Finally saw Moneyball yesterday, more in a getting ready for the Oscars mood than in preparation for Spring Training. Enjoyed it. A lot. As did the wife (certainly not a baseball fan, though she does have a certain regard for the leading man).

I remembered that my man Posnanski did a piece about the film when it opened. Always a good idea to read JoePo about anything.

About the thrilling Rincon trade, I think Pos is wrong. I think that serious baseball fans who know that Rincon did not turn out to be God’s gift will appreciate the scene exactly for that reason, in the context that Beane was playing percentages. His ‘advantage’ was that he was making better educated guesses than the other guys, by looking at (e.g.) strikeout-to-walk-ratios instead of whether the guy had a good-looking girlfriend. Sometimes they don’t work out, those percentages, those guesses.

(That was why the focus on Billy’s aborted playing career was so central to the film: a guess that didn’t work out. Loved that part. But note that over the longer term, the aborted playing career ‘worked out’ into a successful GM career.)

Same thing with Carlos Pena and Scott Hatteberg. Jonah Hill does the quick math to estimate that their chances of winning were about the same with each. But Hatteberg was the central player in the movie, around whom the undervalued story was hung. I bet Pena was not undervalued, and was probably not a high OBP guy (though he was probably a higher OBS guy); I wonder …. Point is: Beane was trying to do something specific (at least, Pitt-as-Beane was) and Hatteberg fit while Pena did not. Plus, that was a very funny way to get the manager to play Hatteberg, wasn’t it?

Out of habit, I went back to the New York Times review this morning, to see how it played when it was fresh on the screen. Nice review, one that captured the fun (“takes all this seemingly dry, dusty, inside-baseball stuff and turns it into the kind of all-too-rare pleasurable Hollywood diversion that gives you a contact high”). But as a baseball nerd (and owner of 6 or 8 softcover Bill James Baseball Abstracts), I am pretty sure that James did not “call[] his new approach sabermetrics”; at some point he was instrumental in the founding / propagation of the Society for American Baseball Research, and that SABR became shorthanded into sabermetrics. But I digress...

(Holy Co Inky Dink, Batman! I just noticed that yesterday was the third annual SABR Day. Great day to see Moneyball, indeed!)

© Sandy Mattingly 2012

 

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Jan. 28, 2012 - weekend diversion / world's game, distaff edition


that was a tough match with Costa Rica, wasn’t it?
Even if you did not stay up to get the late soccer result from Vancouver last night, by now you know that the United States Women’s National Team beat Costa Rica 3-0 (that would be “three nil” to people with a certain accent, or affect), assuring themselves a slot in the 12-team tournament at the London Olympics. A loss, and they would have been out of the Olympics.

Here is Grant Wahl’s take from Sports Illustrated (recap: Carli Lloyd is dangerous, US is deep). You get a sense of how well Costa Rica played to have held the US to a single goal for much of the match (let alone, how much of an upset it would have been if two of those hot chances for CR had found the net) in this recap of the prior US match against Mexico, here (recap: beating Mexico 4-0 brought the US goals differential to 31-0 in 3 group matches).

Last night’s game was surprisingly hard to find (or am I just naive?), perhaps fitting for a match that was surprisingly hard to win. Sitting in front of a computer last night I could not find a direct lead on in-game reports on NYTimes.com or even from the Soccer page at SportsIllustrated.com. Best I could find was a comment thread (of people who were watching the game somewhere) on espn.com (thank you @JimCaple, whose story is here!).

You’d think it would be a front page link on any major sports website. You’d be wrong.

Whatever. US plays Canada Sunday night in the qualifying tournament final, with both teams having already secured the spots for the Olympics. Then, on to London for the Summer Olympics, when it will be time to Release the Wambach!

© Sandy Mattingly 2012

 

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Jan. 27, 2012 - butter and egg loft at 176 Duane Street sells at $1,889/ft


where is your “prime Tribeca”?
You could argue about where the most prime Tribeca micro-nabe is, but ti should not take too long. I can see a case for N. Moore Street or Franklin Street, both between Varick and Hudson, and much less of a case for the top (northwest) corner. But my money for the small area having the most Tribeca-ness is Duane Street around the park, west of Hudson. Ignore, if you can, the Independence Plaza towers at the west end of the triangle, then all the buildings facing the park have some character, with some sidewalk awnings and loading docks, and the interesting angles that make for interesting streetscapes and views. I may be unduly influenced by the fact that there still were butter and egg businesses along this block when I moved to Tribeca in 1981, but that is my personal favorite block in all of Tribeca.

Which is a long way to introduce the sale of the “2,336 sq ft” Manhattan loft on the 2nd floor of 176 Duane Street, which was marketed as though this is the most prime spot in Tribeca and this loft is the quintessence of Tribeca. I cannot disagree. I will sometimes yield to the temptation to snark about broker babble, but not this time:

a special property ... that captures the true spirit and essence of its neighborhood. ...an industrial 1868 building that once housed a butter and egg company, is the quintessential Tribeca floor-thru loft, one that exudes all the romance and charm of old New York. ...12-foot high exposed wood beam ceilings, authentic brick walls, and a long window seat made from one of the building's original wooden beams embody the spirit and soul of Tribeca, while enormous 10-foot high double-glazed windows afford you stunning treetop views of romantic Duane Park and the surrounding historic district. ...subtle details such as a hidden wood and steel fire door ….


The loft is a classic Long-and-Narrow, wide enough to have rear bedrooms side-by-side, with no side windows, and plumbing on both sides. In addition to the two bedrooms, there is a den and a home office in the long middle of the loft. At 37’6” x 22’10”, the front open space is larger than some new cookie-cutter 2-bedroom condos.

I regret not having a Full Screen option for the listing photos, to better appreciate the 10 foot windows, beamed ceilings, etc, etc, etc. (When will Halstead decide to keep sold listings on the public website??) This is a lovely loft, with a large terrace facing the rear of the Reade Street buildings in back.

‘quintessential’ loft in ‘prime’ Tribeca leads to premium pricing
This quality and this location do not come cheap: the loft cleared at $4,412,500 on November 14. (Yes, this is not new news, except that it was not public until the deed record was filed on January 19; note that the listing designation is “#2”, for being on the second floor, but the deed is for Condo unit “#1”.) Ignoring the terrace, that is $1,889/ft for a no-frills-no-amenities 5-unit condo, if you are scoring at home. (Roughly figuring the 360 sq ft terrace as worth 50% of the interior on a $/ft basis under this rubric from The Miller, the new calculation is a still-impressive $1,754/ft.)

In the Master List of Manhattan Lofts Sold Since November 2008, I count only 7 Manhattan lofts that have sold at a higher price on a dollar-per-foot basis than the adjusted $1,754/ft since June 1, 2011 (without adjusting these for outdoor space), out of 368 loft sales on that sheet:

$2,142/ft

141 Fifth Av #38


$2,064/ft

#PH-W at 144 West 18 Street (the Chainworks Building)

the loft with 4 terraces that I hit in my August 29, 2011, 4 terraces = 1 bidding war for penthouse loft at 144 West 18 Street


$2,043/ft

225 Fifth Av #10M (Grand Madison)


$2,030/ft

#4E at 173 MacDougal Street (MacDougal Lofts)

the loft that survived a Napoleon complex that I just hit on January 9, 173 MacDougal Street loft zooms through market, into stratosphere


$1,940/ft

#20A at 15 East 26 Street (Fifteen Madison Square North)

the Bob Vila loft that I hit in my December 5, 2011, old house guy takes a million dollar bath in new loft on Madison Square


$1,780/ft

225 Fifth Av #PH-Y (Grand Madison)


$1,759/ft

99 Jane St #6J


That puts the value of quintessence in prime Tribeca in some impressive context, doesn’t it?

fun fact
Comping is hard in this building, as this sale of the second floor is the first resale in this small (5-unit) building in which the sponsor sales were from 1998 into January 2000. I am pretty sure they were sold as white boxes, but the 2011 seller at $4,412,500 bought the second floor on November 17, 1998 for $994,000, or $425/ft. Say she put $500,000 into building it out so beautifully … so quintessentially. Nice appreciation! (Nearly 300%.)

© Sandy Mattingly 2012
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Jan. 26, 2012 - Post scoop: celebs close on raw loft at 427 Washington Street at $869/ft


Post flub: price
I can’t find a public record behind the lead celebrity real estate item in today’s Gimme Shelter feature in the New York Post on ACRIS, StreetEasy or The Shark, but according to our data-base Jennifer Gould Keil got the price wrong. The Manhattan loft in question is the full 2nd floor at 427 Washington Street (Tribeca Tower). It is clear from the listing (“opportunity to have a true Tribeca raw space as your canvas”; the pix are better, and full screen, on the Corcoran site) that they won’t be moving in for quite a while (and many dollars).

First, the scoop:

Power couple Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber’s extensive downtown home hunt has ended with the purchase of a full-floor loft on Washington Street in TriBeCa.

The acting duo have closed on the 4,315-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bathroom co-op for $3.95 million. The dramatic loft, which has 14-foot ceilings, oversized windows, river views and keyed elevator access, was listed for $4.5 million.

Next, the flub: Keil has the price at $3.95mm but our data-base (remember: it was a Corcoran listing) says $3.75mm.

There is a lot of interesting angles to this sale, quite apart from the actors involved: a 2007 comp, the character of the space, that this looks like original sponsor (“unsold”) shares, the deep discount as negotiated, and prior attempts to sell. Where to begin?

the raw canvas is concrete
The “4,315 sq ft” space is nearly square, and yet to be combined from half-floor lofts. Taking down that wall between the units (floor plan is on the Corcoran site) is the simplest demolition project, though the few other walls and spare kitchens and baths are not much more difficult to dismantle. The open square has 3 exposures, 13 windows, a river view down Vestry Street, and but 6 columns as the only load-bearing elements. With big windows and 14 foot ceilings, there is a great deal of ‘volume’.

Nothing quite says “raw loft” more than concrete floors. Unless it is interior curtains separating sleep areas, as in the 3rd pic.

unsold shares are ancient
I wish I knew the story about this building. This bit of (sadly) shouted broker babble (“NO BOARD APPROVAL”) is likely not the draw that it would be in a fully finished and much less expensive loft and was likely not an incentive for our Power Couple. But it implies that the coop shares associated with these lofts have never been sold in the long history of the coop (since 1979). They must have been held by the developer directly, or by someone who was granted Unsold Shares status in the coop prospectus.

You don’t see many Unsold Share sales in Tribeca any more.

long campaigns, finally concluded
The seller picked exactly the wrong time to try to sell before, coming out 6 days after Lehman filed for bankruptcy. Remember those chilly days?

Sept 21, 2008 new to market $4.5mm
April 28, 2009   $4mm
Jan 17, 2010 hiatus  
June 1, 2011 new to market $4.5mm
Dec 27 contract  
Jan 11, 2012* sold $3.75mm

(*per our data-base)

On the one hand, that is a six event time-line over 5 different years. On the other hand, there were only 2 different asking prices. On the third hand, even in the thawed market of mid to late 2009, they could not find a buyer off the $4mm ask. On yet another hand (sheesh!) they had to take a 17% discount to (finally!) make a deal.

But this part is really funny (if you laugh about the Manhattan residential real estate market): they probably did about as well as they could in getting $3.75mm for a “4,315 sq ft” gut renovation project on this corner of northwest Tribeca.

a near Peak value
The entire 6th floor in the building was bought in March 2007 by a single buyer, a full year before The Peak of the overall Manhattan residential real estate market. The loft #6E side was billed as a “true artist’s loft” with “great bones”, and sold for $1.8mm. The loft #6W side was a bit more polished (perhaps they salvaged some of the “master bathroom of glass and stone” or the “kitchen with professional appliances”), going for $2mm.

The ceiling height is not as dramatic on the 6th floor (either 11 or 12 feet, or something in between the two claims) but boast “intense sunlight from the South and the West”. (If the 2nd floor can claim “protected river views”, the 6th floor should have that same angle, or more.)

Same footprints on both floors, with same need to gut and re-build. The 6th floor cleared at $3.8mm in March 2007; the 2nd floor for $3.75mm in January 2012. Pretty strong current value, I would say.

visualizing the potential
I am sure that our Power Couple has access to a Power Architect. But they need not look far for inspiration for dealing with this footprint and these plumbing stacks (e.g., here). Whether that kind of transformation really would create more than $2mm in value remains to be seen, when The Market judges.

Tribeca Tower does not offer the amenities that other celebs have chosen down the block at River Lofts, so it will be interesting to see (if only we could!) how much room there ends up being between this sale at $1,276/ft for #3E at 416 Washington Street and $869/ft + renovation ($400/ft??) for the 2nd floor at 427 Washington Street.

In that context, the 2nd floor sale seems an even stronger value. Fun stuff, without getting to the movies of our Power Couple.

© Sandy Mattingly 2012
 

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Jan. 24, 2012 - banging the View Diligence drum (again), for Glass Farmhouse loft views from 448 West 37 Street


once more into the breach
Do you see the light gray band that stretches from 37th Street to 36th Street in the middle of the block between 9th and 10th Avenues on this building map from locating that terrific Manhattan loft building at 448 West 37 Street, the Glass Farmhouse? The 36th Street side lies pretty much in direct line between the Glass Farmhouse and the Empire State Building. (Look at the main listing photo for the August 2011 sale of loft #9D for how nicely framed the ESB can be from here.)  

If the litigious folks at Extell Development have their way (and if they have or can get enough development rights) that view might go away, as The Real Deal reported yesterday that Extell just closed on the purchase of two parking garages and one parking lot, at 430 West 37th Street, 434 West 37th Street and 429 West 36th Street. These sites are just east and just southeast of the Glass Farmhouse.

There is nothing in TRD about potential uses for these sites (hotels seems to be the development of the month idea) and nothing about the scale of development rights that come with (or can be bundled onto) these sites. But if I were a Manhattan loft buyer interested in the relative bargains to be had in the region of the Far West 30s that I long ago dubbed Big Sky Country (as below), or an agent with such clients, I would keep this potential project in mind, to check any view angles before signing any contracts.

Is it just my mind that flits from one set of breaking ‘news’ to another (ADD, anyone?), or is the flurry of recent stories about Manhattan sites being acquired for potential future development a real sign of coming economic recovery? Dunno … but this is a drum I have hit quite a few times in the last few months.

View Diligence should come with the territory
The most recent and most pertinent bang on that drum was in my December 20, 2011, development watch: West 28 Street, between 6th & 7th Avenues, in which the (new) bold should help you get my drift more quickly:

Some stories are perennials. For the Manhattan media wing of the Real Estate Industrial Complex it might be one emerging trend (families move to suburbs for quiet!) or its opposite (families move back to city because suburbs are too quiet!). For someone without a REIC card like Manhattan Loft Guy, it might be new development is new, or developing neighborhoods develop. All of which is a roundabout way of responding to the story reported yesterday in Crain’s (though I saw the version in The Real Deal) that a new hotel might be coming to Chelsea’s (former) Flower District ….


As noted, this issue is coming up a lot lately and, because some Manhattan loft areas are less mature (or protected) than Tribeca or Soho, it often comes up where there are residential lofts. Yesterday it was the high 30s west of 9th Avenue. Above, it was the old flower district, east and 10 blocks south of the Glass Farmhouse.

In my July 28, 2011, NFL guy sells loft at 347 West 39 Street, Observer gets facts wrong (again), it was the northeast views at issue nearby (that post was mostly about bashing The New York Observer for a lack of fact-checking but enough about views in the Glass Farmhouse area [aka Greater Barishnik-ville] that I offered “[t]he problem with the north “views” in this building ... I believe, is that there was a large tower going up; the south views, however, had an angled view of the river”).

Just a little bit farther east, still in the West 30s, I catalogued some classic loft buildings that might have at-risk views over a planned (you guessed it) hotel development in my August 18, much diligence due over planned hotel in West 37 Street. I started that post this way, so I guess I am repeating my self (deal with it!):

Part of the charm of living in loft neighborhoods (in Manhattan and elsewhere), for me and I suspect for many people, is that they may be ‘developing’ neighborhoods, with a certain vitality missing from more staid (mature) residential areas and (often, at least early) a discount from the overall market because the ‘developing’ neighborhood may be a little more gritty than mature residential areas.

Part of the risk of living in loft neighborhoods (in Manhattan and elsewhere) that are ‘developing’ neighborhoods is that they … uhhh … will continue to develop.


if you are buying views, View Vigilance must be a subset of Due Diligence
In terms of process, I referred to the kind of information resources that are available in my October 9, 2011, diligence due + negligence committed as West 15 Street lofts + East 15 Street apartments lose views, which was in response to a

[t]errific piece by VToy in [that same] day’s Sunday real estate section of the New York Times, Is That A Bulldozer I Hear? The subtle take-away is that New York City apartment or loft owners who are concerned about the potential ramifications of development sites nearby should remain vigilant (not just diligent)


Indeed, for the specific view diligence issues on West 15 Street that VToy highlighted in October, I wondered way back in my January 9, 2011, loft that missed The Peak at 30 West 15 Street comes back to sell, modestly but successfully, whether a buyer across the street knew that the view was about to be lost.

Can you count on your attorney (or agent?) if you are a buyer? Maybe, but if it were my money I would keep my eyes and ears open, and figure out how the marshall The Google as my friend. I touched on that process point just a few weeks ago, in my December 28, did your attorney use The Google for due diligence? would help at 150 Nassau Street, about a different kind of diligence issue (repairs and assessments) that might not have been revealed in traditional diligence materials (board minutes and the like).

taking, and giving
With the proliferation of uber-lofts and the continued grinding down the rough edges in many Manhattan loft neighborhoods, there are not as many truly pioneering loft areas in Manhattan as there were (east Bushwick fans, take note!). But as I said above in quoting myself from a month ago: some stories are perennials; two pieces from the Manhattan Loft Guy 2006 archives hammer that home:

My July 11, 2006, Now you see it (and pay for it), now you don’t / what are views worth?, was occasioned by an article in The Real Deal that directly bore on this risky-views-in-developing-nabes issue (hint: “development ... can both destroy views and increase real estate values”). In other words, the thing that ruins your view might also increase the value of your loft and your enjoyment of living there.

My July 31, 2006, More on lofts with views / Big Sky Country in the West 30s, is unusual because it had (a) pictures [there can’t be more than 2 or 3 other Manhattan Loft Guy posts with photos] and (b) made reference to then-active listings (though not identified by name). The point was that there were million dollar views at less than a million bucks in the West 30s (Big Sky Country, ha!) but that the views should not be understood as perpetual: “As grist for a future blog post, a couple of these buildings have nearby development slated which will impact some of the views, but that is for another day….” I did not use the Note to self … reminder way back then, but it is nice to see that (once in a while) I get back to topics noted “for another day”.

Methinks I will be back to this topic again. And again. And ….

© Sandy Mattingly 2012
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Jan. 23, 2012 - strange relo deal gets seller +14% over 2007 tho loft at 356 Broadway worth -8% less


how facts can mis-inform
If you were following the hyper-local Manhattan loft market at 356 Broadway in east Tribeca, you would have had a very different view of that market toward the end of 2011 than you would now. How different is “very different”? A week ago you would have used as a market-indicative comp a $2.425mm sale 5 months ago of a loft that last sold in June 2007 for $2.145mm. We will have to into the weeds a bit to prove it, but the market value of that loft in 2011 was assuredly not $2.45mm; it was $1.975mm.

Into the weeds we go …. We start the story at the end, with the deed record of the December 14 sale of the “2,158 sq ft” Manhattan penthouse loft #5C at 356 Broadway at that $1.975mm. Looking at the StreetEasy listing history you will note this bizarre sequence:

April 23, 2011 new to market $2.695mm
June 15   $2.595mm
June 22   $2.495mm
July 26   $2.425mm
Aug 5   $2.35mm
Aug 15 sold $2.45mm
Aug 25   $2.2mm
Sept 1 re-listed  
Dec 14 sold $1.975mm

First, note the evidence of a motivated (if uninformed, or over-optimistic) seller: 4 price drops in 15 weeks to start, then another 3 weeks later, for a total cut of 18%. (Apparently, the guy was leavig town.) That is what motivation looks like. That, and a final sale price at yet another discount of 10% off the last ask, 26% below the starting price.

don’t be confused by that intermediate price
The bizarre piece is that August 15 “sale”. The deed record for that “sale” reveals that the June 2006 buyer at $2.145mm conveyed title to a relocation company, which is a step usually followed in short order by a deed conveying the property from the relo firm to a real buyer. But that is not what happened here. After the 2006-buyer-turned-2011-seller walked away with $2.45mm (a healthy gain of 14% in 5 tumultuous years), the relo company held it another 4 months before for selling at $1.975mm.

I have never seen anything like this before, and in a prior life I had direct experience with a very large multi-state employer and its relations with such relo companies. That 2006-buyer-turned-2011-seller had an amazing deal with his relo company, one that I cannot even begin to fathom. The relo company paid the real owner out at that 14% gain, at a ‘value’ that was provably not being offered by the market.

That bag firmly in hand, the relo company continued the exact same marketing campaign (same agent, broker babble, pix and floor plan) until finally selling last month through that deed that was not filed until last week. (The inter-firm data-base has this history as a single listing, without the interruption of that August 15 “sale”.) From my perspective, and that of The Market, loft #5C was worth $1.975mm, a drop in value in 5 years of 8%.

Whatever deal the real seller had with the relo company, the relo company took a $475,000 hit in those 4 months. Again: I have never seen anything like that, which makes me wonder if the real seller was a very big figure in a client very important to the relo firm.

I wonder if anyone in The Market used that $2.45mm sale as a comp; I certainly would have. It is not that anyone lied to The Market, just that (we now know) the August 15 deed did not reflect an arm’s length transaction.

B. I. Z. A. R. R. E.

funky floor plan with no comps
The “2,158 sq ft” loft #5C probably feels very loft-y in the 14’6” x 21’ living room, with its 16’6” ceilings and double windows (the lead photo is pretty spectacular), and much less loft-y in the dining room, kitchen, entry and mezzanine bedrooms, which split that 16’6” of total height, or in the upper den. But the “600 sq ft” private roof deck off that den should make up for a lot.

Normally, I would look at space like #5C and try to figure out a value for the interior, and then try to figure out what the premium for that lovely roof deck was. But that analysis requires a base of interior values in the building, a base that is missing in the case of 356 Broadway. So, if you really were following the hyper-local Manhattan loft market at 356 Broadway, as I started with this post, good luck!

The last two sales (apart from #5C) were of #2C and #2D, both sold in April 2010 with some real challenges. Both were sold with the invitation to bring an architect, but the real challenge is usable space. Despite being adjoining lofts represented by the same agent, one was marketed as having 16 foot ceilings and a mezzanine while the other was said to have 13.5 foot ceilings and a mezzanine more suited to Tolkien’s Shire than Manhattan loft living (“just shy of six feet”). It is hard to comp interior values for the building off these two weird sales, and (still apart from #5C) there have been no other sales in the building since the neighboring #2B sold for $1.42mm in November 2006, claiming “1,700 sq ft” including a mezzanine under those same high ceilings that might be 16 feet, or 13.5 feet, or …?

And that sale is no ore useful for present comping purposes than the #5C sale 7 months later. Again: if you really were following the hyper-local Manhattan loft market at 356 Broadway, good luck!

proper housekeeping is essential to healthy living (and useful data collection)
The first thing I did after noting this sequence of 2011 “sales” of loft #5C was to delete the August 15 “sale” from the Master List of Manhattan Lofts Sold Since November 2008. as a bizarre related party transaction that is not indicative of market value. The next thing I have to do is to change the spreadsheet behind my September 27, is the Manhattan loft market back to (up to) 2007? 61 repeat sales say “probably”, “a bit”, to reflect the dramatically different paired resale result for loft #5C of being down 8% 2007 to 2011 rather than up 18%.

Of course I should not take this personally, but I hate it when I got tricked into using a data point that turned out to be meaningless. Relo companies tend to have difficult relationships with real estate agents; this kind of thing is unusual, but doesn’t help their PR. (Except to the lucky clients who took out $475,000 in value that The Market would not pay. To those rare individuals, relo companies are a miracle.)

© Sandy Mattingly 2012

 

 

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Jan. 22, 2012 - a diversion, but not a light one / hedge fund 'winners'


some of my best friends edition
A diversion does not have to be light or frothy, does it? If you agree with me (‘no’), then you might find this Matt Yglesias piece diverting, if not downright charming.

He points to and quotes from an Economist piece that is, in turn, based on a new book by Simon Lack (“The Hedge Fund Mirage: The Illusion of Big Money and Why It’s Too Good to Be True”, published by John Wiley & Sons, January 2012), the thrust of which (almost said ‘money quote’) is:

since 1998, the effective return to hedge-fund clients has only been 2.1% a year, half the return they could have achieved by investing in boring old Treasury bills


Since Yglesias often asks questions about why things are as they are, he pivots from that to this:


That in turn makes me wonder to what extent some of the dysfunctional aspects of the financial system can be traced back to dysfunctional governance of those institutions [foundation endowments and pension funds].


I love people who ask questions about why things are as they are. Yup: MLG (hearts) MattY.

© Sandy Mattingly 2012

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Jan. 21, 2012 - winter snow + sleet diversion / no football edition


pitchers, catchers applying liniment already
As Sammy Cahn would say, the weather outside is frightful. Although the word on the street is that there is some football to be played tomorrow (in frightful weather of a different sort?), the real sports number for today should be 28. As in, 28 days.

Pitchers and catchers (Molinas, et al.) for 9 major league baseball teams are set to report to spring training on February 18. Not a moment too soon! Yanks report on February 19. New York’s AAAA team waits until February 21 to get that jalopy roiling. Full reporting schedule, here.

geeks only, please
I put aside this lovely blog post a while back, waiting for a baseball diversion post. Check out Pinstripe Alley for a graphic demonstration of the (small) difference between Mediocre AJ and Bad AJ. (Best comment: “I liked the picture of the Milky Way / But it was a little blurry, is all”).

Hitler camp fans only, please
You will enjoy Hitler’s reaction to the Pujols signing if you are familiar with this meme.

And if you are a fan afraid of Albert? meh... Maybe the only thing the Angels will lead the league in is Intentional Walks Against. (If you believe Rob Neyer’s successor.)

In the lull between sleeting sessions, can’t you just hear the crack of the bat? Play ball!

© Sandy Mattingly 2012

 

 

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Jan. 20, 2012 - privileged Chelsea Mercantile loft clears near $1,700/ft at 252 Seventh Avenue


was it the iconic views?
If there is a data geek out there looking for a laboratory to explore the value of views, one could do worse than start at the Chelsea Mercantile at 252 Seventh Avenue. The Merc is an unusually large building for a Manhattan loft conversion with well over 300 units where there is a very active market and a wide variety of views. Low floor units look at buildings across the street or into the courtyard, and even many higher floor units have compromised views.

At the top of the views = value spectrum might be the “1,267 sq ft” loft #17E, which sold on January 4 after a brief tussle with The Market for $2.15mm, or $1,697/ft. Compare that princely value to the “sun-drenched” “1,602 sq ft” loft #12H, which sold with “open views” on March 16, 2011 for $2mm, or $1,248/ft. That is quite a spread.

The house specialist who wrote the loft #17E broker babble babbled the best views are limited, even from the top floors:

iconic views from approximately 10% of the building's higher-floor units. Loft 17E is among this privileged category of high-floor units and literally rises above downtown's pre-war sector


90% of high floor lofts lack iconic views?? I would never have guessed that. (Note to self: highlight the next high-floor sale at the Chelsea Mercantile that does not have iconic views.)

that brief tussle
The loft #17E seller actually thought (hoped?) the views would be even more valuable, coming out at $2.4mm on September 13, and dropping once 3 weeks later before finding the contract by December 1 at $2.15mm. If $1,687/ft is a princely sum, asking $1,894/ft is more like a king’s ransom. But the ransom was not paid....

things I did not know (that are not true)
I found this assertion in the broker babble to be intriguing, then questionable, then confusing:

Chelsea Mercantile is the highest pre-war building south of 34th Street and therefore offers an incomparable combination of 11foot ceilings, oversized windows, and iconic views ….


Put aside for the moment that the Empire State Building (completed in ) sits (just) below 34th Street; there are a great many buildings built before World War II that are taller than the Chelsea Mercantile, even much taller than The Merc (19 stories, so something under 250 feet; Emporis has it ‘estimated’ precisely at 179.37 feet). This page from Wired New York lists the tallest buildings in Manhattan. Of the buildings that were world record-holders at one time, at least 3 are prewar, downtown, and still standing (not including the Empire State):
  • 1909: Metropolitan Life Tower (700 feet, 50 stories)
  • 1913: Woolworth Building (792 feet, 60 stories)
  • 1930: 40 Wall Street (927 feet, 70 stories)
I count at least 12 other Manhattan skyscrapers with heights of at least 300 feet on that Wired New York page that are prewar, downtown, and still standing. And many others on the list (count them yourself!) that were built after the war. (It takes a real pre-war snob to not even look at the post-war part of the skyline.)

Believe me, I get it that none of these 300+ foot prewar, downtown, and still standing skyscrapers are in the valley between the midtown (if you extend that down to 23rd Street) and downtown skyscrapers; I even updated my blog post about that on Wednesday after an academic study was again in the news (my September 3, 2010, no skyscrapers in Manhattan loft neighborhoods, but why not?). So the views south of The Merc go a long way.

But that’s where it really gets confusing for me: loft #17E faces north. (Look at the 3rd and 4th pic in “large photo” format on StreetEasy.) So why say “Loft 17E … literally rises above downtown's pre-war sector”? Loft #17E is higher than most buildings due south until you hit the City Hall area, but it turns its back (or its bare wall) on downtown's pre-war sector. It does not rise above the buildings you can see out the windows (which include pre-war towers) unless there is a metaphor here that I am not getting.

So that’s weird.

is the south view a little more expensive?
As nice as that view from #17E is, The Market is full of people who would prefer the very long, very clear, nearly forever views south from the Chelsea Mercantile. Like the views to the Statue of Liberty from #17B, which I hit when it sold in a private sale last month at a building record $1,730/ft, in my December 27, did Chelsea Mercantile loft sell at a record by accident at 252 Seventh Avenue?. That sale did not truly test The Market, but the difference between the north views of #17E and the south views of #17B is smaller than I would have expected ($1,720/ft v. $1,697/ft).

In a fair fight I would expect the spread in favor of the south view to be higher.

© Sandy Mattingly 2012

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Jan. 19, 2012 - changing firms + raising price after 7 months does the trick for 67 East 11 Street cast iron loft


no Virginia, there is no rational market (not here, at least)

Fans of the efficient market theory for the Manhattan residential real estate market should be surprised if a loft is offered within $5,000 of its value but takes 7 months to find a contract. Surprise! Not only was the “687 sq ft” mini-loft #301 at 67 West 11 Street (the Cast Iron Building) offered within $5,000 of its value from March 7, 2011 until its contract by October 24, for 4 of those months it was offered below its value.

Go figure:

Nov 18, 2010 new to market $799,000
Mar 7, 2011   $749,000
July 1 off the market  
July 15 change firms $759,000
 Oct 24 contract  
Dec 7 sold $754,000

Even at the beginning of the 11 month pre-contract period, the asking price for loft #301 was within 6% of its (eventually established) market value. That small a gap is bridged every day in the Manhattan residential real estate market, yet this one lingered.

Even fans of the efficient market theory for the Manhattan residential real estate market acknowledge that the theory works more weakly in a thin market, one with relatively little buying activity. Certainly the overall Manhattan market was deep in 2011, with a comparatively high number of sales, but perhaps the market for a mini-loft with a very idiosyncratic floor plan and a single window was a slow segment of a slice of a niche.

my first-ever “A” floor plan
The successful marketing campaign (the one beginning July 15) did not include a floor plan, and I have to wonder if that helped. I wonder if people might have ignored the prior listing because this floor plan was hard to imagine as living space, even though people (one person, at least) appreciated the space when in it enough to buy it. I would have no clue what to call this footprint if it had a single level, but the mezzanine line makes it an almost perfect “A”. You don’t see those every day.

Nor do you see many lofts that taper to less than 6 feet. I can think of a 2008-ish new development in 7th Avenue in the West Village, and maybe some other new developments (Morton Square?), but these tapered lofts have significantly more space than loft #301, which is less than 30 feet long.

a gut feeling about the renovation
Of course the successful marketing campaign bragged about a gut renovation (using the word “gut” twice in the first 10 words of the substantive broker babble). You’d almost want the loft to have been sold in the exact same condition as it was in September 2005, as the 2005-buyer-turned-2011-seller got only an 8% premium on resale, compared to the $695,100 he paid then.

There’s not much room in a renovation budget of $58,900 to “gut” renovate to a “gourmet kitchen with top of the line appliances” and “an ultra modern bath,” and “beautiful hardwood floors”, before you are looking at a decline in market value 2005 to (unimproved) 2011. But I think they are talking about someone else’s gut.

You cannot see the 2005 listing on StreetEasy or anywhere else public, but I can see the floor plan and the photos from that sale. I don’t see an intervening gut. From the floor plans, the only difference is a reconfigured kitchen, withe the refrigerator moving across the entry way into what had been a hall closet, and the closet/pantry being added on that wall under the mezzanine. Bathroom set-up is exactly the same. From the pictures, the kitchen has new stainless steel appliances but the same cabinets as in 2005. Upstairs, the doors to the closets are new.

They might have been able to do all this for about $15,000. So maybe the did pocket as much as  about $45,000 in the resale (without considering other expenses of the transactions).

fun fact from 1996
Our data base reveals that the last sale before 2005 was in December 1996, when the loft sold for $125,000. I can’t see pix of a floor plan from that long ago day, but it makes more sense that the real gut renovation was between 1996 ($125,000) and 2005 ($695,100) than between 2005 and 2011, doesn’t it?


© Sandy Mattingly 2012

 

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Jan. 18, 2012 - long-time Ruggles House owner sells ready-for-renovation loft at 112 East 19 Street


quick deal aside from that one hiccup
It looks as though the seller of the “1,950 sq ft” Manhattan loft #3R at 112 East 19 Street (the Ruggles House) has been in the building since at least since 1983. That’s as far back as I can see the name on ownership records on the Property Shark building page, but it is possible that she was one of the original shareholders from the conversion to a residential coop in 1973. Whether 1983 or 1973, that is a long time for single ownership of a Manhattan loft, and while it has “[t]ons of details are still intact” the broker babble makes it plain that there is renovation expense to be factored in to the equation: “ready for your dream renovation”. After all, dreams can be expensive.

The Market had little trouble with the math, notwithstanding the dream expense:

May 18, 2011 new to market $1.749mm
June 28   $1.695mm
July 27 contract  
Sept 7 back on market  
Oct 7 contract  
Dec 20 sold $1.625mm

That’s 10 weeks to the first contract, then a month to the second, at a 4% discount to ask (only 7% from the first ask).

it’s hip to be square
A square loft can be very efficient, but the utility of the square-ish #3R footprint is limited by the single exposure. There are a lot of rooms, as built, but only the 2 bedrooms and the living room have windows. Not that there’s much to see out the windows, as the building in back looks to be with 20 feet of the windows.

The floor plan is … odd. I cannot for the life of me figure out a reason to have the entrance to the “master bedroom” in the kitchen instead of the living room. Aside from it being an awkward transition, that doorway significantly breaks up the kitchen furniture. And there is nothing “master”full about that bedroom, with the nearest bathroom on the other side of the kitchen.

The loft immediately above sold with the same footprint and in similar condition in April 2010 at a remarkably similar price, $1.65mm. Score one for the efficient market theorists, and another for those who believe the 2010 and 2011 were essentially flat. #4R also needed an update (“[e]njoy this three bedroom design or bring your architect and make it your own”). Though it has 3 exposures at this height, the pictures show that there is not much too see other than neighbors’ windows, and this floor plan is, if anything, even more strange than that of #3R. That kitchen is huge, and blocks the “view” of the windows from the entrance.

Architects are likely to have had a field day with both of these spaces, but especially with #4R and the prospect of creating a sense of space with those 3 exposures. These are two primitive layouts, with oddities I cannot fathom.

The Market prefers the front of the Ruggles House to the back. The only other at all recent sale was #8F, also “1,950 sq ft”, for $2.025mm in May 2010. The StreetEasy listing description is vague (“[w]ith a little TLC and you can own and create a fabulous apartment”), but the broker’s website was more specific (“awaits the discerning buyer who ... is willing to do some renovating. ... needs 2 new baths and a new kitchen”). (That’s odd; the descriptions usually match.)

$400,000 is a rather dramatic difference between “1,950 sq ft” project lofts in the same building in the same market (#8F and #4R closed a month apart). To complete the floor plan trifecta of oddities, note the round room in #8F.

Did I mention that comping is hard?

archives fun
I hit the #8F sale after it closed in my June 17, 2010, surprise! strong price for a fixer-upper at 112 East 19 Street (Ruggles House), in which I noted how that sale complicated comps for the building (that post has horrible formatting; will fix).

I hit the #4R sale in my May 12, 2010, price right, sell quick at Ruggles House, 112 East 19 Street, which was how I knew that #8F complicated comps here.

I first hit a sale at Ruggles House way back in 2007, from back in the day that I talked about then-current listings, in May, price drop at Ruggles House, getting to the point of pain? (need to fix that link; arrgghhh), and in my July 15,  2d floor sale while pain continues on 3d floor at Ruggles House 112 E 19 St,.

© Sandy Mattingly 2012

 

 

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Jan. 17, 2012 - loft porn: Dietz Lantern loft transformed at 429 Greenwich Street


from good to great
A twitterverse mention of Manhattan Loft Guy on Tribeca Live (eventually) lead me to photos of a beautiful redesign of a loft at the Dietz Lantern Building (429 Greenwich Street), via Remodelista, a “sourcebook for the considered home”. Drooling over the pictures, I (of course) had to try to find the exact loft, in hopes I would find the “before” for these lovely “after” shots. With the hints of a specific Dietz Lantern layout (2 bedrooms, entry hallway, corner kitchen, windows on one side) plus the architect / design team (SchappacherWhite) and the standard “Projects” button on such sites I was able to match the layout and the owner’s name to this “2,054 sq ft” loft, which these Kiwis bought heading into The Peak (September 13, 2007) for $2.57mm, a heady $1,251/ft.

2007 beats 2009 (d’oh!)
The Kiwis paid more for their 2nd floor loft two quarters before The Peak than their new neighbors with the same footprint paid after the market had thawed in late 2009. This “gorgeous” loft was in no worse condition than the Kiwi loft (possibly better, with “commercial” appliances), has a better floor plan than the “before” floor plan (with 2 exposures [better light!] and the kitchen more centrally located), and sold with 2 parking spaces on December 22, 2009, but it only got $2.45mm.

These folks paid peak pricing and then invested a big chunk of change to upgrade.

more redesign than renovation
Before you check out the many “before” pictures from that 2nd floor Corcoran listing, look again at the palette and materials of the current loft. (Waiting....) Those pictures show a standard age-appropriate high end Tribeca loft conversion, circa 1997, when the Dietz Lantern converted to residential condominium lofts: oak floors, barrel vaulted ceilings, and exposed brick walls, with (probably) the same ”spa” baths that the higher floor loft claimed in 2009.

The two sets of photos offer no precise pairings, but if you look at the “before” photos in the context of the “before” floor plan you will see how the puzzle fits together. You will also see that it is very likely that the only structural change from “before” to “after” was to extend the kitchen along the other corner wall and to pivot the island; the rest of the “before” floor plan is consistent with all the “after” photos.

Put one way, all they did (apart from the larger kitchen) was to change the skin. But Oh What A Beautiful New Skin!

I like oak hardwood floors in lofts as much as the next guy, but the black and white palette in the “after” pix is pretty spectacular. That first pic on Remodelista (with the thoughtful young prop on the floor) shows “white oak, sanded, bleached, and stained gray”, but I can’t figure out what they did to the left wall (formerly white sheet rock). Might be just paint, might be plaster. Interesting that they took one of the white elements and changed it up, even as the entire palette is white and black (with grey).

What had been a natural (clear) seal on the brick wall in the master bedroom is now a white wall (with that floating walnut headboard). Of course, the kitchen is completely different, though in the same corner as before. Totally different materials, colors, appliances, cabinetry, and island, with the plumbing moved around the corner and the entire kitchen being much bigger. I especially liked this bit of archi-speak:

"One thing that we really worked hard to do in the kitchen and with all the rest of the cabinetry is to frame them, so they became objects in themselves," says Schappacher. "We didn't want them to be big huge built-ins, in order to retain the open feeling of the loft."


where does that small prop sleep?
Now as I toggle back and forth between “before and “after” photos and the “before” floor plan I wonder if there has been another layout change. The new “small guest room” doubles as a kid playroom, with chalkboard on the base of the Murphy bed and a tack board for kid art on the front of built-ins.

I originally thought that was the 2nd bedroom in the original floor plan, but it does not seem big enough for that, and then where does that child in the first pic sleep? Now I think that they extended the entry gallery wall east, to fit that (open?) guest room / play area, with the dining area just south of that. So perhaps they did do a bit more carpentry than I originally thought.

Regardless of the carpentry done, this is one drool-worthy loft. One that looks completely different than it did before. Props to the Kiwi owners and to Mr. Schappacher and to Ms. White. Exquisite taste, all around.

On the one hand I wish them many many years of enjoyment. On the other hand, I am impatient to see if The Market would value the “after” loft at the kind of significant premium over the “before” that I think it merits. But this world of Manhattan residential real estate, loft division, does not merely exist for my benefit. Alas.

In an even contest, I am pretty confident that the black-white-grey loft will beat any original condition competitors by a good margin, including the current record holder in the building, #4C, which cleared at $1,429/ft in June 2010.

© Sandy Mattingly 2012

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Jan. 16, 2012 - holiday diversion / his birthday was yesterday


but his Day is today
Last year on the holiday I linked to the I Have A Dream speech from the Washington Mall, with text and video; I also linked to that text on the sad 40th anniversary of his assassination, on April 4, 2008.

Today I re-read the extraordinary letter from a Birmingham jail of April 16, 1963. I highly commend it, if you will but take 10 quiet minutes. On the one hand, it is amazing that the circumstances that were such an emergency for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the world not 50 years ago have changed so much; on the other hand, it is shameful that so many people seem to forget (ignore?) the true conditions in this Greatest Nation On Earth not so very long ago, the perilous (often fatal) work that was done to move from then to now, and how the legacy of those conditions and that struggle persist.

Go to The Wiki for the context, if you need a quick reminder. Read the text quietly, if you will. Here are some excerpts, none of which does justice to the whole:

In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action. We have gone through all these steps in Birmingham.

***

You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word "tension." I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth.

***
One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.
***

Is organized religion too inextricably bound to the status quo to save our nation and the world? Perhaps I must turn my faith to the inner spiritual church, the church within the church, as the true ekklesia and the hope of the world. But again I am thankful to God that some noble souls from the ranks of organized religion have broken loose from the paralyzing chains of conformity and joined us as active partners in the struggle for freedom.

R.I.P., for another righteous brother
It is perhaps fitting that Charles L. Jones, adviser and lecturer at Medgar Evers College in the City University of New York System, finally succumbed yesterday, Dr, King’s actual birthday, to complications from a series of strokes. Charles worked tirelessly to help his young students understand Dr. King’s struggles 50 years ago in the context of what came before and what has happened since. He remains an inspiration to me (“did you make a difference today?”).

I am honored to have considered Charles a friend. I will be forever in his debt for letting me tag along with his students and fellow faculty members on the buses that left the campus about 11 PM on January 19, 2009, returning from a chilly day in Washington about 24 hours later. (See my January 20, 2009, best cold day EVER, if that reference is too obscure. As it happened, we never made it to 12th and Pennsylvania but watched from the middle of The Mall; I still think that was “the largest collection of happy people ever assembled in this country”.)

“Yours for the cause of Peace and Brotherhood”, Manhattan Loft Guy

© Sandy Mattingly 2012

 

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Jan. 15, 2012 - weekend diversion / into the weeds of grammar with "they" and "he or she"


“Psycho Babble”! (gotta love that)
I may not always pay as much attention as I should to grammar, but I have often rewritten sentences to avoid using “he or she” with a single generic referent. (If you think that my sensitivity is mere PC and that I should just use “he” all the time, try using just “she” all the time for a while before using PC as a slur.)  Sometimes the result is an awkward construct, but I have been convinced that using “they” in a singular context is just wrong.

Interesting piece in The American Scholar, The Grammarian Was a He (under the heading Psycho Babble!), asserts that “they” was common usage until about 200 years ago, the singular plural notwithstanding. I get it that grammar “rules”, like all rules probably, are convention -- what the people agree on. Whether “the people” are the masses, or the elites pushing the masses is a question for another day.

O O O Oklahoma, where the wind goes rushing down the plain
Fans of great American musicals will be familiar with a modern example of the rules changing. It always struck me that the corn in the song (in the movie version, at least) was as high as “a elephant’s eye” instead of “an elephant’s eye”. Each fits in the meter equally, yet the usage is “a”. I assume that is because “a” was correct when it was written. Rules change. Jessica Love in The American Scholar cites

Ann Bodine[, who] argues in her 1975 article “Androcentrism in Prescriptive Grammar,” [that] prior to the 19th century, “they” was commonly—and uncontroversially—used as a generic singular pronoun. Grammarians were the ones who inserted the generic “he” into English about 200 years ago in an effort to improve the language.


One of Love’s commenters adds additional examples from the second half of the 19th century, taken from the on-line Oxford English Dictionary.

Interesting facts, which might cause me to rethink my approach. “They” seems to be common today, at least in popular usage. To my ear it sounds wrong, but maybe it is my ear that needs a retuning.

(No, I do not read The American Scholar, even irregularly; the h/t goes to Andrew Sullivan.)

© Sandy Mattingly 2012
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Jan. 14, 2012 - weekend diversion WITH (some, slight) Manhattan real estate content


playing with $/ft numbers
This is probably sandbox level ‘analysis’, but I counted the distribution of Manhattan loft resales on a dollar per foot basis yesterday, provoked by a StreetEasy discussion thread. I don’t follow those threads closely enough to appreciate the dynamics between the regular contributors and I probably took too literally the apparent glee by the thread-starter about the prospect that the Manhattan residential real estate market might be heading to $550/ft values. I suspect that the thread was really a way for one or more SE regulars to poke, harass, or tease other SE regulars, (I may be missing something, having ‘greyed out’ 3 thread participants, but they long ago proved unworthy of attention).

My point is simply to say that, having been suckered into providing there some market facts, I might as well share them with Manhattan Loft Guy readers. Since I just finished my weekly update of the Master List of Manhattan Lofts Sold Since November 2008, I can report that there were 140 downtown loft resales with “sq ft” data going back to September 1, recorded as of today. The median value was $1,097/ft, which is probably roughly flat to 2010 (just like the overall performance in the 4Q11 market reports).

For what it is worth, the distribution is:

$4xx/ft 2 loft resales
$5xx/ft 1
$6xx/ft 4
$7xx/ft 4
$8xx/ft 19
$9xx/ft 18
$1,0xx/ft 21
$1,1xx/ft 25
$1,2xx/ft 14
$1,3xx/ft 10
$1,4xx/ft 6
$1,5xx/ft 6
$1,6xx/ft 3
$1,7xx/ft 2
$1,8xx/ft 0
$1,9xx/ft 3
$2,0xx/ft 1

Stay warm, folks!

© Sandy Mattingly 2012
 

 

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Jan. 13, 2012 - meticulous renovation of 233 West 26 Street loft means +31% over 2006, and a skirmish


adding bed + bath, meticulously, helps
On my particularly cranky days I don’t react well to broker babble about a “meticulous” renovation, but on most days I see “meticulously” for what it is: a wonderful adverb that -- when used in the right place -- says something important about the new condition of Manhattan loft. Yes, it would be nice if The Broker Thesaurus had more choices, but we are limited by convention. Sigh.

Even on cranky days I love a lovely renovation, especially one that adds significant value. The folks who just sold the “2,000 sq ft” Manhattan loft #5W at 233 West 26 Street started in 2006 with a loft that had 2 bedrooms and a single bath that was said to be in mint condition (though not on StreetEasy; more on that below) and turned it into a 3-bedroom + 2 bath, with new kitchen and baths, a reconfigured back wall (where the original 2 bedrooms were), and a new bedroom and home office in front.

I see lovely fixtures and furniture in the kitchen and baths, but one generally can’t see “meticulous” in a listing (at least, not without hints in the babble and photos about particularly clever or careful detailing). You most often need to see “meticulous” in real life, but sometimes there are hints of sliding doors, well-crafted (hidden) stuff like hardware, difficult to achieve effects like Venetian plastering. So I will take their word that this renovation was meticulous, at least in part because of the reaction of The Market.

Loft #5W traded in 2006 (in mint condition, remember) at $1,427,500. It came to market again on October 4, 2011 a $1.85mm and found a contract by October 27 at $1.875mm, closing on December 13. That is 3 weeks to contract and cashed out in 10 weeks at a premium to ask. Granted, the 1.3% premium suggests more of a bidding skirmish than a full-out war, but a premium is a premium is a premium....

the missing link
I mentioned that StreetEasy has no listing for the 2006 sale. I assume that has something to do with listing agents changing firms and firms going out of business, but the inter-firm data-base has the opposite problem: listing data without connection to any sale. (Sigh.) Putting 2-and-2 together, we start with a loft with the “mint” box checked for “condition” in Overall. kitchen, and bath. There is noting in the text of that babble to support “mint” anywhere (unless “grand” is a more powerful modifier than I think it is), but perhaps they were just modest:

grand 2 bedroom, 1 bath with washer & dryer and potential for a second bath awaits your arrival. Mahogany stained hardwood floors, 10 foot Ceilings, and a wall of south facing floor to ceiling windows make this 23 x 24 living room a pleasure to relax in. All this with an open kitchen and a separate dining area. Rear bedrooms are very peaceful with a 24 by 5 terrace. Hurry! Run dont walk. This one wont last!

I quoted that last bit only because sometimes I am cranky. The price history demonstrates the danger to agents who do not update listing text as circumstances developer (or, in this case, as they do not develop), with the finale taken from StreetEasy:

May 10, 2005 new to market* $1.695mm
July 27   $1.55mm
Nov 22   $1.45mm
Jan 31, 2006 contract  
Mar 29 sold $1,427,500

(*The data-base says it had been offered for sale by owner at $1.75mm before May 10, 2005, but it does nto say for how long.)

Even after the last price drop it took 2 months to find a contract. And you do hate to see a loft that “won’t last” take nearly 9 months to find a contract.

As an aside (yet another …), note that this agent and/or seller went to the same school as I did about price drops, as both drops were six figures. (See my rant yesterday, 4 prices, 12 months to contract for loft at 315 West 36 Street, about a stubborn seller who eventually came around to nibbling at the asking price instead of just going for it.) It is one thing to be wrong about the value of a listing, as this seller and agent were in 2005, but at least they did not compound that error by dribbling their way down to the right level.

building has had these skirmishes before
Fun fact: the StreetEasy building page shows that 3 of the last 5 public sales in the building (going back to August 2007) have been above the asking price. These folks might be getting spoiled.

Another fun fact: yesterday I said this:

The beauty of a Big Drop in a deep market is that bigger drops attract more buyer interest and more buyer interest can correct a drop that is ‘too big’ through a late-in-the-game bidding war.

I meant to link yesterday to examples of The Market correcting a too-large price drop, but it was getting late and the post was getting long. I still should do that in some comprehensive way (note to self …), but the #5E sale on January 29, 2010 is an excellent example, with a marketing campaign coming out just a bit too high into the thaw in the overall Manhattan residential real estate market, then over-correcting:

June 26, 2009 new to market $1.795mm
July 14   $1.699mm
Oct 16   $1.599mm
Oct 22   $1.5mm
Nov 6 contract  
Jan 29, 2010 sold $1.575mm

Stop me before I digress again. (Thank you.)

© Sandy Mattingly 2012

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Jan. 12, 2012 - 4 prices, 12 months to contract for loft at 315 West 36 Street


contract = best birthday present ever
The “1,306 sq ft” Manhattan loft #14B at 315 West 36 Street came to market on October 19 and found a contract by October 14. Since you should assume that I type such dates carefully, you already know that those two things happened in separate years, in this case 2010 to begin marketing and 2011 to enter contract 361 days later. You do hate to see a lovely loft ‘celebrate’ a birthday. Perhaps they deferred the celebrations until the check was in hand at closing, in which case the major celebration would have been after the closing on December 15.

After a long marketing campaign, the clearing price of $1.5mm should have been more of a relief than a disappointment, considering that it is only 4% off the last ask, and 11% off the first. Indeed, many deals are done fairly quickly at a discount like 11%, if the seller has the right appetite for compromise. In this case, regular price drops suggest that this seller understood that compromise is a virtue (small compromise, at least):

Oct 19, 2010 new to market $1.695mm
Jan 23, 2011   $1.635mm
May 3   $1.595mm
June 22   $1.565mm
Oct 14 contract  
Dec 15 sold $1.5mm

where do you go to school?
The ‘largest’ price drop in this sequence was the first, at only 3.5%. There are two main schools of thought about price drops, and perhaps less popular variants. Either the #14B agent or the seller attended the Small Drop school, which looks like the above history when it works and gets Monday Quarterbacked by the likes of Manhattan Loft Guy as death by small price drops when it does not. The Small Drop approach works best in a stable market, such as prevailed from 2010 through 2011 (remember yesterday? January 11, loft lab at 161 Hudson Street, as loft takes 5 months to make a quick sale).

The contra school prefers a Big Drop, with “big” at this price level needing six figures. If the seller is sufficiently motivated and nimble, it works best in a declining market (otherwise, the listing is simply chasing the market down but never catching up) but also works well in a deep market (a market with significant buyer interest). The beauty of a Big Drop in a deep market is that bigger drops attract more buyer interest and more buyer interest can correct a drop that is ‘too big’ through a late-in-the-game bidding war.

Nearly all sellers went to the Small Drop school, perhaps because they view a price drop (of a listing price that has not yet generated any bid) as ‘taking money out of their pockets’. Some agents prefer Small Drops, some prefer Big Drops. I lean Big, myself. (Note that this theoretical discussion omits any context of the prices of competing listings because I am trying to make a general point; it does not matter what your price drop theory is if, at the end of your drops, you are still over-priced compared to buyers’ other choices.)

from white box to bed cabin
315 West 36 Street was converted to residential lofts during the golden age, though it did take a while to sell out (especially for a 20-unit building). The earliest sales closed in August 2003, with #14B being not quite the last sponsor sale in April 2005. I say “golden age” because loft conversions then could be sold as white boxes, with minimal plumbing to satisfy the New York City Building Code and few finishes or frills. Developers sold lofts as white boxes because it was less expensive (and quicker) to ‘finish’ lofts in that condition and because there were (or, they believed there were) enough buyers interested in finishing a loft to their own tastes and layout needs.

Every developer in the current environment would fully build out and finish a new development loft, and if using the size and shape of #14B would build two bedrooms on opposite wings. The white box permitted the original owner of #14B ot create a space with only 1 bedroom and no hard walls extending to the window wall, to maximize the sense of space and light. Instead of a second bedroom, there is that “bed cabin” in the extended living area. (I hope it shows better in real life than in the photos [see #6], but that is clearly the original owners’ approach to having an [occasional] second usable bed, while keeping the loft as open as possible.) “Bed cabin” is a new locution for me, by the way, though I have seen things like it before, in very small spaces or other spaces designed to maximize every cubic inch.

actually, much longer than a year, depending on how you count
Sometimes with StreetEasy it is easy to overlook important parts of a listing history, as I did in my first glance at the #14B history. Without abusing the metaphor, there are also different schools of thought for how to count days on the market. I will be uncharacteristically brief on this point at this point and merely note that for my purposes, as reflected in the Master List of Manhattan Lofts Sold Since November 2008, I start counting “on market” from the earliest date of active marketing that is not within 90 days of the prior active marketing.

In this case, I just changed the “on market” field on the Master List for #14B from October 19, 2010 to January 20, 2010 because that first marketing period ended on August 12, 2010, within 90 days of when it started. This example is, in fact, a good example of why I count this way: the seller used the same agent in October as in August, and (at 68 days ‘off market’) seems most fairly to have been simply taking a break from the market, rather than taking it ‘off’ the market -- especially coming back to market at the same price as before.

With that new calendar context, it seems that this seller was also trained in a different school of pricing. Starting in January 2010 at $1.695mm and holding there into January 2011 (less the 68 days break, of course) reflects a certain dogmatism about the asking price. More pointed commentary would say it is “stubborn” to hold for 10 months at a price that The Market keeps rejecting.

What is especially interesting to me (with those 20-20 spectacles) is that the seller was not really wrong all that time, just unsuccessful. As I said up top when I was thinking of this marketing campaign as shorter and well charcterized as using Small Drops, the end result ($1.5mm, off an October 2011 contract)  was only 11% below the first asking price, and that many lofts sell quickly at such a discount without a price drop. This loft actively asked $1.695mm for 10 months without making a deal. With that longer (stubborn) pricing in mind, now I wonder if the seller was unwilling to negotiate (enough) in 2010.

did they do their View Diligence?
I don’t know if I have seen broker babble about views before that is so specific (and limited) about the time of the views:

Night views are spectacular with western sunsets and the changing colors of the NYTimes and BOA spires to the east.


The photos (seen better in Full Screen on the Stribling site than on StreetEasy) show how oblique the “spectacular” views are from #14B. Pic #1 is the direct view of the taller building just north; pic #2 looks north and west (the sunsets), and pic #3 north and east (the new and colorful icons). I wonder if the buyers wondered about how long they might enjoy those slices. And if their attorney used The Google in due diligence.

In my August 18, 2011, much diligence due over planned hotel in West 37 Street, I relied on an

item from DNAinfo: Garment District Parking Lot to Become Hotel (h/t TRD) with this as The Story:

The Albanese Organization and The Buccini/Polin Group have purchased the parking lot at 312-318 W. 37th St. for $20.8 million from a pair of families that owned it for nearly a century.

 

The developers say they plan to build a 300-room hotel on the lot.

 

...The Property Shark page for … 315 West 36 Street shows that much of this 140 foot wide 2006 [oops 2003] condo conversion is directly south of the planned hotel at 312-318 West 37 Street.

 

I bet that everyone on with north-facing windows at 315 West 36 Street has been (or will be) researching the zoning regs and the plans for the hotel. Depending on the size and shape of the hotel (if it is ever built, of course), the “B”, “C” and “D” lines are in danger of losing some or all of their open north exposures (some north-facing units here have lovely terraces). I hope that every one considering buying one of these north-facing units is diligent enough to know about the plans to build the hotel (which may never be built, of course).


is that www.coincidence.com or #Coincidence?
I raised this kind of issue as a due diligence concern more recently in my December 20, development watch: West 28 Street, between 6th & 7th Avenues about another potential north Chelsea development, and also then posed a question to real estate attorney Ron Gitter via @CoopAndCondo about attorney use of the inter-tubes in due diligence. In a bit of real estate blogging serendipity, independently of my plans to blog today about this Manhattan loft resale at 315 West 36 Street, Attorney Gitter blogged today about The Google and due diligence (in The Truth Factory: where buyers face facts).

He kindly attributed to me the locution ‘The Google’, which I am 97% sure is not my invention but something I have seen commonly on the inter-tubes, and made these points, among others:

Irrespective of what attorneys may or may not be doing to complete due diligence in connection with the purchase of an apartment, the consumer appears to be way ahead on using the Internet for real estate research.


***

Whenever information has no filter, there is always the possibility that the information is not accurate, no longer relevant or its truth exaggerated. Relying solely on the Internet, however, is not a great idea. That being said, it can be a valuable source of background information, and attorneys and buyers should be hitting the search button as early in the deal as possible.


If that hotel on West 37 Street ever gets built, I wonder if the new #14B owners will still enjoy both spectacular sunsets and colorful and iconic buildings. And I really hope that they will not be surprised if that hotel happens.

© Sandy Mattingly 2012

 

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Jan. 11, 2012 - loft lab at 161 Hudson Street, as loft takes 5 months to make a quick sale


up 43% since 2004
Yesterday was pricing at 2004 (January 10, 150 Nassau Street mini-loft sells at about 2004 pricing); today is about the sale of the “2,117 sq ft” Manhattan loft #3C at 161 Hudson Street at $2,323,150, which (among other things) was way higher than the same loft sold for on November 30, 2004 ($1,624,108; at about the same time that the notional value of yesterday’s loft crossed its December 2011 value). Whew!

Of course, that 2004 sale was a sponsor sale, so perhaps this post should be wondering whether the sponsor left money on the table back in the day, but I am not going in that direction today. (In broad strokes, a +40% Tribeca result 2004-to-2011 seems large, but not ridiculously so, compared to the overall residential Manhattan real estate market.)

Loft #3C came to market April 25 last year at $2.395mm and did not find the contract that eventually closed until September 23. Nonetheless, it was a quick sale, as there was a (failed) contract within a month and (counting only days officially on the market) it took only 51 days after that for the (eventually successful) contract. Part of those 7 weeks had to have been consumed by ferocious negotiation, as the ask of $2.395mm got chiseled only by 3% to that very funny number, $2,323,150. If the last move in that negotiation was ‘split the difference’ from the last bid and counter, it had been quite a while since these folks were dealing in round numbers.

peering at the neighbors: up 1% over stunning neighbor upstairs in 2010
That quick timing (and chisel work) aside, what interests me most about the #3C sale (on November 29, but the deed was not filed until January 4) is how it compares to its peers, all of which were sold in brand spanking new condition in 2004. The sub-head says it closed ‘up’ over a 2010 sale, but 1% is a rounding error; the fact that loft #4C closed on August 31, 2010 at an even $2.3mm should be a data point in the recent media claim that The Market in 2011 was ‘flat’.

The broker babble is much more enthusiastic about #4C than #3C, but I these lofts are most likely in exactly the same condition (compare the kitchen photos in both, for example; the #3C floor plan has an ‘office’ where #4C has only storage, but they are otherwise identical). So, the #3C 2011 value compared to #4C in 2010 … essentially identical.

Of course, 2009 was a different market than 2010-2011. Not just generally in the overall residential Manhattan real estate market, but hyper locally: loft #5C had the poor fortune to have been offered for sale in the depths of the post-Lehman nuclear winter, on January 3, 2009, and the worse fortune (for those sellers) to have a musta-haveta-gotta need to sell, starting at $2.7mm, dropping twice quickly (down to $2.45mm) and once more that July (to $2.295mm), just as the overall market was thawing. Either #5C was perceived as damaged goods, or buyers saw blood in the water, for it took #5C until September 22 that year to find a contract. Those unfortunate sellers cleared out on October 23 at $2.065mm … clearly a punishing price.

Look again at #4C in August 2010 compared to #5C 10 months earlier: $2.3mm  to $2.065mm. Put aside for the moment the really painful woulda-shoulda-coulda for the #5C sellers, who (in theory, at least) could have tried to sell a year before they did, and might well have achieved peak pricing. Instead, the got frostbite, selling for 10% less than #4C in 2010 (or 11% less than #3C in 2011, for those who want to quibble).

So far, the hyper-local “C” line market in the loft building that was home to the former Wetlands Preserve music (and old Volkswagen) venue in north Tribeca mirrors the overall Manhattan residential reasl estate market very well, from early 2009 through 2011.

the limits of over-analyzing data points
In a perfect world, we would find a “C” line loft sale at 161 Hudson Street that was at The Peak of the overall Manhattan market, and that sale would (a) reflect a (roughly) 25% peak-to-trough history, and (b) be still at heights The Market has not yet provided to current sellers.

Loft #2C does not quite live up to these expectations: selling for $2.4mm on July 13, 2007. Price is a little low for my taste, and the timing just a little short, about 6 months ‘too soon’ for an Absolute Peak experience. But The Overall Market is a trend line made up of messy data points, some above the line, some below. Comparing #5C in October 2009 to #2C in July 2007, that spread of (only) 16% might be artificially low because #2C should sell for less than #5C in a perfectly rational market due to floor height (#5C is the only one to brag about “open city views”).

We will have to be happy with what we have: four “C” line sales in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011 that line up directionally with what you would expect. Highest in 2007, lowest in 2009, and 2010 and 2011 at parity.

If you want more than that for a single small (24-unit) Manhattan loft building, you are greedy.

© Sandy Mattingly 2012

 

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Sandy Mattingly is Manhattan Loft Guy; now with The Corcoran Group (http://corcoran.com/ ; but see the disclaimer at the bottom of the page), he can be reached most easily at Sandy@ManhattanLoftGuy.com or 917.902.2491, and followed on Twitter @ManhattnLoftGuy (note "mis-spelling"). After 7+ years, the blog has moved. Links here on RealTown will work for the foreseeable future, but new posts (and all the old content) has migrated to ManhattanLoftGuy.com.

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