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Manhattan Loft Guy

Sep. 13, 2013 - 77 White Street loft lacks "bedrooms" because elevator is in the wrong place


sold for many dollars, nonetheless

Yesterday, it was dark bedrooms being switched (September 12, flipping the dark bedrooms earns 100 Hudson Street loft 20% premium over (near) Peak); today it is a funky floor plan for a Long-and-Narrow Tribeca loft that is (probably) funky because the later-added elevator takes up the wrong space in the front of the unit. Not that The Market cared (too) much, as the “2,285 sq ft” Manhattan loft on the second floor at 77 White Street just sold for $3.3mm ($1,444/ft) and took only 6 weeks to find a contract. There must be many reasons for that. They have to do with a quality renovation, classic elements such as high ceilings, beams, columns and bricks (a ton of bricks, it seems), and windows.

proper babbling in a surprisingly sunny place

I love this kind of detailed broker babble, with its sprinkling of seemingly appropriate adverbs throughout:

newly renovated and stunning ... magnificently designed ... dramatic wall of 11 windows, featuring sun drenched West and bright North exposures, 11 foot beamed ceilings, exposed brick and wide plank Brazilian cherry flooring. The chef's kitchen is beautifully appointed with Viking Professional Series appliances, including a 150-bottle capacity wine refrigerator, marble counter top, deep farmhouse sink and an illuminated polished concrete island. ... custom fabricated metal and glass floating wall separating the bedrooms. ... master bedroom has a massive walk-in closet and en-suite windowed bath, with heated slate stone flooring, dual Duravit sinks, and flush mounted rain shower. The second bedroom features its own en-suite bath with heated floors, Zuma soaking tub, marble vanity and ample storage. The ultra cool guest bath has to be seen with its walls and ceiling of silver and gun metal back-painted glass. … cast iron columns, in-ceiling speakers throughout, dual zone central air and heat controlled via Nest intelligent thermostat, museum quality lighting including custom fixtures, a vented W/D....

You youngsters will have to use The Google or The Wiki to understand the strength of the reference to the Mudd Club in the rest of the babble for folks of my generation. Cool stuff. (If the walls really could talk, the words would likely be slurred and sniffled from cocaine over use.)

When was the last time you saw a second floor unit that was not on a park or river claim “sun drenched West” exposure? This one does (obviously) and the listing photos (pix #2 and #8) only hint at the reason. While much of east Tribeca can feel dark and cramped (especially this close to the municipal and court buildings further east), this small condo benefits, ironically, from having a large residential tower just across Cortlandt Alley. As you can easily see if you click through from StreetEasy through to Google Street View and then toggle a bit to the right, that tall neighbor is set back from both Cortlandt Alley (where those trees in the left windows in pic #2 are planted) and from White Street. That is the 24-story cookie cutter condo, 376 Broadway. A shorter building on that loft would likely have been built (had likely been built) to each sidewalk, cutting out virtually all of the west light from the second floor across Cortlandt Alley.

The other exposure also benefits from a streetscape quirk: Cortlandt Alley zigs a little to the east on the north side of White Street, which is why the north-facing windows in the living room in pic #2 have that very cool view straight up Cortlandt Alley, as well as having direct “views” of the buildings across White on either side of Cortlandt Alley. Such are the many and varied charms of this loft. Did I hint of an issue about the “bedrooms”?

darn that elevator

This building has to be 100+ years old, and almost certainly built without an elevator. When time came to adopt this then-new technology, the undoubtedly mercantile activity in the building dictated the simplest possible placement: in a corner, right at the sidewalk. It probably even opened directly onto the sidewalk, back in the day. This was an inexpensive way to bring elevator service to the building without cutting into usable space much, though it proves to have awkward the consequence for the current residents in that you can’t get bedrooms with windows without using the north end of the loft for bedrooms, where all the best light is. There’d be a number of alternative layouts with “real” bedrooms if the elevator were on the middle of the long wall, or even if it had been placed away from the corner on the south wall.

With this challenge, the alternative chosen with the 2nd floor renovation was to put the two (interior) bedrooms at the elevator (south) end but on the dark (east) wall, but to ameliorate the no-windows problem by giving the bedrooms that “custom fabricated metal and glass floating wall”, with curtains as in listing pix #4-5. If the workmanship and materials are good enough, I believe that these glass walls can be as sound-insulated as a sheetrocked wall but the curtains used do not look like the blackout variety to me, so some light is going to bleed through unless that feature is upgraded.

what the heck happened upstairs??

The 3rd floor sold on November 4, 2010 at … (wait for it) … $1,762,500, with that telltale $500 suffix hinting at trouble in marketing and negotiating a deal. That one was also enthusiastically babbled, with a “new[]” and “beautiful[]” renovation, but it was set up with a single “bedroom” near the elevator and a single bath (floor plan, here) though the space can obviously accommodate additional (interior) rooms and additional plumbing (two alternatives are provided with the current floor plan).

I hit that sale in my November 17, 2010, gossiping about a Mudd Club beat down, as 77 White Street loft sells off 3% in 4 years, complaining that the babble use of “newly renovated” was a bit of a stretch and noting (sympathetically?) the almost epicly bad timing (and bad pricing) that (eventually; very eventually) resulted in that sale in November 2010. (You youngsters can also get some Mudd Club history in that post.)

Obviously, that layout needed adjustment for many buyers; my snark then included saying this about the layout:

The kind of thing you’d sketch out on a napkin in a bar after going to see the loft for the first time in 2005 or 2006. Especially if you are a single guy or a couple planning on remaining a duo (for my money, nothing quite says bachelor pad like a “2,250 sq ft” loft with one bathroom and a single bedroom measuring 14.6 x 27 ft).

I will leave you with pondering the 2010 3rd floor sale (at $1,762,500!!) and the 2nd floor last month at $3.3mm. That’s a lot to ponder, so that is all.

© Sandy Mattingly 2013

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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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