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Manhattan Loft Guy

Mar. 15, 2010 - new development limping towards finish line

 

will it cross?
There's a new development property that has been offering Manhattan lofts for sale for so long that I used to regularly refer to it when I commented on active listings of other firms. When I noted a (fairly) recent closing in the building I assumed it was a resale, since the original offerings were so, so long ago. Not so, after all.

Turns out that it needs two more closings before I can talk about it publicly by name, which is a rather extraordinary number of unsold units in a building that has fewer than 10 units, a building in which the first marketing was done in 2006 [two thousand SIX!], well before the development was completed, in which the last residential sales to close were in 2008, and in which the development's website has long since given up its URL. Yikes.

The lofts are in a prime Manhattan loft neighborhood, on a prime street for lofts. More than half the residential units were already in contract before The Peak. They were even able to sell one above $1,100/ft with a contract signed soon after The Fall of the House of Lehman.

But the last sale price was at $634/ft for space that was marketed without a view. Last two lofts are offered for sale above $1,000/ft (with light, views and space). One hardy soul is trying to flip out at $1,200/ft (a 12% premium over the arrival price). Double yikes.

in the canon of western literature
Cue Marlow. What's that you say, Kurtz?

 

© Sandy Mattingly 2010

 

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Jul. 25, 2006 - Cobblestone wars PR muscle moves in??

 
Weird that the NY Post today has a piece about the June 20 CB1 Landmarks Committee rejection of the attempt by 44 Laight Street condo owners to replace part of the cobblestone street, which I blogged about on July 5.
 
Why is 44 Laight Street news now?
What’s weird is that there is nothing obviously ‘newsworthy’ today about that month-old event. But the new article is making the rounds of the blogosphere, giving the issue new life. My guess is that the condo owners have hired some PR firm in anticipation of their appeal to the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
 
I would characterize the tone of today’s article as somewhat sympathetic, notwithstanding the slap at the building’s units going for “$5 million a pop”, but not specific enough to be really helpful.
 
These rich strolling-pushing Manolo-wearing moms (snarky bloggers are not sympathetic) are only asking that a portion of the cobblestone “street” be replaced, and make the point that the “street” has no sidewalk. That doesn’t sound quite as unreasonable as moving to the historic district because of its charm (old manufacturing heritage, which includes cobblestones and no sidewalks) then calling for the removal of the charm.
 
Should they be repatriated to the Upper West Side?
Community Board 1 has – so far – been less than sympathetic. The CB1 Landmarks Committee chair is quoted as though they should get back on the boat:
 
"If you don't like cobblestones in TriBeCa, live on the Upper West Side," he sniffed.
 
Fact is, the condo may be responsible if someone is injured walking in front of the building (ever try to shovel snow or ice off of cobblestones??). Fact is, sidewalks weren’t need on the block when (a) there were no pedestrians and (B) 18 wheelers pulled up right to the building edges. Would a real sidewalk impair that ‘authentic’ Tribeca grit on Laight Street? Maybe not….
 
Sounds as though Landmarks Preservation should let them pay for a real sidewalk without disturbing the street-full of cobblestones.
 
© Sandy Mattingly 2006
 
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Jul. 5, 2006 - You cant make this stuff up / condo owners rue authentic TriBeCa cobblestones

 

This one will inaugurate a new category ‘Truth IS Stranger…”.

 

Maybe they didn’t get the memo

One would assume that people move to TriBeCa, in part, because they appreciate that the neighborhood looks different from most residential neighborhoods in Manhattan. One would also assume that the folks who bought loft condominiums at 44 Laight St noticed that about 75 feet of the street in front of their building is cobblestone.

 

One might be wrong.

 

44 Laight Street is an 18 unit condo converted in 2004 from a hundred year old warehouse. Half the lofts in the building are more than 3500 square feet and there seem to have been 4 sales this year from $3 million-plus to almost $5 million.

 

(photo from the Tribeca Trib on-line)

 

If this does not work. you’ll have to scroll down through the July 2006 on-line issue of The TriBeCa Trib for the story (http://www.tribecatrib.com/) of the petition to have cobblestones removed in the Tribeca North historic district presented to Community Board 1.

 

“CB1’s Landmarks Committee, whose members include many longtime residents who consider the north section of the neighborhood to be the last unspoiled territory in Tribeca. Here, the cobblestones are protected and enjoy near-sacred status”

 

On the one hand, there are not many cobblestone streets left, and the survivors reflect the area’s distinctive mercantile and (relatively) ancient heritage. . On the other hand, cobblestones can be hard to walk on (even in flat shoes, and worse when wet or icy), and are much harder to push a stroller on than other surfaces. The situation for 44 Laight Street residents is made worse by the fact that there is no curb and no sidewalk in front of the building.

 

But these relative newcomers picked on the wrong sacred cow.

 

No mace at meetings

Neither the author of the article nor the CB1 Committee was sympathetic to the petition. The condo petitioner “may well have suffered far worse abuse had all of the [Landmarks] committee members been in attendance”, says the author, who proves it by quoting one committee member that if another member had been there “[the absent member] would have sprayed mace in your face”.

 

No telling if the condo representative appreciated what he missed, but they may persist in their request. CB1 had only an advisory role on this issue, since the authority to approve a change in the street composition rests with Landmarks Preservation Commission. An LPC official was quoted as saying that the condo has been in communication with the condo owners about possible alternatives that could pass muster.

 

When is a cobblestone not a cobblestone?

But they are not likely to be holding their breath at 44 Laight Street about getting a more stroller-friendly, heel-friendly surface.

“They need to seek our guidance as to what it is going to look like,” [the LPC official] said. And what might an acceptable solution look like?
“Cobblestones,” she said, “made of concrete.”

I would not want to push a stroller on concrete cobblestones, or walk on icy cobblestones, no matter what they were made of. Nor would I want to consider what a “concrete cobblestone” should properly be called. Odds are that the folks at 44 Laight Street won't have to do any of these things, either.

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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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