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Manhattan Loft Guy

Aug. 11, 2009 - did a jazz fan or a muppet maniac buy Mingus's place at 5 Great Jones Street?

cue Cindy Adams
(That's for "only in New York, kids"....) The Manhattan loft #2 at 5 Great Jones Street was marketed for its character ("authentic artist" loft, 14 foot tin ceilings) and its provenance ("[o]nce the home of Jazz great Charles Mingus and the creator of Big Bird Kermit Love"). At "2,300 sq ft" on a peculiar block, I am not sure if the February asking price of $1.995mm included a discount for condition or a premium for provenance. Either way, the mild April drop to $1.85mm certainly did the trick.

All in, it took only 5 months from coming to market February 13 to closing July 8, so that April price (and/or the character?) (and/or the provenance??) worked to not only get a deal, but a deal at that price. With no comp sale data in this small coop (looks like 4 units) and a limited number of comparable buildings on this block it is hard to get a feel for values here. If anything, hyper-local sales (in)activity suggests that the Mingus-Big Bird connection (not Mingus and Bird) did well, comparatively, given that it sold.

There was a recent unsuccessful attempt to sell a "2,000 sq ft" loft that boasted a "timeless" renovation for $1.695mm ($850/ft) right next door at 7 Great Jones; mirrored by the equally unsuccessful marketing of a smaller 2-bedroom loft ("1,200 sq ft") next door on the other side at 3 Great Jones for $1.295mm (under $1,100/ft). These asking prices failed to generate a deal, but asking $804/ft at 5 Great Jones got a deal at $804/ft for an "authentic" artist loft. (Nothing says "primitive" for a Manhattan loft -- as in needs a total upgrade -- quite as elegantly as "authentic" artist loft.)

getting carried away doing The Google...
Back when the listing was new (in February, at $1.995mm), Curbed's funky Friday post included the Wikipedia info that Mingus got evicted from this place -- for firing a gun through his wall into a neighbor's apartment (but the Wiki info is not sourced).

Curbed did not report on any Kermit Love connection to this loft, but this NY Times obituary notes that Love not only built Big Bird, but also Mr. Snuffleupagus, Oscar the Grouch and Cookie Monster; he also played the role of Willy the Hot Dog Man. I don't know if the listing agent is right about this loft having a Kermit Love connection, but this book excerpt (see p 72) notes that Love had his puppet-making studio on Great Jones Street. Perhaps this loft is where Big Bird was born!

I am thinking it was bought by a Sesame Street fan....

© Sandy Mattingly 2009



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Aug. 11, 2009 - RE: did a jazz fan or a muppet maniac buy Mingus's place at 5 Great Jones Street?

Posted by Chris Au

Hi Sandy, I was one of the listing agents for the property and it was indeed the one time residence and workplace of Kermit Love as his name was on the previous proprietary lease.

I can tell you that there were multiple bids for the property that led to it selling at the asking price.

Also, it was not in need of a total upgrade since the current owner is occupying the space as is and is not planning a renovation. Most of space was in very good condition but not ultra new and modern. Obviously there are those that don't prefer new and sleek. While it was not for everyone it was certainly the right space for the person that "got it."

I always appreciate your insights on the market and your knowledge of loft buildings. Keep up the great work!

Chris Au


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Aug. 15, 2009 - RE: did a jazz fan or a muppet maniac buy Mingus's place at 5 Great Jones Street?

Posted by Anonymous

thx for th confirmation about Kermit Love, Chris, and for stopping by

Sandy / MLG

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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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