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Manhattan Loft Guy

Aug. 10, 2013 - diversion is but more immersion in the muck

another stab at ARod, of course

Having gone off on insincere Ryan Braun not once, but twice (July 27, diversion: the baseball I told you so edition), I'd hate anyone to think that I am soft on #13 if I didn't have something (diverting?) to say about this Never A "True Yankee" fellow, Just because he wears The Pinstripes. Tut, tut, my friends. I am not claiming a badge of honor, but I have long believed The Rod was a serial abuser of PEDs, so never fully embraced him, even in the '09 euphoria. The problem with talking about him now is that he is such a piñata, and no one who swings at him wears a blindfold.

Here is my bottom line today (subject to change tomorrow, of course): the guy is almost certainly very guilty of significant baseball sins (obstruction of MLB "justice" among them), but Selig has forced him to appeal, which (because Selig prudently decided not to go to war against the Players Association) gave ARod the right to play pending the appeal. (Sorry, Evan Longoria, but that procedural safeguard protects all union members.)

And by choosing the deliberately provocative penalty of 211 games, Selig must have known he gave ARod no choice to appeal, and the union no choice but to back him. The union has to find out the limits of the Commissioner's power, and ARod ... well, every 16 games is worth about $2mm, so he's pretty motivated to see if an arbitrator will lop off even "a little" bit of the 211 games. Say he ended up twice what Braun got (65 games): that would save ARod about $8mm. Please don't tell me that you're certain that you would not appeal, if you were in ARod's shoes.

So fans get to boo, and commentators both professional and amateur get to comment, often amateurishly. Ugly stuff, but life goes on, and the Yankee season continues to circle the drain.

Emotionally, I am with Tyler Kepner in today's New York Times about ARod fatigue (though I am rather shocked a beat writer got to call a player "unctuous"). Cynically, I am with Dave Zirin in a dialogue post on the Times this week, about Selig And His Owners getting way too much credit and way too little blame for catching the "dirty players" years after they generated millions and millions for the owners (and I remain bemused and disgusted about the degree to which the NFL and other leagues still get away with doing much less than MLB has done). Romantically, I am with the elegant Doug Glanville, who wrote elegantly (and sentimentally) about baseball achievement and baseball fame and baseball numbers (yes, I still sit in the pews at The Church of Baseball).

So take your swings at The Human Piñata until you are tired or bored. It ain't just ARod, it ain't evil (or unreasonably "selfish") of him to appeal (or to exercise his bargained-for) rIght to play, and Bud Lite ain't no saint. Yes, it would be nice if the appeal can be heard within a few weeks, but I am not on that committee so don't blame me (or ARod) for the process.

Opening day, by the way, is less than 8 months away. Go watch a Major League Baseball game (or two) before then. Preferably, one not involving steam with NY on their shirts.

© Sandy Mattingly 2013

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Aug. 9, 2013 - Beach Street loft neighbor expands, takes out neighbor at fair price


once more into the breach … er … beach

The recent private sale of the “1,722 sq ft” Manhattan loft #6C at 62 Beach Street in the Fischer Mills Building for $3.05mm ($1,771/ft) fascinates me. I always wonder how private deals set the prices at which they are done, and this one lines up well with the prior public sale in the building (#6B at $2.875mm a year ago, at $1,750/ft). I also always wonder how deals between neighbors who share a wall or ceiling/floor get done, and I have sometimes used the ugly word “extortion” to describe what can happen when an owner realizes a neighbor really really really wants to expand (I canvassed my neighbor-on-neighbor action as recently as in my August 7, 1 Worth Street loft neighbor bails out neighbor, at a (likely) discount; see that one for many examples). In the case of #6C selling near #6B a year ago, another fascinating detail is that the guy who bought the #6B on August 30 at $2.875mm in a public sale (that benchmark $1,750/ft) is the same guy who just paid $1,771/ft in a private sale. My last fascinating detail? It looks like the #6C seller was more willing than eager, yet made a deal at a fair price.

Given that the #6C seller did not look for anyone else to sell to, I would imagine that the #6B owner started the conversation, probably saying he’d like to buy her place at a fair price, probably adding that when he paid $1,750/ft a year ago that seller paid a sales fee. Assuming 5%, that seller would have gotten no more than $1,648/ft. What’s a fair premium over accounting for the 10 months between the #6B buy and the #6C sale? These folks think it is 7.5% on a price per foot basis.

Fascinating. The guy set a non-penthouse dollar-per-foot building record when he bought #6B in 2012; he just re-set the record in his deal to expand his castle into #6C.

do you like your brick white or natural?
As a private sale with no marketing, there’s no way to know the condition of #6C, but we are talking about a 2001 new condo conversion that the recent seller bought in 2003 (for
$1.56mm, if you’re curious). Chance are, it is in the same condition as originally, with a bit of wear and tear, including a Poggenpohl kitchen and 5 fixture master bath with Lagos Azul stone, radiant-heated floors and custom wood vanity (as in the #5D listing from 2010). Our listing system has an interior photo from 2003 that shows the open room with the exposed brick and wood beams that are part of the charm of Fischer Mills, which will make for an interesting aesthetic choice for the new owner of the two lofts. He bought #6B last year with the brick walls painted white and (possibly) the “rough-hewn timber columns and beams” somewhat muted (compare the #6B listing photos to the really rough-hewn timber columns and beams in the pix from this recent #2C rental listing).

Ten years ago, #6C looked a lot more like #2C than like #6B. When he does the coming combination, will he keep it old-school (like #2C) or white and more muted (#like #6B, in 2012 at least)?

© Sandy Mattingly 2013

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Aug. 8, 2013 - does residential "loft" mean something different in California housing?

paging Inigo Montoya*

In today’s Home and Garden section of the New York Times, a Great Homes and Destinations feature (Riding in Tandem), a California couple who built a brand new “empty nest” on a half acre on the outskirts of Mill Valley is profiled. (That it is “4,000 sq ft” of empty is just one [unintended] irony of the whole thing.) The wife designed the place, as “
[f]or a decade[,] she had been envisioning their empty nest as an urban loft, an industrial backdrop for her growing art collection”. I get it that she meant “like” an urban loft, as this half acre on the edge of town is hardly “urban”; what I don’t get is what makes this space “loft-like”. Times writer Sandy Keenan seems to have bought into this notion of loft-like, as did the caption writer for the main photo accompanying the article (“loft-like space”).

You have to go to the slide show (“Empty Nest As Urban Loft”; ha!) to get a good sense of the house. I see a lot of corrugated steel walls, one wall that is “a patchwork of unfinished steel plate”, a “dramatic corrugated zinc wall”, and what might be concrete (or some composite) flooring (not hardwood; see, especially pic #3 and #6). I read all the materials (including the glass and steel) and the strong horizontal lines as “modern house”, a la Philip Johnson, rather than as “urban loft”, especially as the element that most gives a sense of “volume” is the incorporation of the outdoors, in:
The design they came up with centers on an open living area that flows directly into a courtyard with a solar-powered lap pool, making the 4,000-square-foot house seem even larger.
In fact, this house seems (to me) to be the epitome of California Modern. Spectacular, in its way, for sure for sure. You show me a “4,000 sq ft” Manhattan loft and I guarantee it will show ‘volume’ in a vastly different way, particularly if it has only 3 bedrooms, as this house seems to. (Yes, I know the ghost of Philip Johnson designed an Urban Glass House [330 Spring Street], and that there’s a “4,256 sq ft” penthouse on top, with 10 rooms and 2 terraces; it sold for over $11mm back in the day with surviving public marketing [of that “apartment”] that lacks multiple photos or a floor plan. I will leave for another day the rant that the non-penthouse spaces in the building are not very loft-y [to a snob like me], though they are often marketed as such. For today, I will continue to believe that the penthouse is a lot more loft-y than the Mill Valley, California modern masterpiece.)
This lady has probably been in different urban lofts than I have. And, if an urban loft aesthetic was her inspiration and she and her husband believe she achieved it, then god bless ‘em. I hope they enjoy it. (And the adult “boys” when they visit.)
just ‘cuz you are paranoid does not mean they are not out to get you
This is the second time this week I have had the feeling the New York Times is baiting me (see my August 3, New York Times explains “how to land a loft”). Sandy Keenan writes a nice piece about a nice couple who built their dream empty nest. (Wait … what is her first name??) The couple has a nice story, in fact (“domestique” is brilliant) and their house is awfully nice. The fact that it does not fit my idea of an “urban loft” is not anything they should care about; but it is something a Manhattan Loft Guy can blog about.
*Even if you are not a Princess Bride fan, this may sound familiar: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
© Sandy Mattingly 2013
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Aug. 7, 2013 - 1 Worth Street loft neighbor bails out neighbor, at a (likely) discount



not an act of charity

Hold on to your hats: this will be a bit of a bouncy ride. As I will explain, it is hard to blame StreetEasy too much for the sheer irrationality of the apparent listing history of the recently sold “1,525 sq ft” Manhattan loft two flights up at #3R at 1 Worth Street. Yes, the loft was listed for sale in 2011 and again in 2012 (the first link, above) at $1.495mm and $1.695mm, and yes, it did just sell on June 26 at $1.26mm, and yes, there is an active listing at $1.795mm on the brokerage firm’s website if you click through the “2012” listing on StreetEasy. The short story that most interests me is that the next-door neighbor bought the loft in pretty primitive condition (“[b]ring your vision and your architect”) after it failed in the public market, at a price well below the former asking prices; the longer story, explained further below, is that he only wanted a piece of it, and will eventually resell the remainder after it is all dressed up.

Start with that 2011 listing: it wasn’t a long effort (just 2 weeks), but may have planted a seed in the mind of the #3F owner. Now look at only the 2012 portion of the longer “effort” on StreetEasy:

  • May 31, 2012 new to market $1.695mm
  • July 4 $1.495mm
You can’t tell from StreetEasy, but at some point last Summer the sales effort petered out. I can’t tell if it was really off the market, or if it was still active on the web, but the inter-firm data-base shows that 9 open houses were scheduled between June 17 and August 1 last year, then … crickets. Agents don’t always enter the termination dates for exclusive sales agreements, and don’t always update a listing that goes dormant as “temporarily” or “permanently” off the market, but the fact that there was no public activity on the web and no open houses from August 1, 2012 until the June 26, 2013 deed suggests that the #3R seller was not actively marketing in that period.

But the guy next door knew he wanted to sell....

The guy next door has lived in #3F after completing a renovation of an even more primitive loft than #3R, purchased on May 24, 2007 for $1.135mm in this condition:

this is as close to old Tribeca as you will find today. ... open beamed ceilings, original columns and hardwood floors. Seven large windows span the South wall to light the entire space and two in the kitchen face North. Currently an untouched one bedroom, its open layout allows for myriad possibilities. This third floor walk-up is an estate property and it looks it. If you have vision and are looking for a challenge this just might be your perfect match

Having done that once, it was not such a big deal to take on (another)

original Tribeca Loft...a limited number of places you can renovate to your taste!! .... Great storage and lots of flexibility for renovation.Bring your vision and your architect

(He already had the “vision”, and an architect.)

If loft #3R really is “1,525 sq ft”, the #3F owner paid $826/ft for the opportunity to use his vision and employ his architect and contractor, after the #3R owner failed to find anyone else to sell it to at $1,111/ft and $980/ft.

If only there were a way to put those three numbers ($826/ft, $1,111/ft and $980/ft) in context ….

a little history

As luck would have it, in my February 11, 1 Worth Street loft sells after renovation / how building values change, I reviewed past sales at 1 Worth Street going back a few years, with the specific angle of how a building with primitive lofts that get upgraded will be treated in subsequent markets.

Despite different market conditions and (slightly) different conditions, these three past sales [March 2008, December 2009, February 2011] line up nicely: $757/ft, $788/ft, and $800/ft. And they line up quite a distance from the new #6R at an adjusted$1,113/ft. A few more resales of renovated lofts at 1 Worth Street and The Market will be more reluctant to automatically apply a market discount to this sunny corner near prime Tribeca. There is at least one neighbor for whom the transition cannot happen soon enough.

That “one neighbor for whom the transition can’t happen soon enough” as of February was, of course, loft #3R. That neighbor did not sell (as noted) at $1,111/ft or $980/ft, and the eventual clearing price of $826/ft does line up nicely with the prior $757/ft, $788/ft, and $800/ft in those three different sets of market conditions.

remember: not an act of charity

Regular readers of Manhattan Loft Guy know that one of the circumstances that fascinates me is when a neighbor sells to a neighbor. I think this was the last time: June 7, extortion or neighborly consideration 505 Greenwich Street loft? you decide, but there have been so many....

In this case it is hard to know how the $826/ft paid by the #3F owner to buy #3R compares to true market value, as I am leery of the square footage quotes in this building. If pushed (go ahead: make my day!) I would say that the #3F owner got “a deal” for #3R at $826/ft given that this one is only two flights up and is essentially flat to the February 2011 sale at $800/ft, in very different market conditions. Yet the #3R owner tested the market and made the best deal he could with the only buyer willing to buy. Whether or not the buyer “took advantage of” the seller is a moral judgment no outsider can make; price just looks a little lioght to me.

the end of this story is just the middle of another

I am going to add this bit because the StreetEasy sequence is so bizarre, so in need of some explanation, and I happen to have heard one that makes sense. The word on the street is that the #3F owner only wants a little bit of #3R, which is why that brokerage website mentioned above (and the extant StreetEasy page) talks about a “Completely Renovated” loft. It ain’t yet, but it will be, after the #3F owner carves a little bit out of #3R and finishes fixing up what is left over.

It will be interesting to see how much value The Market thinks has been added in the renovation from a primitive 1-bedroom-1-bath loft to a (slightly smaller) 2-bedroom-2-bath loft. But that is a topic for another day, after The Market decides.

© Sandy Mattingly 2013

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Aug. 5, 2013 - 22 Warren Street penthouse loft sells 6% above ask with 3 terraces, only 2 bedrooms

the limits of the loft form
There is a way to turn the recently sold “2,053 sq ft” Manhattan duplexed penthouse loft on the 6th floor at 22 Warren Street in southeast Tribeca into 3 bedrooms, but it would be hugely expensive. Not in dollars, as carpentry is relatively cheap, but in impact: the floor plan shows that the (if-split) bedrooms on the lower level of this duplex would each be 11 feet wide, ruining the glory that is the master suite:

gorgeous, north-facing oversized master suite, located on the main level, includes double-height solarium windows, a private terrace, walk-in closet, sitting area and en suite bathroom with a Kohler Sok, ultra-deep therapeutic bath and separate glass encased shower with multiple jets

That would be a shame (leaving one bedroom without a closet and the other with a long walk upstairs to a full bathroom), and a choice that (nearly?) all penthouse loft buyers in the $3mm range would avoid. The recent buyers didn’t just pay $3.55mm to ruin that master suite; they paid $3.55mm because they they had to (the $200,000 premium to ask indicates there was at least one other set of buyers) and because they don’t need more than 2 real bedrooms but plan to enjoy “more than 1,000-square feet of private outdoor space” separated into 3 different terraces.

That’s what can happen with lofts: even with over 2,000 sa ft of interior space, it is a 2-bedroom, period. “Apartment” lovers would freak out.

another StreetEasy miss

If you clicked on the StreetEasy listing, you’d never know the penthouse had been actively available for sale (May 2: “Listed in StreetEasy, already in contract, by CORE at $3,350,000”). If you clicked on the StreetEasy building page, you’d see that a unit #6 sold on June 27 at $3.55mm, but “No listing [is] associated with this closing”. StreetEasy has been doing this a lot lately, though often you can figure out the listing that is associated with the sale. But there’s no way to do that with StreetEasy with this sale. Of course the penthouse loft was publicly marketed; here’s the real story from the inter-firm data-base:

Jan 30

new to market


Feb 28



June 27



the great outdoors

Yes, that master suite is gorgeous, but the money is outdoors. A full-width terrace at each end of the lower floor, plus a rooftop terrace way up on top. In all, over 1,000 sq ft, as noted. There’s no photo of that upper terrace, alas. The last sale in the building was the single-level full floor “1,800 sq ft” 4th floor on Leap Day in 2012 (gotta click around StreetEasy to find that it closed for $1.9mm), so the 6th floor at $3.55mm includes rather a large premium for the great outdoors. The comp adjustments between the 4th and 6th floors 16 months apart are basic, but difficult to quantify: similar quality and utility (2 real bedrooms and an interior room on the 4th floor floor plan), though the 11 foot ceilings on the 4th floor are trumped by the 17 feet on the 6th, with the 6th having the much better light from the massive skylights … er … “solarium windows”.

In order to have some basis for riffing with The Miller about the value of the 6th floor terraces, let’s guess that the ceilings and light are worth as much as 10% more on the 6th floor, with the 16 months spread between sales worth another 10% premium for the 6th floor. (I am going to ignore the small 4th floor terrace in this exercise; sue me.) That moves the $1,056/ft for the 4th floor in February 2012 up to $1,267/ft for the 6th floor interior. That implies the interior was worth $2.6mm of the recent market value, with the $955,000 balance allocated to the “more than 1,000 sq ft”. if you guess that the “more than 1,000 sq ft” is really 1,100 sq ft, that’s $868/ft for the exterior space, or 68% of the value of the interior on a $/ft basis.

This implied valuation is outside The Miller’s rubric (25% to 50% of the interior value), and is dependent on the validity of the assumptions made in comping from the 4th floor sale. While dramatic, I think this is an appropriate reflection of what happened: buyers who might have spent just $2.6mm for interior space spent $3.55mm for the whole package, in part because Tribeca private rooftop space is pretty rare, and in part because there was another set of buyers pushing them.

Your mileage may vary.

© Sandy Mattingly 2013



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Aug. 3, 2013 - New York Times explains "how to land a loft"


I take this personally

The headline feels like Manhattan Loft Guy bait, at least to me: the latest Michelle Higgins Sunday real estate piece in the Old Grey Lady is How To Land A Loft (in tomorrow’s physical paper, on-line now of course). The thesis is that in a tight Manhattan loft market, buying a commercial loft and going through the process of converting it to legally residential space expands the market. True that. Higgins can’t be accused of sugar-coating the difficulties, as her examples include folks who formed an LLC with complete strangers in 2010, paid their share of the LLC’s purchase of the building ($800/ft) around the beginning of 2011 and began renovation, moved in in September 2011 (not sure if that was legal, yet), while renovations continued through June 2012. They have a spectacular loft, now (apparently) a legal residence, which they believe “cost 20 to 30 percent less per square foot than a regular apartment”. It’s nice when it works.

Interesting stuff, not for the faint-hearted (or poorly capitalized). It is one thing to buy into an established residential coop or condo, with a history of operations that establishes that the strangers who will become your new neighbors can run a building for mutual benefit; it is another thing to start a LLC with the hope that all will get along well enough to build out the building and navigate the darn regulatory twists and turns to get legal residence status, and then run the thing for mutual benefit of all. It is one thing to get a standard residential mortgage (even a big one), at favorable rates based on your own credit worthiness; it is another thing to get a commercial loan as part of an LLC (higher rates, higher down payment) and hope to refinance down the line, when all is done. It is one thing to take on all this uncertainty, and project management as a professional developer; it is another for civilians to bite off the same challenges. Again: It’s nice when it works.

Fascinating stuff, and a sober (and seemingly fair) rendition. Having been involved with two buyers this year who considered lofts with Certificate of Occupancy or other Department of Buildings issues (one bought in, one bought elsewhere) I have seen the toll that uncertainty and bureaucratic swamps can cause even sophisticated buyers. (Those folks did not set out to buy such problematic properties, unlike the folks profiled by HIggins.)

cleaning up building issues, literally

The story about the “a green-insulation consultant, bought an 1,800-square-foot loft in the flower district in Chelsea for $970,000” 8 years ago makes for great journalism. First,

“It should have been a 6- to 12-month process,” ... adding that outstanding building issues have continued to thwart her efforts.

(That’s “continued”, as in 8 years later.) Second,

Ultimately, [she] and a few other residents in the 16-unit building who were in the same boat took matters into their own hands. First they tackled the fees accumulating from improperly sorted refuse. “I put on a mask and gloves and started going through our garbage,” she said. “It was disgusting.”

She supervised work on the elevator to make sure it would pass inspection. And with help from neighbors, she cleaned out the basement, clearing it of dusty sinks, old televisions and other discarded items. “We literally got rid of all that stuff, and then because the process took so long, we did that again.”

Sometimes it takes more than money to solve these problems. Eight years later.

That flower district building is pictured in the Times, so it is easy to see which building she has been cleaning up. That’s her purchase on February 17, 2005 on the StreetEasy building page. Only two lofts identified as commercial units in this 16 story building have changed hands since 2004, with 9 others sold without being identified as commercial. (Presumably, this building is like the nearby Capitol Building at 236 West 26 Street, which has a mix of commercial and residential lofts; hence, that energetic owner and [only] “a few other residents in the 16-unit building who were in the same boat”.....)

I’ve hit sales here only once, in my December 15, 2011, 151 West 28 Street loft sells at $694/ft, $400,000 short of triple mint. The data set is not large enough to see if there really is a difference in value between the “few” units in the same (commercial) boat and the others, but so far no one has sold for as much as $1,000/ft, even after mint-y renovations. (My post hit loft #4W as the ‘done’ pole in a pair of done/not done neighbors sold in 2011; the also done loft #4E could not break 4-figures-per-foot when it sold as recently as 9 months ago.

Not for the faint-hearted, my friends!

© Sandy Mattingly 2013

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Aug. 1, 2013 - 176 Broadway loft finally sells (at $556/ft!)

apparently, buyers prefer windows (go figure)

I know of no downtown Manhattan loft building that The Market treats the way it does 176 Broadway. There remains a mystery (to me*) legacy that causes things like this to happen: the “1,906 sq ft” Manhattan loft #8D at 176 Broadway just sold for $1.06mm (yes, $556/ft) after taking 18 months to find a contract. It is decidedly not a wreck, or even a project:

fully renovated ... stunning hardwood floors, exceptional closet space, many built-ins, central air conditioning.... large eat-in gourmet kitchen [with] stainless steel Sub-Zero refrigerator-freezer, Viking range, and Bosch dishwasher, with beautiful dark hardwood cabinets and an extensive work area with Corian counter-tops

The footprint is very close to the square that can be ideal for loft living. But, to repeat: FIVE HUNDRED FIFTY-SIX DOLLARS PER FOOT. I have not updated all the $/ft fields on the Master List of Manhattan Lofts Sold Since November 2008 yet, but that will easily be the lowest such value of 2013 apart from a ground floor and below working artist loft at 18 Mercer Street (and including a loft destroyed in The Storm that has yet to be rebuilt, which I hit in my June 18, when bad things ($605/ft!) happen to nice lofts, super storm edition at 79 Laight Street). And remember: loft #8D is “fully renovated”.

not hip to be square like this
The difficulty with the footprint is more evident from the photos than it is from the floor plan. Do you see how bright the living room and kitchen listing photos are? Do you see all the mirrors? Do you see any windows?

All the windows, such as they are, line the least wall of the loft, and are within the library, the office, and the bedroom. In other words, that nicely proportioned great room and kitchen completely lack windows. And if you look at (through) the windows in the photos you see … not much. There’s a nearby building through there, and little (if any) light.

The other limitation on the floor plan is numeric: 1.5, as in a full bath in the “master” (only) bedroom, and a half bath abutting the kitchen. If you converted one of those working rooms with windows into a bedroom, you need to add a tub or shower to the half bath. (Not a difficult task, very likely, but more than some buyers of “fully renovated” space would relish taking on.

Given that the buyer pool specifically interested in low-light lofts or apartments is rather thin, it is not so surprising that this loft had a history like this:

Oct 6, 2011 new to market $1.45mm
Feb 20, 2012   $1.3mm
April 20, 2013


June 17 sold $1.06mm

The market for 1-bedroom lofts near 2,000 sq ft may not be similarly small, but the thin-on-small combination can account for timing and pricing problems.

The full history shows that the seller had considerable timing and pricing problems. She worked her way up to the final successful campaign:  tried to sell in
2006 (3 months, asking $1.7mm [!]) and in 2008 (5 months, asking $1.495mm and $1.275mm) and in 2010 (10 months, starting at $1.3mm and getting down to 6-figures). The final 18 months needed to get a contract done is nearly a linear continuation of those earlier efforts.

As much as a cynic is tempted to carp at a seller who has such a hard time finding the right price in the right market, give her credit: she started
seven years ago, she used 4 firms, but at the end of the day she took a final 18% off her last asking price to sign a contract.

‘tis a puzzlement
* I have touched on this mystery as long ago as six years ago, in the text and some commentary to my August 2, 2007,
more BOM pain / 176 Broadway is back. In reviewing then-recent sales activity, I commented

That’s four lofts in nine months at an average of $664 per sq ft.

In contrast, #4D is a low floor, overlooking a courtyard, and probably needs updating and a second bathroom. $611/ft seems a reasonable asking price. A bargain for people who love the neighborhood; unthinkable at any price for those who do not.

I’ve not been back here often, with the only other post that comes up being my December 9, 2008,
176 Broadway has a closing 40% off the original price (in which the headline only hints at that top-line story: that loft sold for $515/ft before adjusting for two patios).

Facts is facts, but reasons are reasons. If a reader knows why the market beats up on this building so much, please let me know.

© Sandy Mattingly 2013


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Jul. 30, 2013 - B side of the hyper-local market at 51 Walker Street is up 25% since 2011

more or less, in theory
Of course a continual theme on Manhattan Loft Guy is how a specific data point (loft sale) relates to The market over time, often by reference to a specific set of market conditions in which the loft (or one like … er … comparable to it) did (or did not) sell. Of course there were a few such examples last week, and one about the 2011 market from the week before (July 19, 108 Reade Street loft goes to war, secretly, beats the heck out of 2011 market). In that vein, I present for your consideration the recent sale of the "1,642 sq ft" Manhattan loft #7B at 51 Walker Street, which just sailed through the market at $2.55mm, a slight premium to the ask, 2.5 years after the neighbor downstairs in the identical #6B had a bit of trouble finding a buyer, finally closing at $1.95mm.


You can do the math as easily as I, but in case you don’t want any trouble: that’s a $600,000 premium for #7B in June 2013 over #6B in January 2011, or 30%. We can assign some of that to the slightly better light on the slightly higher floor (neither boasted about views, only about light), but not a lot. (The developer thought the higher floor, including transfer taxes, was worth precisely $76,369 more when they both sold in January 2007.)

height matters, only a little
Neither the sets of broker babble not the sets of listing photos distinguish #7B from #6B in any way. But we do know in this building at which point height matters. In my September 25, 2012,
height matters for 51 Walker Street lofts, even 2 floors, I hit the “A” line pair on the 6th and 8th floor, which then had sold at essentially the same time. The 8th floor catches an icon: “open sky and city views including the Chrysler Building”. That icon was worth 15%, or $295,000 in the slightly smaller (“1,550 sq ft”) ”A” line.

Add this post, and this information about values on the 6th, 7th and 8th floors in this specific building in northeast Tribeca, to any conversation you have with The Miller about valuing light without regard to views. I riffed with the guy in my December 3, 2012,
how to value light without also valuing views? The Miller gives it a shot, NY Magazine gives it a forum. In this case, I don’t think it likely that the 7th floor light was worth 6-figures over the 6th floor light, so I would put the June 2013 premium over the January 2011 value at $500,000, or 25%. At least.


© Sandy Mattingly 2013


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Jul. 28, 2013 - OYAToMLG the ruthless stagers, revisited

one more time, again
I still haven’t gotten around to tweeting them, so only the most faithful of Manhattan Loft Guy readers checked out my two weeks worth of pre-scheduled vacation posts from the archives earlier this month. (Note to self ….) There’s good stuff, just as there is elsewhere in the archives. As a non-diversion, I offer from One Year Ago Today on Manhattan Loft Guy my July 28, 2012
ruthless stagers, indeed! NY Times nails story about marketing apartments (and lofts!), about a pretty terrific New York Times review of stagers and their (occasional) magic, with a very terrific before-and-after set of photos in the accompanying slideshow.


Those most faithful readers will remember a cross-referenced post from that set of vacation __Years Ago on Manhattan Loft Guy posts:


a link to my July 12, a tale of 2 lofts: did (removable) decor add $126/ft to value of one 32 West 18 Street loft?, a post I wrote after talking at length to Gootman and somewhat with this topic in mind. That was a rare exercise of aesthetics for me, looking at two essentially identical lofts with totally different ‘feels’ because of how they were decorated. There was nothing wrong with the one loft, but that other was just spectacular, a difference accomplished with only a few changes in materials, but mostly with minimalist decor and (especially) window treatments.




© Sandy Mattingly 2013


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Jul. 27, 2013 - diversion: the baseball I told you so edition

a new day dawns
The big baseball news of the week made my jaw drop when it hit alert screens all over the inter-tubes. (No, speculation about Yankee 3rd basepeople does not qualify as “news”.) When Ryan Braun (and the toughest employee union in the country) conceded a 65 game suspension it showed that two things are very likely to be true: the evidence coming out of the scummy Biogenesis folks is very strong, and Major League Baseball is going to go very hard after everyone it can reach. So … many more shoes to drop.

If you care about MLB at all and if you’re a Manhattan Loft Guy reader for a good while, you may remember my diversionary post about the last time this bubbled strongly. In my February 26, 2012,
diversionary Sunday: Ryan Braun is NOT "innocent", I pointed out the limits on what had been established when Ryan Braun won his appeal. In light of this week’s plea bargain, Braun was obviously as guilty then as he is now.

There’s a long piece yet to be written by me about the contradictions inherent in the “relationships” between sports celebrities and fans (they’re performers who don’t owe us anything; but why are they marketed by teams and purveyors as likable and reliable?), but for now (if you have the appetite)I will just link to one of the more thoughtful (less hysterical) pieces holding Braun to account (from
Josh Levin on Slate) and some links to the guy I linked to the last time that are in performers-are-just-performers camp (Craig Calcaterra, here, here, and here). I again disagree with Calcaterra, but he is making a case about as well as it can be made.

Particularly if you don’t need those links, or have much of an appetite for this tawdry stuff, I offer Forget PEDs, Baseball Is Fun As Hell Right Now from Jonah Keri Grantland, not as an antidote so much as a suggestion. Even a Yankee fan can appreciate this stuff. Not in the Bronx in 2013, but it’s a beautiful game.


© Sandy Mattingly 2013


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Jul. 26, 2013 - 255 Hudson Street loft sells 19% below 2007, after 15 months, 9 prices

and now for something completely different
Ever get tired of reading about how hot hot hot The Market is? I don’t, but the recent sale of the “1,684 sq ft” Manhattan loft
#6A at 255 Hudson Street in “Soho” (I’ve expressed my preference that this little corner be dubbed The Greater Ear Inn Micro-Nabe [TGEIMN™] before) may be a tonic for some, a respite for others, or just plain weird for the rest of you.

Even in an overall Manhattan residential real estate market that is overheated, it takes a willing seller and a willing buyer to make the market; if the seller, though willing, is not realistic about value, no buyer will be willing. For example, a seller who thinks a loft is worth, say, $3.1mm may be out there a while, and have to adjust a lot, to find that the clearing price (by definition, the market value) is only $2.5mm. Even in a frenzied “seller’s market”. Even if the seller had good reason to think the value was (around) $3.1mm.

For example:


Feb 22, 2012 new to market $2.925mm
Feb 22   $3.1mm
Aug 1   $2.999mm
Oct 15   $2.95mm
Nov 19   $2.875mm
Nov 27   $2.8mm
Dec 14   $2.75mm
Mar 18, 2013   $2.675mm
May 15*   $2.6mm
May 17 contract  
June 19 sold $2.5mm


(*Personally, I doubt that the last price drop was real, in that there was almost certainly an accepted offer already based on the contract date, but that sequence is also in the inter-firm data-base so I am going to go with it here, and in the Master List of Manhattan Lofts Sold Since November 2008.)

You know this from the headline, but to recap: that is 15 months to contract and 9 asking prices. The discount from highest ask to clearing price: 19%. Market time until the first price drop: 5 months. Price drops in the last quarter of 2012: 4.

That last datum is interesting, as you can almost smell the seller’s desperation. After stubbornly sitting at $3.1mm for those 5 months, and then at $2.999mm for another 2.5 months, the seller came up with a cosmetic price drop and then a series of 5-figure price drops. Death by small cuts. Remember: this was in market conditions universally (and correctly) described as dramatically tilted in favor of sellers. A whiff of “desperation” should not matter in a deep market, as there should be enough buyers that one would recognize a price cut too deep, though in this case The Market seems to have punished the loft.

was 2007 an outlier?
I say that The Market
seems to have punished the loft for the same reason the seller thought the thing was worth $2.925mm or more: the recent seller paid $2.925mm to buy it on December 14, 2007. That so-near-as-to-be-essentially-Peak value is impossible to reconcile with the June 2013 value, so I am not going to try. (The 2007 StreetEasy listing history is incomplete, but I will not bore you with the details except to note that the inter-firm data-base shows this loft was actively marketed until a contract on October 31, 2007, with asking prices oddly and quickly bouncing from $3.125mm to $2.445mm and back; the deal was reached off that higher number.)

It is hard to conclude that The Market picked out loft #6B for punishment, as at $1,485/ft it dramatically out-performed the smaller (“1,407 sq ft”) 2-bedroom, 2-bath
#6A next door, which sold at $1.71mm ($1,215/ft) after a very long time on the market. One-bedroom units have sold in the building at $1,476/ft on April 2 and at $1,432/ft on November 8, 2012; these are the only non-townhouse sales in the building in the last 12 months, with no evidence of #6B being punished here, either.

The recent seller of loft #6A was wrong about the market in 2012 and 2013, just as he was wrong about the market in 2007. I have no way of knowing whether there was another buyer interested in #6A in late 2007, but I do have a way of knowing that the $2.925mm purchase on December 14, 2007 was an outlier for its time: a quick scan of the Streeteasy
building page tells me that this was a building record on a dollar-per-foot basis for non-penthouse, non-townhouse properties, and there’s this: the identical loft upstairs at #7A sold on December 21, 2007 for $2.6mm. Or, take the identical loft above that: #8A did not sell in 2007 while asking $2.775mm and $2.695mm, or in early 2008 at $2.6mm.

Hard cold fact: the corporation that just sold #6A at a significant loss did so because it overpaid in 2007, not because the market punished it in 2013. O. U. C. H.

© Sandy Mattingly 2013



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Jul. 25, 2013 - is the hyper-local Manhattan loft market at 80 John Street up more than 5% in a year?

and now for something a little different
After looking twice this week at Manhattan lofts that sold high recently after not selling in 2009, the recent sale of the “875 sq ft” mini-loft
#14A at 80 John Street (the troubled South Star) presents a slightly different wrinkle. Loft #14A just sold at $940,000 (quickly and above ask) after not selling for 5 months in mid-2012 while asking as little as $895,000. Rather than illustrating the difference in market conditions, now compared to the post-nuclear winter thaw that characterized the overall Manhattan residential real estate market in mid-2009, loft #14A is a data point in support of the proposition that the market is up more than 5% in a year, in this little corner of the Financial District at least.

Year-to-year, the ask (eventually) was the same; the results different:

May 4, 2012 new to market $950,000
May 17   $900,000
July 17   $895,000
Aug 27 off the market  
Mar 14, 2013 new to market $895,000
April 17 contract  
June 17 sold $940,000

If you take only the end of the 2012 marketing campaign, that market had only 6 weeks to digest the loft at $895,000, but also had another 4 weeks to digest it at its functional equivalent ask of $900,000. Indeed, I would argue that the asking price history suggests the seller in 2012 would have leapt at the chance to sell for $940,000 and would likely have happily negotiated well below that, if only a buyer in 2012 had been willing to deal. Clearly, no one was, then.

Fast forward less than 7 months and the market reacted to the old (reduced) asking price immediately and enthusiastically, driving the clearing price nearly to the original (May 2012) ask. Same loft, different market conditions.

litigation is a story for diligence
The numbers are the numbers are the numbers. Of course, they don’t lie; but neither do they explain. I don’t know
why the 2013 buyer was willing to pull the trigger at $940,000 in April 2013 when no one was willing to do anything like that a year ago, but it may have to do with the due diligence looking a little less dire now, than then.

When I hit this building for the first (and only other) time in my January 8,
the baths get a little crowded, as another South Star loft at 80 John Street clears below sponsor sale, I kinda sorta bragged about not knowing the details of litigation by this condo against the developer (and against my firm, so cynics should check their salt supply), and I am happy to still not have any details. My guess is that any due diligence by a competent buyer attorney before that case was filed 7 months ago would have revealed a lot of … debris. That debris likely contributed to the resale market being both thin and weak, with the #14A performance in 2012 as a likely example.

Maybe the suit actually being brought solidified things enough to make it easier for buyer attorneys to assess risk (thereby, to grease the hyper-local market), or maybe the overall Financial District small-loft market is just more solid in 2013. Whatever, just sold for 7% more than the sellers paid when they bought it from the sponsor on August 9, 2007. That January 8 post was about a neighbor that sold for 10% less than the full 2007 consideration, in which I noted why that sale was of interest:

Looking back at 10 resales in 2012 on the StreetEasy building page (2 sales were of sponsor units) and finding only two 2012 deed prices above the 2007 deed prices will pique my interest.

In 2013, there have been 6 other public resales, with uneven results. Three sold below the total consideration paid by those 2013 sellers in 2007; 3 sold above. The performance of loft #14A looks pretty good in comparison:

  • #4D sold 11% above the sponsor sale (perhaps because the sponsor sale was so early in 2007??)
  • #7F sold 4% above
  • #11A sold 1.7% above
  • #2C sold 19% off the sponsor sale price
  • #10D sold 14% off, explicitly as a short sale
  • #19B sold 9% off

© Sandy Mattingly 2013



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Jul. 23, 2013 - not thawed in 2009, Lion's Head loft sells 9% over ask, 54% over 2006

let’s make it this week’s theme
Yesterday I featured a Soho penthouse loft that did not sell under $4mm in 2009 (and 2010!) but recently sold for $5mm (July 22,
no thaw was good news for (eventual) penthouse loft seller at 347 West Broadway). Today we make it an official Manhattan Loft Guy theme, presenting for your consideration the “1,925 sq ft” Manhattan loft #8B at 121 West 19 Street (the Lion’s Head), which just sold for $2.8mm after not selling off an asking price of $2.2mm just as the overall Manhattan residential real estate market was beginning to thaw out of the apocalyptic nuclear winter that began on September 15, 2008.

In an additional parallel to yesterday’s loft, loft #8B also sold above ask (yesterday, 7.5% over; today, 9% over), and was similarly quick this time (20 days to contract, yesterday; today, 25 days). Yesterday's Soho penthouse loft tested the (generally) thawing market for quite a long time, but loft #8B showed far less patience back in the day:

Feb 27, 2009 new to market $2.22mm
June 3 off the market  
Mar 14, 2013 new to market $2.55mm
April 8 contract  
June 26 sold $2.8mm

some upgrades, some premium
I am not sufficiently familiar with the original condition in which Lion’s Head lofts were sold in 2006 by the developer to recognize all the “tasteful upgrades” beyond those claimed in the broker babble (“dining area has a custom built hutch and recessed spotlighting” and “built-in surround sound speakers” and “California Closets and a great built-in shoe cabinet”), but the window treatments seem nice.

I don’t see how a hutch, lighting, sound, and even the most tasteful closets can account for the premium that loft #8B just got over its neighbors, but at $1,454/ft beats the other four Lion’s Head public sales in 2013 handily (StreetEasy building page,
here; #5A on June 20 was at $1,165/ft, #9E on May 7 was at $1,364/ft, #4C on February 28 was at $1,122/ft, and #8E on January 15 was at $1,301/ft) and it appears to be a building record for a non-penthouse unit resale on a dollar per foot basis.


Must be some hutch.

Here’s another way to see how deep the nuclear winter was and how the thaw was delayed at the Lion’s Head. That building page shows that 16 lofts did
not sell here after the September 15, 2008 Lehman bankruptcy, coming off the market between November 6, 2008 and June 12, 2009, including #8B (as noted, off on June 3). The only loft to sell in those days was #PHC on November 15, 2008, which some brave soul signed a contract to purchase a week after Lehman; the next to sell was loft #10G, which held on for a June 13, 2009 contract and closed on August 5 (at only $1,097/ft, but it sold). Perhaps #8B (off the market June 3) would have sold had it stayed available a few weeks longer, as #10G did. But that ask was $2.2mm.

June 26, 2013: $2.8mm.

That #8B sellers paid $1,812,485 when buying from the developer on May 4, 2006. Before expenses, they made
just under a million bucks in 7 years, or 54%. Had they sold in 2009 at their ask, they’d have gained less than $400,000, or 21%; and no one was then offering their asking price.

They couldn’t
know on June 3, 2009 that taking time off the market would help so much (and we don’t know what will happen in 2014 …), but it turns out that they made two good calls, one in 2009 and one in 2013.


© Sandy Mattingly 2013


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Jul. 22, 2013 - no thaw was good news for (eventual) penthouse loft seller at 347 West Broadway

playing with the calendar, for fun and profit

If the headline above makes sense to you, thanks for being a regular reader. (For the rest of you, thanks for stopping by; feel free to return.) The premise for the punchline involving the “2,200 sq ft” Manhattan penthouse loft at 347 West Broadway is revealed in the prior listing history, showing that the loft did not sell when offered at $3.995mm for nearly 8 months at the end of 2009 and at $3.795mm for nearly 3 months in the middle of 2010. By May 8, 2009 (when it was first offered), the overall Manhattan residential real estate market was entering the thaw that followed the nuclear winter that crashed after Lehman … er … crashed on September 15, 2008. But the loft did not attract a buyer then, or at $3.795mm in mid-2010, when the overall market was again active. You can guess the punchline by now, if not the detail: the loft just sold quickly (3 weeks to contract) after asking $4.65mm at an even $5mm. (I don’t know why StreetEasy calls this deed record “#3”, but you’ll see that same designation for obviously different units, with obviously different buyers and sellers, on the building page.)

The numbers are fascinating, and large: the recent sale was a 7.5% premium over ask; the recent asking price was a 22% premium over the unsuccessful ask of mid-2010; the recent sale was 32% above that 2010 ask.

not a lot of space until you climb the stairs

You are free to parse the two sets of broker babble, listing photos and floor plans, but take my word for it: the loft was in the identical condition when it did not sell in 2009 and 2010 as when it just sold. (The sole difference, other than the recent babble having more detail, is that the new floor plan includes the window in the den omitted in the old floor plan; hard to believe that the window was added in real life.) Of course the finishes are superb (the numbers told you that), but the loft is described as “like a romantic country cottage” as much for the (many) modestly sized rooms as much as for the country details. The master bedroom is less than 15 x 13 feet, the living room only 22 x 15 ft. A great many rooms, but not much ‘volume’ considering it is a “2,200 sq ft” Long-and-Narrow. Having the elevator in the front corner doesn’t help, and I suspect a buyer would be tempted to make that den part of the main room. (Check the photos and floor plan downstairs to see what the footprint looks like a little opened up.)

That nicely finished collection of rooms is not what drove the current market bonkers, however:

the crowning jewel of this amazing home [is] an extraordinary 1,500 square-foot private landscaped roof garden with specimen plantings, multi-level seating areas, an outdoor shower, full Summer kitchen + unobstructed views of the iconic midtown skyline

As downstairs, the space is broken up upstairs, with those multi-level seating areas, except for the obvious fact of being open to the sky (and the “unobstructed views of the iconic midtown skyline”). “1,500 sq ft” is a large terrace, of course, no matter how much broken up. So far, The Market thinks the roof terrace is worth more than $666/ft, as that neighbor (similar, without the terrace) hasn’t yet sold. It will be interesting to see what the market spread turns out to be.

© Sandy Mattingly 2013


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Jul. 19, 2013 - 108 Reade Street loft goes to war, secretly, beats the heck out of 2011 market

for reasons unknown
Still groggy from a 4AM wake-up call on Wednesday in Buenos Aires and an overnight flight from Chile to JFK on (still) Wednesday night, but it is time to get out of the Manhattan Loft Guy archives and back into relatively current loft sales. I present for your consideration the odd history of the “1,305 sq ft” Manhattan loft
#3E at 108 Reade Street, which did not sell during a very brief marketing campaign in 2011 at $1.375mm but just sold at $1.95mm after a bidding war that is easy to miss on StreetEasy. Let’s start at the end, with that note on StreetEasy “Sold for 1.3% below asking price of $1,975,000”.

No, the loft did not sell below the last public asking price. I don’t know why listing systems permit this, nor am I accusing any agent of anything other than bad data entry, but the real history of the listing (from our data-base; it is a Corcoran sale) is this:

April 10 new to market $1.8mm
April 25 offer accepted  
May 1 contract signed  
June 4 sold $1.95mm

That nonsense about a public asking price change to $1.975mm on the day the contract was signed is … er … nonsense. The deal at $1.95mm was struck off the original and only public asking price of $1.8mm. In fact, the loft took 15 days to get an accepted offer at an 8% premium to the asking price, and less than another week for that deal to be reduced to contract. If I were in charge of our listing system (ha!) I would make it impossible for an agent to change the asking price after an accepted offer, unless the loft were really offered to the public for sale as back on the market. This kind of sloppiness distorts the market, for those of us who try to make a living understanding The Market, and for civilians who try to keep up. End of (that) rant.

more scary than it looks
Regular readers of this blog with decent short-term memories know that I have riffed on that now infamous New York Times article a couple of times (see my June 2,
not every buyer should panic: that scary New York Times article is right, to a degree, and my June 4, revisiting the NY Times “time to PANIC!!!” piece with more (contrary) Manhattan loft sales data) and have used that “Scary!” meme to identify particular loft sales that should give Buyers With Facts the creeps (as in my June 24, scary sale of small loft at 19 Hubert Street; that one was more scary, at $1,364/ft in a coop with a layout that is very challenging). With loft #3E looking like a discounted sale rather than the bidding war that it was, loft buyers might not be as scared as they should be, alas. (The Master List of Manhattan Lofts Sold Since November 2008 has this sale, like others above ask, in green, for those Buyers Who Want More Facts.)

Asking price muddling aside, this sale is scary enough: this bones-only, no-mint loft in a no-frills condo in a not-quite-prime-but-convenient Tribeca location just sold for $1,494/ft. These are words commonly associated with a bones-only, no-mint loft: “well configured space”, “expansive living space”, “original tin ceiling”, “excellent … sunlight”, “nicely proportioned bedrooms”; the only doff of the cap towards finishes is the vague “Chef's kitchen”. No proper proper names or materials cited, just the claimed chef’s cap. (Does the glimpse of the kitchen in listing pic #3 look like a chef lives there? With a ¾ frig?) I happen to love very old wood flooring in lofts; the stuff in the photos looks not only very old but very beaten up.

Reading between the lines (and the photos), this is a well-configured 2-bedroom, 2 bath loft that needs updating, but there’s no reason to renovate. Still … $1,494/ft. S C A R Y.

not a fair fight in 2011
That 2011 effort was very short. I will try to get some background, but loft #3E actually got a quick deal off that $1.375mm asking price, but something happened to knock that sale out. Per our listing system:

Jan 31, 2011 new to market $1.375mm
Feb 13 offer accepted  
Mar 17 "temporarily” off the market  

If I find out where that deal was, or why it fell apart I will update this post. In the meantime, it is not hard to see where that $1.375mm ask came from. The loft upstairs was probably in “excellent” condition when it sold for
$1.48mm on February 2, 2007 (the very brief public marketing campaign at $1.7mm in 2009 does not claim a renovation). Yes, the 2007 sale does not seem to have been public, and yes, it was a full year before The Peak, but that was the last “E” line sale before #3E came to market in 2011, as it remains.

The most recent sale then (and now) in this small (9-unit) condo was the August 2010 sale of the larger (“2,160 sq ft”) loft
#3W next door, which provoked a bidding war before closing at $1,088/ft. Yes, 2010 was a different market, and yes, that loft was also (between the lines) somewhat primitive, but there’s a long way from $1,088/ft in 2010 to $1,494/ft in 2013.

S C A R Y, indeed.


© Sandy Mattingly 2013


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Jul. 18, 2013 - SEVEN Years Ago Today on Manhattan Loft Guy


You were warned in my July 4 post that you had a couple of weeks of archived Manhattan Loft Guy material coming up; this will be it. My July 18, 2006, light more precious than views to an artist / more on losing views..., has what might be the first discussion of Artist In Residence rules on the blog. The occasion was a then-fresh controversy involving the artist Chuck Close and potential development adjoining his studio.


Money quote:


Close’s argument boils down to a claim that no one should be able to build in such a way that eliminates his light because the original use of that space was as a courtyard between “his” building and a now demolished townhouse. If he were not the special artist that he is, with the physical limitations that he has, this would be an almost laughable argument. If keeping that space empty was so important to him, he could have bought it, probably with the “obscene” money he makes for his portraits.


There’s some terrific local history in the links in the post, including about the artists who 'made' Noho. Definitely worth a read, for that alone.


© Sandy Mattingly 2013


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Jul. 17, 2013 - memory lane: I don't think this anticipated market change ("end of uber-lofts?") happened

 Five Years Ago Today on Manhattan Loft Guy
You were warned in my July 4 post that you had a couple of weeks of archived Manhattan Loft Guy material coming up; almost up. In my July 17, 2007, end of uber-lofts? (uh ... no), I snarked on a Real Deal article that was long on anecdote, short on actual, you know, facts. (A common theme for the intersection of Manhattan Loft Guy and the Real Estate Industrial Complex, Manhattan Media Division.)

Taking up the challenge, I offered my view that what was predicted would not come to pass, at least not in developments of classically sized lofts in classic loft neighborhoods:

I don’t think this approach will work in Tribeca, for two reasons. Acquisition costs are probably too high to do anything other than a new uber-loft, with bells and whistles to drown out an orchestra. Second, the TriBeCa loft buyer who wants “new” probably wants the bells and whistles. Carriage House Chelsea looks as though it may attract more first-time loft buyers (who else is buying a studio?).

Of course, what killed the uber-loft market after this post was the nuclear winter. That little seasonal thing being now ended, the uber-lofts are back!


© Sandy Mattingly 2013


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Jul. 16, 2013 - memory lane: New York lottery guy says two-MILL-yon dollars to describe discount on Greenwich Village "loft"


Four Years Ago Today on Manhattan Loft Guy

You were warned in my July 4 post that you had a couple of weeks of archived Manhattan Loft Guy material coming up; almost up. In my July 16, 2009, dropping $2mm to make an un-lofty sale at 175 Sullivan Street, I hit a sale of a “loft” that did not look very loft-y to me. I tried not to get too distracted over the loft-or-not element, but to stick to the (big) numbers. The “loft” was obviously over-priced, and took a long time to sell, but note that it finally closed in June 2009 … following a long nuclear winter, just then beginning to thaw.


Those were the days!


© Sandy Mattingly 2013


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Jul. 15, 2013 - memory lane: Field of Dreams pricing sells 130 West 17 Street penthouse loft at huge premium


Five Years Ago Today on Manhattan Loft Guy

You were warned in my July 4 post that you had a couple of weeks of archived Manhattan Loft Guy material coming up; almost up. In my July 15, 2008, 130 West 17 Street #9S went for it + got it, I considered a loft that was very aggressively priced that succeeded in selling despite, in my view, no rational basis for the asking or clearing prices. What I did not know 5 years ago was that this was a very Peak-y sale (March contract, June closing, so it was just past The Peak, in retrospect), but I had been on this listing for some time: back when I would comment on active listings I called this a Going For It! listing (“As in similar Going For It! posts, I was intrigued by an asking price that I could not find justification for in any traditional analysis -- nearby comps, past sales in the same building, particularly”).


Of course, what I did not know then was that The Peak had passed, and that Lehman was about to pull the last bit of underpinning out of the market. That’s what happens when you take snapshots.


© Sandy Mattingly 2013


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Jul. 14, 2013 - memory lane: Real Estate Industrial Complex (kinda sorta) takes on schools and new developments


Three Years Ago Today on Manhattan Loft Guy

You were warned in my July 4 post that you had a couple of weeks of archived Manhattan Loft Guy material coming up; almost up. In my July 14, 2010, Times article disconnect / why developers should build schools UPDATED, I looked at some serious questions about whether and how new real estate developments burden the local infrastructure, including public schools. I got a little distracted with how the Real Estate Industrial Complex, Manhattan Media Division, covers such questions (hint: poorly) but did stay enough on point to make it a worthwhile read. (To me.)

There is a causation issue regarding new developments and ‘hot’ public school districts; I don’t believe that developers target school districts so much as they target economic opportunities. You can persuade me with data, but the New York Times (in this instance) didn’t. Great set of comments on my post, however.


© 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.

Recent Posts

ch ch ch changes September 30, 2013
diversion is more of a (small) rant about Manhattan real estate "penthouses"
50 West 29 Street build-out loft sale not as simple as it looks
28 Laight Street 1-day loft sale looks like a whisper listing
room or light? Tribeca or Chelsea? 2 lofts sold above ask at $2.645 million have different charms

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apartment types
bubble talk
caution: no real estate content
change is a constant
economic "analysis"
general weird stuff
In the news (me)
loft features / amenities
loft features / kitchens
loft features / outdoor space
loft features / "space"
loft features / views
lofts in 'other' neighborhoods
Loft neighborhoods / Chelsea
Loft neighborhoods/ East Village
Loft neighborhoods / Flatiron
loft neighborhoods / NoHo
Loft neighborhoods / SoHo
Loft neighborhoods / Tribeca
loft neighborhoods / West 30s
lofts outside New York??
loft style
Manhattan real estate business
Market Data - aggregators
Market Data - reports
Market Trends
Marketing Manhattan apartments
New York, New York, New York
On The Market
open houses
pricing analysis
The Process - buying an apartment
Psychology of the market
public art in Manhattan
truth IS stranger...
what makes a loft a "loft"
internet and blogosphere
renovation opportunities + rewards
One Bed Wonders
new this week

Favorite Links

Manhattan Users Guide (be sure to search the archives)
The Gotham Center for NYC History
Matrix the Real Estate Economy
Hopstop (door-to-door subway instructions)
MTA subway site, including maps + schedules
NYC Dept of Education site
NY State Assn of Independent Schools (find private schools)
the local TriBeCa newspaper
"the weekly newspaper of lower Manhattan"
Brooklyn, but a great blog
Patell & Waterman&#39;s History of New York
The Soho Memory Project by a long-time resident
Tribeca Commons, an economist considers history, development + more
NYC Past photo tumblr
Manhattan Loft Guy Facebook page (use dropdown menu for Timeline)
the MLG Master List of loft sales, to Nov 2008
Tribeca Citizen
Malcolm Carter
Brick Underground, "vertical living demystified"
Daytonian In Manhattan a tourist&#39;s wonder with a local&#39;s eye
Urban Digs (numbers, graphs & charts, oh my)
True Gotham (very) occasional front-line dispatches
DNA Info, local news via the inter-tubes
The Real Deal, our industry rag
Coop and Condo (a lawyer writes with a funny pen)
Crain&#39;s New York real estate
Tom Fletcher’s NYC Architecture
Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York
Architakes, one guy&#39;s take
Scouting New York (location guy with camera)
Forgotten NY
Soho Alliance
Soho Journal
Chelsea Now (area news)
the essential. if ephemeral, New York
The Broadsheet Daily (especially for BPC, FiDi and Tribeca residents)
The Atlantic Cities


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