a(nother) tale of two lofts, as 121 West 17 Street twin sells right in line


is $25,777 a reasonable premium for one floor higher?
If the “1,135 sq ft” Manhattan loft
#6D at 121 West 17 Street that just sold at $1,300,777 looks familiar that’s because you are thinking of its twin one flight down, which I hit in my March 8, buy low, sell high: simple advice well executed at 121 West 17 Street loft, when that loft sold at $1.275mm. Fans of an efficient market will rejoice over this pair, which overlapped on the market only briefly, are essentially identical lofts in similar condition, and which traded as you’d expect, with #5D needing a slight discount to close and #6D getting bumped up in a bidding war. It is nice when things work out ‘right’.

The story in the #5D post is about a 2013 seller who was a brave buyer in 2009, enjoying a 46% gain for his trouble (and courage). From what I can tell, the #6D sellers enjoyed a much larger gain but over a much, much longer period. The story here is about how well the two “D” sales match up. Go to the March 8 post for the two sets of broker babble for #5D. You’ll find that, with its “modern” kitchen and name brand appliances but “original” bath, it sounds a little better than #6D, which was babbled as bones + light, period:

Classical Lofts such as this one are rarely available. …an abundance of sunlight. This is due in part to the over sized Southern Exposed windows. …original columns and wood floors, 11 foot Ceilings, Washer/Dryer, Endless Closet and storage space, a massively-scaled living room and bedroom and an additional home office area that can also double as an additional bedroom.

I didn’t omit anything about finishes or condition; trust me. You will notice that there are no listing photos that feature the kitchen or bath, making it easier to read between the lines that they are … er … primitive, with no Miele, Viking, or Sub-Zero appliances like downstairs. Of course, the whole loft looks primitive (so far as is pictured), with

The funny
floor plan is almost exactly the same as in #5D, with a slightly different angle on that funny little interior room, though #6D has the benefit of double sinks in the bathroom and an island in the kitchen. I am curious about those funny little interior rooms, and wonder if the sponsor built these lofts out that way way back when the building was converted to coop in 1981, or whether two owners (at least) independently decided to add some walls in the same places to create additional functionality.

what a difference one floor makes
I suspect that the only difference between these two lofts that favors #5D is a set of brand name appliances (it is telling, to me, that there is no mention of materials for counters or cabinets). That is a 4-figure upgrade. The second listing photo tells you the advantage that #6D has: those front windows almost clear the roof lines of the buildings across 17th Street, offering much more sky and more direct light. You can upgrade the #6D kitchen with new appliances for a few bucks; there’s no way to improve #5D’s light and sky to match #6D, at any price.

$25,777 seems like a reasonable spread. That was clearly the judgment of people who had a shot at both lofts:


Nov 12 #5D new to market $1.295mm
Nov 22 #6D new to market $1.25mm
Dec 3 #5D contract  
Jan 8, 2013 #6D contract  
Feb 8 #5D sold $1.275mm
April 3 #6D sold $1,300,777


The #5D seller got rewarded for his … er … fortitude in buying in 2009 January 2009, and set a building $/ft record. It does not appear as though there were multiple bidders for #5D, though if they were they obviously maxed out at a discount to ask. The #6D sellers waited a little longer to make the deal, but clearly had more than one offer, and broke the 2-month old $/ft record for the building.

Interesting left over from these two sales: there appears to be at least one other buyer out there interested in a primitive “D” line loft in the building around $1.275mm. Will another owner take the hint?


© Sandy Mattingly 2013


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