both 245 + 252 Seventh Avenue sell under $1,000/ft, for different reasons

Schwarzenegger + DeVito style ‘twins’
Two Manhattan lofts across Seventh Avenue from each other along West 24 Street closed on March 23. Both are said to be just over 2,250 sq ft, neither has much of a view, both cleared just under $1,000/ft. But one is in the brand-name Chelsea Mercantile, so it has a lot more amenities; while the other is on the second floor. Hmmmm…..

The loft at The Merc, 252 Seventh Avenue is #12R, which has one of the least favored foot prints for a high-floor loft that I can remember. With "2,259 sq ft", 13 foot ceilings and windows that are ten feet high there’s a lot of volume here. But if you look closely at the floor plan there are exactly two windows. The very wide one (maybe 17 feet??) is in the living room; the other is in the "master" bedroom. (So, yes, the second "bedroom" has no windows.) Those two windows look out over the interior courtyard / garden way down below, but they mostly look across at other units in the building. And there is probably not too much sky out those windows from the 12th floor of a 19 story building.

#12R closed at $2.2mm ($978/ft), nearly flat compared with the March 2005 sale of #11R at $2.1mm. Of course, The Merc has wonderful amenities: full-time doorman and concierge, huge common roof deck, a gym, children’s play room, dry cleaning valet service, and garage access through the lobby (though you have to use the sidewalk to enter Whole Foods).

more love (and sun) across the street
So why did a second floor loft across the street sell for more? #2B at 245 Seventh Avenue may be only on the second floor, but the corner location, 12 foot ceilings and six VERY large windows provide "amazing" light … so much that the broker-babble includes "sun-drenched". It is not easy to have a sun-drenched second floor loft without a river or a park. The building has a doorman, a roof deck, and storage, but this amenities package is simply not comparable to The Merc‘s. The sun-happy buyer paid $2.25mm for "2,266 sq ft" ($993/ft), not only nearly exactly the same size as #12R across the street, but with a similar shape. Being on an outside corner with six windows obviously made a big difference here.

different strokes, different buyers

The listings descriptions suggest that these two lofts are of comparable level of finishes; I have already noted that they are nearly identical in size, ceiling height and even shape. One has amenities and a touch of prestige (for those who track such things), while the other boasts windows and light (remarkable light for a second floor loft). I suspect that a lot of buyers visited both units but that few individual people would actually value these as essentially the same, the way The Market did (although the higher monthlies at 245 Seventh Avenue [about $750/mo] should count for just over $100k in value, but now I am getting too complicated here).

My guess is that someone willing to pay about $1,000 a foot at The Merc is willing to take a less attractive footprint in order to be in the building and get the amenities, and that this person would not be as attracted to 245 Seventh without a big (unrealistic, in market terms) discount. On the other hand, for the people most attracted to #2B at 245 Seventh Avenue, the ‘competing’ listing at The Merc was no competition at all, without comparable sunlight.

Interesting to see how The Market (made up, as it is, of a series of individual decisions by specific buyers and sellers) could value these two very-similar-AND-very-different lofts essentially the same.


© Sandy Mattingly 2010

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