Lions Head revisited / price history at 121 W 19 St

After expressing a bit of … err … skepticism about the pricing and history of PH-E at 121 West 19th Street (The Lion’s Head Condominium) yesterday (gnashing of teeth in The Lions Head / jumpy prices + lien at 121 W 19 PH-E), I thought I should review other sales in the building.
2007 closed sales (per City records; size is taken from broker listings)
Sale date
$ per ft
Orig price
% gain
Feb 13
1,920 sq ft
May 8
1,320 sq ft
April 20
1,134 sq ft
July 5
1,134 sq ft
Feb 15
1,627 sq ft
Feb 13
1,920 sq ft
Average price per ft
That average price in 2007 compares to the Miller Samuel reports showing average price per foot for all Manhattan lofts of $1,215 (Q1) and $1,246 (Q2). I am a little surprised that the Lion’s Head is below average, because of its location, services (doorman, live-in super) and roof deck.
The two sales on the second floor suggest that the developer discounted that low floor much more than The Market has.
flipping fun
A Raymond James agent flipped two units in less than six months in 2006:
Dec 20
2,000 sq ft
Aug 22
1,920 sq ft
no sale
Two units were offered for sale in 2007, but taken off the market (i.e., unsuccessful asking prices)
Orig price
To Mar 25
1,572 sq ft
To May 24
2,733 sq ft
asked, received
Four units are in contract (i.e., successful asking prices, which attracted a contract)
Orig price
1,079 sq ft*
1,572 sq ft
1,920 sq ft
3,259 sq ft
* the inter-firm data-base does not show a unit number for this listing, only that it is “3rd floor”; by process of elimination this must be #3D (everything else on this floor is much larger); the agent quotes the size as 1,079 sq ft for this space with 15 ½ foot ceilings, which 719 sq ft on the “main level”, 319 sq ft in the mezzanine, and 41 sq ft of basement storage
Looking at the successful asking prices for the third floor units, it seems pretty clear that the developer discounted this floor (which has 16 foot ceilings) far more than The Market did (even with the mezzanine spaces in each of these units).
for sale
Three units are available (i.e., with not-yet-successful asking prices)
Orig price
1,317 sq ft
1,317 sq ft
2,071 sq ft
The two “F” units have been for sale since May, through the same agent at Mercedes / Berk (who owns one of the units). They seem aggressively priced, no? And, yeah, it is still hard for me to think that PH-E (#11E) will sell for anything close to its asking price….
buzzing, back in the day
This building had such a buzz about it when it came out in Spring 2005. I remember a mobbed broker’s tour, then lines of buyers waiting on the sidewalk to be admitted to the sales office. (In retrospect, original prices seem reasonable; fancy that.) The NY Times Anna Bahney captured that in a July 3, 2005 article (A Room With No View) that focused on the difference in value between similarly sized “two bedroom” apartments and “one bedroom + home office” units. She quoted a Lion’s Head buyer who ended up with 1,600 sq ft unit with home office:
When she arrived on the third day of sales, which began in April, only eight of the 66 apartments were left.
"It reminded me of a Barneys shoe sale," [owner] said of the atmosphere, "although I’ve spent more time picking out shoes than this apartment."
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