market corrects (slightly) too deep price cut for spectacular columns at 136 West 22 Street

an interesting dynamic
It has been a while since I highlighted one of the axioms of a busy (deep) market: The Market will correct a too-low price. In this case, the “3,272 sq ft” Manhattan loft on the 3rd floor at 136 West 22 Street just sold after two price drops, the second of which was just a bit too steep. The Market worked its magic to re-set the price just a smidge above the last ask:

Sept 29, 2011 new to market $3.495mm
Nov 29   $3.369mm
Jan 17, 2012   $3.195mm
Mar 20 contract  
Aug 29 sold $3.21mm

(omitting a 2-week holiday hiatus)

My guess is that the eventual buyer was not in the market until sometime after January 17, or else I would expect that someone who would pay $3.2mm would be a bidder at $3.369mm.

big layout, big loft
There’s usually nothing small about a “3,272 sq ft” loft, but in this case that is especially true as the footprint is classic Long-and-Narrow, where the “narrow” dimension is 35 feet and there is plumbing across the middle, on both long walls and in the center. That provides maximum flexibility, in this case with just 2 bedrooms across the back (the master bedroom is over 500 sq ft, with dedicated dressing room and bath additional) and a nearly square, nearly 1,200 sq ft great room up front with those 6 huge windows.

For lovers of classic Manhattan loft elements … those columns! “Massive” does not begin to do them justice (are they 30” x 12”?), with beams to match.

The loft is so big that even the laundry room boasts refrigerators: “suburban walk-in laundry room with washer and dryer and two refrigerators”, in what might be the first favorable use of the word “suburban” in a Manhattan Loft Guy post.

Can an architect or designer explain to me why there is a dropped ceiling toward the rear of the loft? It is not (just) to get light fixtures up into the ceiling, as you see lights in the living room ceiling in the first photo, lights and a speaker up into the ceiling in the 4th photo, before the ceiling drops, and lights in the 5th photo, of the office. Is it to establish a ‘transition’ from public space in the front to the private space in the rear? Serious question about design; I don’t get it, and it seems not to be necessary.

market does not love the building
As I will develop further in a bit, I am surprised that such wonderful space with such wonderful loft elements went for the not-princely rate of $981/ft. But I wouldn’t have been so surprised had I first seen that the last sale in the building lines up perfectly with the 3rd floor sale price. When the 5th floor was marketed last year, it went through a similar comeuppance: starting at $3.89mm on February 4, 2011, then dropping once before finding the contract on August 19 that closed on September 22 at $3,267,327, a scant 2% premium to the 3rd floor sale 11 months later, a ‘premium’ well within the range of market noise, and easily accounted for as being two floors higher.

Again, the Corcoran site has the best large format pictures, where you will see that the 3rd floor and 5th floor lofts are essentially identical, with the same layout and floor plan apart from having the original 3-bedroom layout across the back wall. The 5th floor has the same dropped ceiling, indicating that this was a sponsor choice back in 2002. (The 5th floor might have a little better light in the back, as those listing photos were taken with curtains open, as opposed to the oh-so-telling drapes drawn bedroom photos from the 3rd floor; again the pics in large format are easier to see on the Corcoran website.)

So The Market was consistent in valuing the 5th floor in 2011 and the 3rd floor in 2012. Both below $1,000/ft for well designed and very efficient lofts that (yes) blend classic loft elements with modern design and technology.

You can play with the Master List of Manhattan Lofts Sold Since November 2008 to look for comparably sized lofts that have sold in the last few months, but it is (surprise!) difficult to get comps that line up perfectly with these 133 West 22 Street as far as utility, condition and location. On the one hand you have the even more gritty block on which the “2,820 sq ft” loft I hit in my September 10, price discovery was long + hard for 144 West 27 Street loft with 2 kitchens, 3 dishwashers sold at (only) $922/ft. On the other hand, you have the July 11 sale of the “3,007 sq ft” loft at Altair 18 at $1,330/ft that I hit in my July 12, a tale of 2 lofts: did (removable) decor add $126/ft to value of one 32 West 18 Street loft?.

Did I mention (today) that comping is hard?

© Sandy Mattingly 2012

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