modest 7.6% gain since 2006 for modest Jensen Lewis loft marketed modestly at 161 West 15 Street

[UPDATE 3.4.11: as you will see in today’s post (
giant 43% gain since 2004 for giant Jensen Lewis loft marketed aggressively at 161 West 15 Street) I realize I way over-used the "modest" word in this post, as the #3D sale is actually the record high $/ft for the building; I also corrected an unfortunate typo in the address of this building]

modesty is a virtue, right?
The Manhattan loft #3D at 161 West 15 Street (in the Jensen Lewis building, for those who know their Chelsea furniture stores) sold on February 8 at the asking price of $995,000, earning the yellow tag on the Master List of Manhattan Lofts Sold Since November 2008, so you’d think that there’d be a lot to brag about here. Think again. Follow me into a tale of modesty worthy of a Victorian virgin.

a modest size, modestly babbled
This is among the smallest true “lofts” out there, at “930 sq ft”. While the listing pix do a good job of supporting the broker babble that it is “naturally lit”, you are going to still need some light bulbs as this is the rare small Long-and-Narrow loft, with those (only!) two windows at one narrow end leaving the (modest) “sleep area” in the dark near the entrance.

I don’t know the pre-coop history of this building (it was converted to coop in 1980; not the first wave in Chelsea, but close), but I wonder if it was a hotel or office building back in the day. With all the windows (which seem to be part of the original design) I suppose it could have been light industry, though certainly not a warehouse. Back in the day of its conversion, developers did not perceive much of a market for ‘family” sized units, but this one originally had a range of sizes from “930 sq ft” (the “D” line, as here) to “2,100 sq ft” (the “H” line), with at least two much larger units on the first floor (a duplex of “2,600 sq ft” and a triplex of “3,300 sq ft”). Since then, a few units have been combined, so there are a handful of simplex lofts in that largest range.

The modest babble focuses on little of the interior finishes (“beautiful open kitchen … custom track lighting”), with this tidbit about the building that I find really odd: the building “boast[s] very tight security”. Is that something relevant to buyers in 2011?? I once sold a loft two blocks east of here that had evidence of vestigial security (bracket in the floor and iron bracing for the old “police locks”; in-wall safe), which I was able to explain as ‘quaint’ vestiges of a neighborhood that had long-ago been ‘sketchy’. Seventh Avenue at West 15 Street is hardly a sketchy area now.

modest pricing leads to a modest gain
This little loft was brought to market at $995,000 on September 24 and found its full-price contract by October 30. Given that the seller paid $925,000 in October 2006, he was not only correct but modest in pricing #3D to sell. That is a gain of 7.6% for those of you without ready access to a calculator.

The notice address for the seller on the deed is a rental building in a micro-nabe that no one else will ever refer to as DULiTuBuRa (Down Under Lincoln Tunnel Bus Ramps; ridiculously unwieldy, I know, and I will deny ever having suggested it). I wonder if this sale is a bear’s play … sitting out the sales market in a tinier rental.

© Sandy Mattingly 2011


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