no listing, but VERY motivated buyer for O’Neill loft at 655 Sixth Avenue greases a move to Tribeca

indeed, a unique buyer
Sometimes there’s a story you can figure out about a Manhattan loft that sells without having been offered publicly through a real estate brokerage. And sometimes there’s a story you can figure out about an anomalous sale. Even better, sometimes one sale gives a snapshot of two people’s loft progressions.

The August 16 sale of #2G for $1.65mm is one such sale, bearing that (often frustrating) StreetEasy status of “[n]o listing associated with this closing ”. It turns out that there is a pretty obvious reason why this buyer overpaid for this loft, and it is also pretty obvious that she did overpay.

Starting with the second proposition first, there have been only four lofts sold at The O’Neill Building with post-Lehman contracts. Which of these things is not like the other?

Aug 16, 2010 #2G “1,231 sq ft” $1.65mm $1,340/ft
July 12 #2A “1,366 sq ft” $1.39mm $1,017/ft
Dec 21, 2009 #4F “1,231 sq ft” $1.27mm $1,031/ft
Nov 18 #5G “1,346 sq ft” $1.55mm $1,151/ft

The recent #2G buyer was willing to pay 16% more (on a per-foot basis) than any previous sale in the building going back nearly two years.

does the #2G sale re-set values at The O’Neill?
If I were a loft owner at 655 Sixth Avenue I would be tempted to think that the former apparent value ceiling of $1,151/ft has been broken through, and that a new day dawns, with a significantly higher value ceiling.
What did your mother tell you about temptation? Resist that temptation, and treat #2G as a valid comp at your peril.

the answer is on the notice address on the deed
The buyer of #2G is identified as living in #2F, next door. She still owns #2F (which she purchased from the sponsor in October 2007 for $2,749,295) so she evidently needs room to expand. The “2,522 sq ft” in #2F no longer being sufficient, she will soon combine her two lofts into one loft of about 3,800 sq ft.

(An aside: in economic terms, even after over-paying for the #2G portion, her net cost for 3,753 sq ft is $1,172/ft, which is a much more reasonable overall number for her grand loft than the unsightly $1,340/ft for the new piece. And she doesn’t have to move.)

were they friends?
I would like to think that the #2G seller and the #2F owner were on friendly terms, friendly enough to withstand what might have been a difficult negotiation. Unless the expanding neighbor started the conversation with I need your space, so if you move I will make it very much worth your while, the #2G owner drove a hard bargain.

The #2G seller at $1.55mm paid $1,425,550 when he bought from the sponsor in July 2007. The other three sellers in the last two years did not do nearly as well in turning over their O’Neill Building lofts; indeed, one could say that while #2G’s seller was going to the bank, the other sellers were being taken to the cleaners:

#2A July 12, 2010 $1.39mm Dec 29, 2006 $1,451,006
#4F Dec 21, 2009 $1.27mm July 17, 2007 $1,364,455
#5G Nov 18, 2009 $1.55mm Nov 17, 2007 $1,705,568

the guy is a loft lover
Through the miracles of the inter-tubes and its associated search functions, we know that the #2G seller took the money from his “1,231 sq ft” loft in the new-in-2007-development on the very busy Sixth Avenue and turned it into a classic loft in a very small 1980s converted condo on one of the quietest blocks in prime Tribeca, 17 Jay Street #4, with “1,800 sq ft” plus a terrace.

Notice how his ecomics work, per Property Shark for mortgage info:

#2G sale $1.55mm old mortgage $1mm rough net $550k
Jay St buy $2.075mm new mortgage $1.5mm net cash applied $575k

Assuming he got a better rate, his net monthly expenses probably did not go up by much (less than $1,000??) taking on the additional $500k in mortgage, because his taxes and common charges have dropped significantly: $1,487/mo in the new place on Jay Street compared to (probably) $2,371/mo in the old place at 655 Sixth Avenue (the taxes and common charges for #4F, equal in size to #2G).

Not a bad trade, eh? Half again as much space in prime Tribeca for the same equity in the old place on busy Sixth Avenue, with probably a pre-tax additional cash outlay of about $1,000/mo.

I wonder which came first: his interest in leaving Sixth Avenue for Tribeca, or his neighbor’s interest in adding to her Sixth Avenueestate . Either way, when opportunity knocked, he answered.

Looks like a win-win for everyone.

© Sandy Mattingly 2010


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