penthouse loft at 420 West 25 Street did not sell a year ago, but does now (higher)


2 in a row may not be a trend, but is interesting

I hope that this post, following yesterday’s (April 30, unsold 2010 into 2011, 49 East 21 Street loft sells 18% higher), is more additional than redundant, as simply another (interesting?) illustration of the change in market conditions. In this case, the “1,061 sq ft” Manhattan penthouse loft #9B at 420 West 25 Street (Loft 25) failed to sell just over a year ago at $1.2mm and just sold at $1.26mm. Maybe it just didn’t give it enough time in the last marketing campaign, but this sequence looks to me like two different sets of market conditions:

Dec 20, 2011 new to market $1.2mm
Feb 16, 2012


Aug 22 back on market $1.29mm
Jan 22, 2013


Mar 29 sold $1.26mm

Based on the January 2013 contract value, you’d think there’d have been interest close to (if not above) the January 2012 asking price. Not enough to sell, apparently.

The loft has some strong positives (high ceilings, light, finishes, and roof deck and terrace) and some issues (tiny cozy interior bedroom, location among them) but the combination of charm and issues that worked this year failed to work last year.

obvious charm, subtle feet
Because it is a beautiful day, let’s start with the positives. The loft is well-dressed, and has a huge volume on a moderate footprint, accentuated by the waist-to-ceiling windows and 14 foot ceilings. This 2008 new development planted a flag for deluxe finishes in the west Chelsea area (or, “at the center of New York’s favored art scene and within view of the High Line and Hudson River Park”, as babbled, though it could also be described as across the street from a square block of NYCHA buildings).

The finishes are enthusiastically described:

Nordic Ash hardwood floors; individual climate control heat and air; pre-wired high speed internet; and deeded storage. The ultra-modern kitchen is custom designed by Shiffini in Italy and features two Liebherr side-by-side refrigerator/freezers, Bosch gas cook-top, convection oven and dishwasher; and Asko W/D

Then there’s the outdoor space: a 4’2” deep terrace running the width of the loft (25’4”) off the living room and that “737 sq ft” roof terrace up the stairs. It is hard to see how that “planter’s terrace” might feel, given that the building facade is pretty high on this wall (see pic #2), possibly making it difficult to plant anything other than shade-loving plants on this level. No question about the rooftop, however: fully open to the sky, whether with virtual planting (pic #1) or bare (pic #7). Indeed, that rooftop is the whole point of the loft, it seems to me. 

I have mentioned the challenging location, and hinted at some size issues. Start with the fact that you can play with the interior dimensions on the floor plan for a long time without getting close to 1,000 usable square feet. (I know, I know, that is not what is measured, but still ….) I don’t get the decision allocating space between the kitchen and the bedroom. Push that wall two feet west and (with the same size kitchen) and no one is going to complain about the two feet narrower dining area between kitchen and wall of glass; yet two adults in the (now) 11’4” x 10’7” bedroom would appreciate the ability to both get out of bed at the same time.

A rant about virtual staging (you’ve been warned). If you have ever been in a room that measures 9’4” x 10’7”, you will have your doubts about the virtual (pic #6) and in-real-life (pic #5) bedroom photos. They have to be of opposite side walls, right? Otherwise, the real life closet would be behind the mirror in the virtual photo. Yet, that wall is only 9 feet long and has a door in it. If so, that virtual bed must be an … er … unusual size. I bet anyone standing in that room who had already studied the listing photos would be disappointed (at best), if not irritated.

Now that I have been provoked, here is another thing I do not understand:

upper mezzanine features an expansive 737 sq. ft. private terrace and seating area easily converted to accommodate a home office, media or guest lounge

Where does that “upper … home office, media or guest lounge” go? Around the staircase?? That would be awkward.

mismatching data
StreetEasy often has trouble matching listings and deeds when one uses a convention like “#PH9B” and the other “#9B”, which is why you have to do some extra clicking to match this deed to this listing. That’s a standard matching problem, easily solved. What is not easily solved is the sales history of this loft. According to StreetEasy, “#9B” was sold by the sponsor on April 23, 2009 for $2,087,412, which would be quite a hit for the recent seller at $1.26mm. But that “#9B” measured “1,461 sq ft” (not “1,061 sq ft”) and was marketed with a floor plan with a real bedroom on the lower level and a concomitantly larger roof terrace up on top.

Dollars to doughnuts, the now-missing bedroom (and bath, and walk-in closet, and roof) got transferred to the next unit over, somehow, someday.  (That floor plan explains why the present #9B bedroom is so cozy; it was a “second” bedroom.) Makes it hard to keep track of things, darn it all.

© Sandy Mattingly 2013


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