“perfection” goes for $1,025/ft in 252 West 30 Street loft

to catch a bargain, there must be a catch
In our last installment, the August 8, ‘architecturally designed’ loft with no view, little light at 114 West 27 Street sells at $799/ft (sue me: I’ve been busy), we found a bargain at $799/ft that would appeal only to that shallow part of the Manhattan loft buyer pool that had no need for a view and little need for light. Based on the comps, that light and view deficit was worth about $150/ft. Today’s bargain boasts of “perfection”, with proper proper names and qualities including “sundrenched” and “quiet”. At “1,707 sq ft” and a nearly square corner footprint, the Manhattan loft #5B at 252 West 30 Street includes 2 bedrooms plus a large (windowed) home office and 3 full baths, yet has high enough ceilings and large enough windows that the public space still has volume. This is the kind of condo loft that in a prime Manhattan loft neighborhood would be worth $1,300/ft or more, but just east of 8th Avenue on 30th Street this wonderful loft was discounted to $1,025/ft.

In other words, the buyer pool for Manhattan lofts thins out in this micro-nabe, which gets a lot of eastbound traffic out of the Lincoln Tunnel.

That buyer pool was deep enough for a quick full-price deal, however:

Jan 23 new to market $1.75mm
Mar 1 contract*
June 28 sold $1.75mm

(*Ignore that StreetEasy confusion of March 1 contract, April 16, no longer available, May 11 contract; it is clear from the inter-firm data-base that the [rather short] listing expired after the contract as signed, so it probably fell out of the system that feeds StreetEasy for a short time and was revived as [still] “in contract”.)

what’s not to like (about the loft itself)?
Having windows both south and east makes all the difference for this floor plan, permitting a windowed second bedroom with windowed en suite bath in the northeast corner. That second set of plumbing stacks permits a master suite with (windowed!) en suite bath halfway up that east wall. The nearly square shape (missing only that northwest corner) with plumbing along the entry wall is wonderfully efficient but hardly rare for Manhattan lofts; having the 2 walls of windows and multiple plumbing stacks elevates this floor plan to wonderfully and unusually efficient.

With knee-to-ceiling windows running the width of the south wall, visible as you step into the loft, it is very likely that this bit of overused broker babble is (in this case) fully warranted: “entry foyer leads to a grand, sweeping living and dining space”. And, yes, the kitchen is “massive”, and cleverly open only to the south so that you (a) don’t have the sense of entering the loft in the kitchen and (b) have an extra wall for upper cabinets. (Look at pic #3, in large format, of course, and imagine [instead] the west kitchen wall open above the counter starting at the cooktop; your eye would be drawn immediately on first step to the counter / breakfast bar instead of the the wall of windows at the far end of the loft.)

Giving that office / third bedroom a wide (glass?) sliding door in the southwest corner that will typically be open gives the loft a wider feel than it would with a conventional doorway. I can accept that these folks prefer the clean look of recessed lighting to a (higher) open ceiling, especially as they could still have beamed ceilings, but I quibble with that storage on the west wall. Obviously, they needed the storage, and there are not a lot of possible locations for that function, but I would have sacrificed some storage and put it (instead) on the second bedroom wall, facing into the kitchen. That second bedroom already has an odd shape, and you’d lose only about 30 inches of width and maybe 7 feet of length in that bedroom. In exchange, you’d have a clean line upon entry along that west wall.

But I quibble.

No reason to quibble about the materials or the apparent quality of the craftsmanship.

different strokes for different folks, but similar result
The loft #5B layout choices are especially interesting compared to loft #7B, which sold (very quickly!) as a very well-dressed one bedroom plus den plus office (the office is here called a dining room / bedroom, rather a long way from the kitchen)  on December 21, 2010 at $1.725mm. It is hard to say without large format pictures and more detail, but the finishes of #7B might be more deluxe than those of #5B. They certainly are different, and probably to a very specific taste (personally, I hate the way that kitchen looks in the third photo). Those #7B sellers did not need two real bedrooms, and made the very specific and very limiting choice in their floor plan to require transit into the master suite through the den (making the den a very awkward guest room).

It is very hard for me to imagine how that enlarged “foyer” works in #7B, but it certainly prevents you from feeling any volume as you come in through the door. Maybe there was some Very Serious Art that took advantage of the ‘extra’ walls, and maybe this betrays a lack of visual imagination on my part, but that transitional space of nearly 20 x 6 feet seems pretty wasted to me. Odd choice, indeed, which may have some value I am missing.

Loft #7B was treated as market equivalent to loft #5B, the differences in utility and (possibly) finishes aside. #7B came out at $1.745mm on November 1, 2010, was in contract in less than 2 weeks, and closed in just over 7 weeks. Put another way, the third bathroom and (real) second bedroom in #5B earned a ‘premium’ of $25,000 in the current market compared to #7B a year and a half ago.

To get back to my original point … both #7B and #5B have the quality that would generate much higher prices in more desirable Manhattan loft neighborhoods. Especially for a buyer pool for whom being on West 30th and 8th is a benefit, they are bargains. For every other Manhattan loft buyer, they were appropriately discounted for being in an undesirable location.

Signs of a rational market at work!

© Sandy Mattingly 2012


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