playing the Euro card to great effect, 66 Ninth Avenue loft sells 31% over near-Peak


pretty extreme bang for buck

The facts are that the “1,735 sq ft” Manhattan loft #4W at 66 Ninth Avenue (in the old part of the Porter House) sold or $2,787,500 on July 3, 2008 and was just resold by those near-Peak buyers for $3.64mm. From those numbers and (particularly) the opening date, you’d think there was some significant improvement in condition. Hard to say. The broker babble lacks the word “renovation” (let alone, one that is meticulous, complete, or mint) and packs a lot of punch with “[t]houghtfully upgraded by European owners with impeccable taste”.


You’d think the most significant of these thoughtful upgrades would be mentioned, and here is the list of features (by implication, upgrades): “whisper-quiet CityProof windows …. Marilyn Minter wallpaper, distressed quartersawn white-oak floors and a refined Valcucine kitchen”. But noooo … the kitchen (at least) is just as it appears in the 2008 listing photos (pic #3 and #6), but for the new floors. The actual upgrades must be both very thoughtful and incredibly appealing, if (apart from the floors, CityProof windows, and wallpaper), rather subtle. Subtle enough that I can’t see them in the listing photos (apart from window treatments) and the agent did not bother to list them in the description. Appealing enough that the loft that sold just after The Peak just resold up $852,500, or 31%.


It took me a while (rube that I am) to realize that the Marilyn Minter wallpaper is not the general finish on the walls, but is what I took to be a mural behind the dining room table. My more worldly readers recognized that as the same “Kicksilver” wall paper at the Mondrian Soho, installed in honor of Fashion Week 2012.  Remarkably, I can get a pretty accurate estimate of what that “thoughtful upgrade” cost, as it appears to still be available on line, in minimum size of 233 sq ft and a minimum cost of $14,700 (retail, presumably with labor for installation on your dime). Bang, indeed, for relatively few bucks.


Speaking of bang and of bucks, the new floor makes an amazing visual difference from the old floor, with its dark (cherry) finish. (And by “old floor” I mean the Brazilian cherry floor installed when the condo was first sold in 2005.) You could probably have gotten 80% of the visual impact by simply refinishing that floor in a light oak, but the thoughtful Europeans replaced the floor with distressed quartersawn white-oak. Installation is the big expense for this job, but the materials might have been acquired for as little as $1.09/ft, unfinished. Again, Bang!


if only we had a nearby recent sale…

The loft 2 floors below #4W sold less than 6 months earlier, with no shortage of enthusiasm:


soaring ceilings and walls of West-facing windows, offering magnificent light and a unique perspective onto one of Manhattan’s most sought-after neighborhoods.The interior, expertly designed by renowned SHoP architects, is replete with top of the line finishes including Brazilian cherry wood floors, custom built-ins and open chef’s kitchen featuring Italian cabinetry and commercial grade Viking appliances. The serene Master Bedroom boasts ample closet space and an en-suite marble bath. The apartment is pre-wired for audio, media and internet and features custom California closets through-out.


Note the lemonade made out of being on the second floor (“unique perspective onto one of Manhattan’s most sought-after neighborhoods”). In other words, #2W had the original finishes, with no thoughtful upgrades (even, CityProof windows). That one is only “1,690 sq ft”, with the only difference with the “1,735 sq ft” #4W I see is that #2W lacks the mechanical/storage room at the end of the kitchen / pantry. It sold quickly, coming out on June 1 at $3.495mm, finding a contract by July 12, and closing at $3.225mm on October 24.


StreetEasy does not have the listing that actually sold #4W on April 5 at $3.64mm, but I would have sworn that it used to. (The link I copied when I noted the closing as a to-blog is no longer valid.) Our listing system shows that the marketing campaign that sold #4W started on September 20 at $3.75mm, found a contract by March 1, and closed at $3.64mm on April 5.


That’s one way to say that the thoughtful upgrades (and being 20 feet higher above the Ninth Avenue and 15th Street sidewalks) were worth $415,000. (No way that they cost anything like that.) Bang! (The nearly 6 months to contract suggests not everyone saw wallpaper with 10 fot high stilletoes as a premium worth paying for … but still … BANG!)


© Sandy Mattingly 2013


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