stubborn flower district loft seller holds for sale at 133 West 28 Street with rooftop garden

Conventional Wisdom takes another (small) hit
We’ve been here before: sometimes the Conventional Wisdom (“conventional” because it is common; “wisdom” because it is … errr … wise) is wrong. Conventional Wisdom holds that a professional, broadly exposed, marketing campaign of 3 months establishes that the asking price is too high for The Market, suggesting that a price drop is in order unless there is another aspect of the campaign that can be changed (rarely, but sometimes there is). Nothing controversial about that, right? That would make the April 28 sale of the Manhattan penthouse loft #67C at 133 West 28 Street another exception that proves the rule.

This loft came to market on November 29 and found a contract by March 9 without a price drop from the ask of $1.6mm. Indeed, there was hardly any discount from that ask to the clearing price of $1.58mm. I bet the buyer knew about Conventional Wisdom, and was disappointed to see how little negotiability there turned out to be. On the other hand, the buyer paid only 4.6% more than the seller had paid way back in July 2006, and the buyer got (among other things) an “800 sq ft” roof deck to go along with “1,300 sq ft” of interior space.

On the other other hand, that is one peculiar floor plan.

the opposite of floor plan envy is … what?
I am not even sure what the word is that I would use to describe this floor plan, but I know that I react as strongly negatively about it as I reacted positively to a floor plan a few blocks south last week (April 29, floor plan envy, as 110 West 25 Street loft cuts + sells). I am trying (without success) to figure out why the bedrooms are split as they are, with the smaller bedroom en suite, instead of flipped, with the closets in the east bedroom and the french doors extending south to the kitchen cabinet.

That was a choice (an odd choice) probably made a long time ago. The other ‘ugh’ feature of the floor plan is (probably) dictated by the plumbing stacks, so was not a choice. Look closely at the 5th picture and note that if you open the refrigerator door wide you cannot also open that door; now look again at the floor plan and note what is behind that door … (waiting) … the “newly renovated main bath [that] features a soaking tub and a huge separate fully tiled Moroccan theme shower”. If you want to use that Moroccan theme shower, you are not only walking through the long kitchen, you are probably sharing that bathroom with your guests.

In a perfect world before any walls were put up, there may have been a way to orient that ‘master’ bath with the door facing west, away form the kitchen, but that would require the shower and washer-dryer to be relocated. I suspect that this arrangement was set way back in the day, when this coop was formed (if not earlier), in 1982, back when the name of the coop suited the local businesses (Garden Lofts Corp) instead of now being a historical reference. Back then, loft owners were less persnickety about such layout refinements.

Perhaps I am just going through one of those Manhattan Loft Guy cycles, in this case being particularly sensitive to layout issues. In addition to the floor plan love I showed at 110 West 25 Street last week, I also noted the major deficiencies in the layout of another nearby loft just yesterday (May 6, 245 Seventh Avenue loft sells after freezing in nuclear winter), about an “1,800 sq ft” loft with only a bath-and-a-half and no windows except in the bedrooms. That one was more a footprint than a floor plan rant; today I am picking on the floor plan choices that were (probably) made long ago.

Who knows what I will be complaining about next week??

major lifestyle change for seller
Perhaps that roof deck eventually showed the #67C seller that she really likes to be outdoors. What if she could get a lot more space, both indoors and out, for (net, net) less money? That question probably does not have a Manhattan answer, and may not even have been the reason the seller sold, but the inter-tubes permit me to see where she went.

She turned this (former) flower district small-ish loft for $1.58mm into a free-standing multi-family house in Clinton Hill (that’s Brooklyn for you Manhattan snobs), bought for $1.93mm on March 14 that probably (a) needs a bit of work to upgrade and (b) has an upstairs tenant to offset the additional cost (probably). More than twice the interior space on a lot that is 136 feet deep. Far be it from me to rue someone’s move from a Manhattan loft to a Brooklyn townhouse.

© Sandy Mattingly 2011


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