111 Fourth Avenue pad proves you can sell a loft without a kitchen

loft living is often a lifestyle choice; living without a kitchen always is

I am thinking “bachelor pad”, but perhaps the tiny (550 sq ft??) Manhattan loft #12D at 111 Fourth Avenue is merely a pied-à-terre. I don’t often see things I have never seen before in the downtown Manhattan loft market, but this is a new one on me: the beautiful loft with an open floor plan has a wet bar, but no kitchen. That didn’t stop it from selling; to the contrary, it zoomed through the market at a 15% premium to the asking price, at a fascinating premium over a recent sale in the building (with a kitchen, of course).

This sequence tells me that multiple people were clamoring to live the wet bar life:

July 23 new to market $950,000
Aug 13 contract
Oct 9 sold $1.115mm

This sale tells me that while the “dramatic open city views” were a serious plus factor, they can’t account for enough of the market love behind the $1.115mm sale of #12D: loft #5D recently sold for (only) $971,500 with the same footprint as #12D but a very different floor plan (including a boring old, if “renovated windowed”, kitchen), with “sweeping views overlooking Lower Manhattan”. Indeed, #5D has more usable space than #12D due to a mezzanine.

We’ll get back to #5D, but doesn’t the #12D floor plan look like a junior suite in a classy hotel? There’s no bedroom door, just a gap between shelving / storage units. In fact, the ‘bedroom’ is below legal standards as it is only 7 feet long (long is a funny word to modify “7 feet”). In exchange for a conventional bedroom, there’s also a sitting area on that raised platform (junior suite!), 2 steps up from the living room. Trust me: the original living room would feel cramped at (say) 15 x 10 feet and a hard wall to the ceiling on the bedroom side, even with those tall windows opposite the bedroom. In contrast, the sitting room plus living room opens to the full width of the space. And the living room extends to the entry wall because … voila! … there’s no kitchen.

Genius in optimizing a tiny space, so long as the (short?) frig and tiny sink tucked into an always-out-of-frame corner of the sitting room suffice.

Genius, so long as you don’t need even a cooktop. (The sellers had a table that looks more “dining” than “conference”, so maybe there were some plates and tableware in one of the cabinets; if so, the sellers washed dishes by hand in a sliver sink or in the bathroom. Or maybe this is a take-out only space, with disposable plates, etc.)

Genius, when you compare the old and new floor plans and see just how that kitchen shrunk the living area.

And (one more time) genius in realizing that someone other than the sellers would appreciate the benefits of kitchen demolition and open loft living on a small (but now much larger) scale. Again: asking $950,000 and getting $1,115,000 in a deal that took 3 weeks.

Nicely played, ladies; nicely played.

another unconventional omission from a typical loft lifestyle

I don’t know if this loft would be described as optimized for entertaining, but I can see how it would be. Compared to the original floor plan, there is much more room for a large group to mingle (over cold drinks and cold or catered food) and a much better flow. But unless there is something hidden in that tall desk on the south wall, they didn’t host any Oscar or Super Bowl parties here. There’s no television evident in this loft, as lived in by the recent sellers. Talk about an unconventional lifestyle!

You could put one on the wall behind the dining table, or on the back wall of the sitting room, but in each choice you would be taking a space beautifully optimized, as is, and reducing the current optimization.

I’d love to know, when these sellers did have guests, whether guests were more likely to first notice the lack of a kitchen or of a TV. Bet you a quarter it was the TV.

the boring comp (every loft should have one!)

Meanwhile, back in the 5th floor …. Loft #5D was no slouch, either. Babbled as having those wonderful views, plus being “sun-drenched”, plus that renovated kitchen, plus a “beautiful bathroom”, this loft came out at $925,000 and also zoomed: to contract within 4 weeks nearly $50,000 above ask. Nothing to be ashamed of in that campaign.

Compared to #12D, loft #5D has the added utility of an office space and much storage fitted under those 13’2″ ceilings in about half the space. (I assume [hope!] that the mezzanine is what pushes #5D to “750 sq ft”, as it is impossible to find that many feet on the lower level only.) There are a lot of mini-lofts in this building with some mezzanine space; The Market clearly appreciated #5D.

Just not as much as #12D.

Color me surprised. Color the Conventional Wisdom chagrined. (“Thou shalt not renovate idiosyncratically.”) Color me impressed, and glad that this old dog saw a new trick. I do have to wonder if the buyer got a mortgage, and how the appraiser treated the wet bar in a comps analysis.

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