the open city makes a big difference in a loft penthouse
The most important words on the floor plan for the “1,400 sq ft” (true) penthouse loft #PHB at 808 Broadway (The Renwick) are “open city views”, which help make this a truly happy penthouse loft, in pointed contrast to the sad sack of a “penthouse” loft at The Chelsea Mercantile that I trashed in my March 21, saddest Chelsea Mercantile “penthouse” loft sells under $1,900/ft. Like “#PHS” at 252 Seventh Avenue, #PHB at The Renwick has a single exposure, but the “open city views” over the “475 sq ft” (planted, irrigated) terrace here bring light and, yes, a view, into each room. Quibblers will note that the sad penthouse at the Chelsea Mercantile condo sold for a higher price per foot than this one at The Renwick, but c’mon people … The Merc is a full service condo, while The Renwick is a lovely little coop with a doorman. (Indeed, the maintenance for #PHB is $3,123/mo while the total taxes and common charges for the half-again-as-large #PHS are only $2,937/mo.) Back to those views …
The single exposure is east, across Fourth Avenue, which conveniently bends away to the south and east, opening up a bit more of an oblique view. That’s the much taller 111 Fourth Avenue directly across the avenue, but the low Post Office is at the northeast corner of Fourth and 11th Street, with similarly sized buildings further south. (On this side of Fourth Avenue, the building just to the south is not more than 10 feet taller.) So if you just angle your chair a bit on the terrace, voila! Light in abundance, as in listing photo #3. (Just for fun, compare that image to listing photo #5 for #PHS at The Merc and you will see why one is a happy penthouse and one isn’t.)
that’s an expensive terrace on this loft
It is difficult in this building to get a comp to establish a value for the interior space, as there are few recent transactions and none that have comparable light without having outdoor space. The best we can do is #3J that sold last July and another “J” loft that hasn’t sold yet. The “1,000 sq ft” loft #3J has little light and a small balcony that I am happy to ignore for comping purposes. It sold for $1,080/ft in a market that was just a tad lower than the current market. (If 5%,per the StreetEasy Manhattan Condo Index, is “just a tad”.) Adjust 5% for that timing, and a no-light interior loft in the building in decent condition yields $1,134/ft for the interior; let’s add a generous 10% for the difference in light between #3J and #PHB, yielding an interior ballpark benchmark of $1,242/ft.
With this generous ballpark, the “1,400 sq ft” interior of the penthouse loft should have been valued by The Market at about $1.74mm, leaving about $560,000 as the value of the terrace. Fans of The Miller (and of my Miller-riffing post about valuing outdoor space) are already impressed, as the math about the “475 sq ft” terrace worth $560,000 is … $1,179/ft, which is essentially at par with the interior space. (If 95%, given all the ballparking here, is “essentially at par”.) Wowzers.
I mentioned another “J” loft above, one that is useful as a comp ceiling. This one, said to be “1,100 sq ft” with a larger bit of outdoor space and no better light than loft #3J has not sold, despite having been offered below $1,000/ft (even ignoring the outdoor space). And this “sun drenched” smaller loft (said to be “950 sq ft”) has also not hit a market clearing value, despite the light and despite being offered at $1,157/ft. Again, my notional interior value of the interior space (above) of $1,242/ft seems, if anything, somewhat generous. And the lower the value allocated to the #PHB interior, the more allocated to the terrace. Double wowzers.
Comping is, of course, hard. But by any reasonable data-based approach, the sunny and open penthouse terrace on top of 808 Broadway is worth the value of the interior of the penthouse, or more ….
into the WayBack Machine with Mr. Peabody, to find a very small round number
Our data-base has two ancient clearing prices not available elsewhere. This penthouse loft sold in January 2001 for $975,000.
It must have been in well renovated condition at that point, as that seller at $975,000 paid only $230,000 just over four years earlier (November 1996). I will let you do the math to show the appreciation from 2001, while I stretch languidly for this bit of numerical low hanging fruit: since the loft was purchased almost 18 years ago, it has appreciated exactly by a factor of 10. (Putting aside renovation costs, but still.)