awkward kitchen fails to stop sale of MacIntyre loft at 874 Broadway in Flatiron

still, $1.875mm

There are limits to what even the best architects can do. Assuming the decision about where to place (or, where to keep) the kitchen was made by the clients, you can appreciate that even an “[a]rchitect-designed loft” can end up with a kitchen as awkward as the one in the single bed and single bath Flatiron loft #605 at 874 Broadway that just sold for $1.875mm.

You would put a lot of miles on your shoes traipsing between the refrigerator and the working countertop in this kitchen:

that’s quite a ‘kitchen triangle’ (images from Sotheby’s listing, natch)

Here’s what it looks like in pictorial form:

a funky triangle, and a long way to the frig from the near counter, or to the sink to wash the lettuce

I am very curious about the experience in real life, especially if four people are sitting at that table. As used by the recent seller, there is very little transit space between the table and the shelves in front of the window, even without someone sitting on that side. (With that chair filled, there’s no transit space.) On the other side, about two feet between the (unoccupied) chair and the cabinets. A tight squeeze to pass by when that chair is occupied.

Again, there are not a lot of layout options here, but I bet this kitchen feels pretty cramped, as pictured.

what did the architect do??

I can’t find any listing description or floor plan from before the recent seller purchased (not later than May 2002, per a UCC filing in favor of the coop), so it is impossible for me to know what the loft looked like then, or what the architect did to design the space. The listing is curiously silent on details and finishes, with much more effort to describe the building and environs than the space.

Architect-designed loft in the iconic McIntyre Building, located a stone’s throw from Union Square at Broadway and 18th Street.

12-foot ceiling heights, over-sized period windows and original 19th and early 20th Century design elements will appeal to buyers seeking an authentic downtown loft. Alternatively, the unit could be updated without the need for major structural work.

(There are seven more lines of broker babble, none about the interior of this loft.)

The listing shots are as interesting for what they show as for what they don’t, especially with that exceedingly pregnant suggestion that ends my excerpt, above (“the unit could be updated without the need for major structural work”). Of ten listing photos, there are three photos of the modest living room (14’6″ x 17′), two of the kitchen, three of the south views (one that includes kitchen shelf tchotchkes), one close-up of an inset display along the window wall, and one of a work nook.

Here’s the nook:

N.B., this is not the office on the floor plan.

You see what’s not pictured? The rest of the bedroom (the bedroom closet is behind the horse drawings on the right in this nook). Or the bathroom. Or the (real) home office.

There’s always a reason that professionally marketed lofts reveal some elements without revealing others. (Remember that “the unit could be updated without the need for major structural work”.) Makes me wonder if the architect that did the design worked for the recent seller, or for the folks from whom the seller bought the loft in (or before) 2002.

You see what’s not described in the broker babble? Any of the “original 19th and early 20th Century design elements”. And any of the finishes in the kitchen. Or the bathroom (at all). Thankfully, of course, “the unit could be updated without the need for major structural work”.

Here’s one thing the architect did: kept the loft as open as possible. You can’t tell from the floor plan, but you can tell from the living room photos that the “bedroom” is not fully closed off from the rest of the loft.

that bedroom “wall” does not go anywhere near the ceiling

This is a very sensible arrangement for a single occupant or a couple (who else lives in a loft with a single bedroom, d’oh!), maximizing the light from that single south exposure, and maximizing the sense of volume as well. After all, there’s the enclosed office to not disturb a sleeping partner by keyboard clicking or media consumption.

Of course, I still wonder what (else) the architect did, but sometimes you just have to concede the unknown unknowns.

comping can be (unnecessarily) difficult (sigh)

I can’t find a direct source for the size of loft #605, which is an all too common problem with lofts in coops. (I can’t find the coop offering plan on ACRIS either.) So it is difficult to compare the $1.875mm clearing price for loft #605 to other lofts in this funky building. But let’s work with what we have and see where it goes ….

I’m guessing this loft is about 1,100 square feet. That’s based on the ‘fact’ that the “1,000 sq ft” loft #807 that sold four months ago had a maintenance bill of $2,091/mo (or, $2.09/ft for you arithmetic-challenged folks), while the maintenance for loft #605 was $2,293/mo. Yes, I know that it is really really really difficult to get anywhere near 1,100 using the interior dimensions in the floor plan for loft #605, but the principle I am using is that maintenance is a proxy for size, when comparing lofts in the same coop. And everyone knows that adding up (approximate) room dimensions is a mug’s game ;-).

Loft #807 is a fascinating comp for loft #605. That one has a much more efficient footprint than loft #605, as a straight rectangle with multiple windows on three sides. The ‘missing’ exposure for loft #807 is the preferred southern view, which is the only exposure for loft #605. A rational market should consider the trade of the view of Union Square West for the logic of the E, N, W windows around a rectangle as no worse than even, if not in favor of loft #807. Note that the #807 broker babble brags about only one interior element of that loft, the floors.

The entrance foyer has original mosaic tiled floors … twelve-foot high ceilings …. This authentic loft is beautiful in its simplicity. The original hardwood floors have 123 years of character. The windows facing east have original metal shutters on the outside that are operable. The loft features an open kitchen with stainless steel appliances, and an oversized bathroom with white marble tiles and white subway tiled walls.

Sounds like a loft in need of updating, right? If we were coy, we might say about loft #807 that it “could be updated without the need for major structural work”, depending on whether you consider creating two small bathrooms out of one large one as “major structural work”, or on whether you need two bathrooms at all. That aside, there is at least a much bragging about the #807 kitchen and bath as in the #605 babble.

Loft #807 sold for $1.705mm in October, having come to market April 23 last year at $1.75mm and finding that contract by July 6. With the ‘fact’ that #807 is “1,000 sq ft” to guide us, the math is (again) easy: $1,705/ft, exactly.

The loft #605 seller and team presumably had the advantage of that contact price when they brought #605 to market last August 20 at $2.2mm. (If not, they almost certainly knew when they dropped the price to $1.995mm on October 13; coincidentally [?] the day before loft #807 closed.) The first ask was $2,000/ft (remember: assuming #605 is “1,100 sq ft”) and the second was $1,814/ft. Both prices were higher than that at which The Market cleared loft #807, and both prices were unsuccessful, except in the sense that the second ask generated a deal.

As we know, loft #605 sold on January 20 at $1.875mm. (Pause for the clicking of calculators ….) While the rectangular and thrice exposed #807 sold for $1,705/ft in October, loft #605 cleared at … (this is too exciting!) … $1,704/ft. Ignoring the difference of 55 cents per foot, these two very similar lofts sold for the same price on a dollar-per-foot basis! Your mileage may vary, but I find this very cool. And rational.

meanwhile, back in the headline ….

If we consider the two lofts to have more or less the same utility, and to be in more or less the same condition, and for the South views to be more or less an even trade for the three other exposures, we can conclude that the awkward kitchen layout in loft #605 did not prevent the loft from selling at a reasonable market value. The back-ing and forth-ing involved with that layout notwithstanding.

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