does a $300,000 silver kitchen account for a Peak+10% gain at 889 Broadway?

probably not, but look at gain since 2007
The “2,400 sq ft” Manhattan loft #3A at 889 Broadway (Gorham Mfg Co Building) sold on June 28 for $2.95mm with some exuberant broker babble. Since the loft was purchased by these recent sellers on October 18, 2007 for only $2.67mm, one has to wonder about what improvements were made between these two sales. Or if the $280,000 premium from near-Peak to now is one of those man-bites-dog stories, as in my July 5, man bites dog! 49 East 21 Street loft sells 3.6% above Peak.

battle of the babble
Unfortunately, I can’t be definitive about the condition Then and Now but my working assumption is that the loft was upgraded between late 2007 and mid-2011. The “now” babble is specific and breathless:

a mint condition DOWNTOWN CORNER LOFT with 10’8 high ceilings, herringbone hardwood floors and 14 large sunny south & east windows. This renovated pre-war two bedroom, two bath home is approx 2400 sq ft …. The huge open loft space has a projection TV with surround sound stereo, a large dining room and a brand new kitchen with top of the line appliances- three Sub-Zeros (refrigerator, freezer, and wine cooler), Bosch dishwasher, Marvel Kegorator, Wolf cooktop and Wolf double oven. The spacious master bedroom and large walk in closet has a luxurious master bath with dual sinks, a tub to soak in and separate shower. …. Other features include central a/c, a washer/dryer, custom closets, and a storage area in the basement.

The two floor plans, however, are identical (then, now) meaning that any improvements were design and finishes rather than ‘renovations’.

The 2007 vintage babble was much more restrained:

Flooded with light from south and west exposures, the loft features fabulous detail such as the original herringbone floors along with oversized windows and high ceilings. Old New York views of some of the most beautiful ‘Beaux Art’ architecture in Manhattan are truly special. The living/dining room is perfect for entertaining on a grand scale.

No dropping of proper proper names, as in the “brand new kitchen” in the 2011 listing. The 2007 listing that survives on StreetEasy has only a single photo, but our data-base has several, including a kitchen photo from a different angle than the current photo. We know from the identical floor plans that nothing moved between 2007 and 2011, and that kitchen photo (that you can’t see; sorry) has the same hanging light fixtures as the current photos and cabinets and counters that look similar. Maybe the kitchen was completely rebuilt (that would be a “brand new kitchen”), or maybe they just swapped in high-end appliances.

Again, I don’t know if the projection TV is new, but our data-base shows that the loft had central air at least four years ago.

In short, it is hard to find $280,000 or more in added improvements from 2007 to 2011. If you can’t find value added through changes in the loft, the only way to account for the difference between $2.67mm in the last quarter of 2007 and $2.95mm in the second quarter of 2011 is a different market reaction to (essentially) the same loft. If they put in $20,000 in new appliances and generated a $280,000 gain, that is definitely a man biting a dog.

Ladies & Gentlemen: a new world record!
Whether the loft is dramatically improved from 2007 to now or just has new appliances, The Market loved this loft! Note the velocity and the need for green shading for this transaction on the Master List of Manhattan Lofts Sold Since November 2008:

May 6 new to market $2,925,000
May 25 contract  
June 28   $2,950,000

Yes, 19 days to contract is fast, but 53 days from listing to closing in a coop might be a new land speed record. Props to sellers and agents for a wildly successful marketing campaign.

© Sandy Mattingly 2011

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