there are 2nd floor lofts with better views than this 208 Fifth Avenue loft, but not many

kIller views, unless the tour bus idles
One of my longstanding (unrequited) Manhattan Loft Guy Note(s) to Self … has to do with second story lofts, and whether there is a discernible market discount for lofts that may be as low as 10 feet above the sidewalk. Today is not the day to cross that note off the list, as the most exciting thing about the "1,600 sq ft" Manhattan loft #2E at 208 Fifth Avenue is not the view of the sidewalk close below, but the view of the park across the street.

It is difficult to comp the #2E sale at $1.7mm (forwards or backwards) because, among other things, it is hard to find those "1,600 sq ft". So it is hard to say what a second floor view of Madison Square Park is worth. But it is easy to see that, awesome as it is, it was not worth what the sellers thought it was worth.

dollars are hard, feet are soft, in this One Bed Wonder
The sellers asked for $1.85mm. The market would pay only $1.7mm, and that only after 4 months without a contract or price drop. Loft #2E came out on January 12, found that buyer at an 8% discount by May 14, and closed on June 6 at that $1.7mm. StreetEasy computes that as $1,062/ft, but I have my doubts.

There are some challenges in the #2E floor plan, including the single bathroom and the single wall of windows. But that single wall is very high, with windows that are very large. And did I mention the greenery out the large windows? I can see a lot of people over-paying for a view like that.

The only place to sleep in this configuration is up the stairs to the sleep loft on top of the kitchen. With 14 foot ceilings you can (just barely) get away with this usage, without cooks and kitchen visitors constantly ducking their heads. But there is no sound privacy, as whoever is in that bed can hear everything else that goes on in the loft. No place to hide a sleeping guest, even if you could squeeze a Murphy in somewhere. In an uptown condo, you’d probably find 3 bedrooms in “1,600 sq ft”, but on Fifth Avenue opposite Madison Square, it’s just a One Bed Wonder.

There is one more problem with the floor plan: how do you find "1,600 sq ft"? There are no dimensions on the floor plan, but the same unit on the 5th floor had them when it did not sell in 2010. That floor plan claimed a width of 26’8” and extends further than the 2nd floor loft, with that dressing room and bathroom. (Note that the 5th floor has 4 sets of wall beams on the north wall, while the #2E floor plan has only 3 on each long wall.) Adding the room length dimensions on the 5th floor plan gives a space 45 feet long without that dressing room / bath extension. No coop math is simple, but the simple geometry yields 1,200 sq ft in the #2E floor plan, using #5E dimensions.

On that basis, loft #2E really sold for a very healthy $1,417/ft. But that’s too flaky an analysis to put much stock in.

Loft #5E did not sell in 2010 even when asking $1.499mm, but #2E has a level of sophistication missing on the 5th floor.

meticulously renovated, architect-designed …. Bleached southern yellow pine hardwood floors throughout. Open chef’s kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances (Fisher and Paykel refrigerator and dishwasher, and Bertazzoni stove). Washer/dryer. And custom bookshelves that anchor the main living area to the mezzanine.

It didn’t get $1.85mm, but $1.7mm looks pretty good from the second floor, whether you figure that as $1,062/ft or as $1,417/ft.

© Sandy Mattingly 2012

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