Cooper Square loft triples in value, disappointing owner

is it the exposure, Mars?

The anonymous folk who just sold the “2,571 sq ft” Manhattan loft #4A at 62 Cooper Square (Carl Fischer Building) for $4.6mm didn’t quite triple their money, as they had purchased at $1.553mm, but close enough. The overall Manhattan residential real estate sales market has not quite doubled in the time (190%, as measured by the StreetEasy Manhattan Condo Index), but here’s how I know the anonymous folk were disappointed: they came to market at $6mm. In skating terms, they went for the quadruple salchow but had to settle for the triple, outperforming the overall market, so it is hard to sympathize too much.

In table form the history looks like this:

Aug 9, 2001 purchase $1.553mm
Jan 9, 2014 new to market $6mm
April 24 $5.5mm
May 17 $5.25mm
June 5 change firms (not agents)
June 26 $5mm
Nov 3 contract
Dec 23 sold $4.6mm

The layout has some quirks, but if you stand near the windows you do get that “enchanting” view of the trees and Cooper Square (including of The Cooper Union). Best not to go barefoot when taking in the view (or doing anything else in the loft), as the concrete floors are unforgiving. But I suspect the layout was a bigger limitation in marketing than the hard floor:

the angles can be challenging

There’s a surprising lack of (usable) volume in these “2,571 sq ft”, with the possibility of a third bedroom just to the north of the two above (as suggested by the proposed alternative floor plan), but that bedroom would get dramatically less space than the good-sized second, and it would not only take two windows from the living room, but would ruin the from-the-door sense of space on entry. No, this is a two-bedroom-plus-office-alcove, ideally.

Seem people are religiously opposed to layouts that require you to walk through the dining area, but this one is not quite so bad, with the dining table a bit to the left and the kitchen quite a bit to the left. Still, this is not an ideal layout, though the payoff is that 70 foot wall of windows with those “enchanting” views.

I know you don’t feel too badly for these folks (neighbors don’t, either)

Yeah, they wanted $6mm ($2,334/ft) and various other numbers higher than the $4.6mm ($1,789/ft) they got. They must have had a pretty good idea when they dropped the ask to $5mm at the end of June that they weren’t going to get even that. June is when the neighbors downstairs went into contract at something less than $1,737/ft.

Those neighbors owned the “2,751 sq ft” loft #2T (at #52 Cooper Square, but part of the same condo), with what looks like the same level of finishes as in loft #4A but an arguably better layout, and some outdoor space. (You can argue with me, but all you have is that the #2T layout requires you to walk past the kitchen (those religious folks will hate that), while I have a second exposure and a much better [and more spacious] bedroom layout.) If you value that second floor terrace at only 25% of the value of the interior (using The Miller’s rubric, as the patio is not accessible from the public area of the loft and is in a bit of a mid-block canyon), the adjusted value for beautiful interior space in this building contemporaneous to the marketing of #4A was only about $1,556/ft. (If you want to make an upward adjustment for #4A over #2T due to the higher floor, I’d argue with you about the layout [again]; let’s call that a wash.)

Loft #2T overlapped with #4A, but only for the 19 days in June that it took to get into contract off the ask of $4.995mm. I’d be shocked if anyone who was interested in #2T did not also consider #4A. They are similar in size and utility, with each posing some challenges to go from the optimized 2-bedroom+office to add a third bedroom. They are in the same condo (hence, the same amenities) but not in the same building, with #4A in the 12-story tower that is incised as the Carl Fischer Building, with #2T in one of the two 4-story buildings that were combined with #62 to make the new condo around the turn of the century.

Loft #2T might have lower ceilings (though they appear still classically loft-y and “high”), with different flooring (hardwood, rather than the unforgiving concrete in the more industrial #4A), dropped ceilings instead of barrel vaults, and windows that derive character from the arches rather than from the metal used in the tower. Loft #4A was babbled with “gorgeous architect-designed detailing”, but these details have not been detailed in prose and are not evident in the photos.

As I said, the finishes look comparable between the two lofts. Maybe #4A has a slightly better view (two floors up, and because it is farther north, closer to The Cooper Union), but #2T has that patio (and a fireplace).

On a utility scale for 2-bedroom+office lofts, The Market preferred #2T at $4.78mm over #4A at $4.6mm, though on a dollar-per-foot basis The Market preferred #4A at $1,789/ft to #2T at $1,556/ft adjusted (or less, if you value that patio at more than 25% of the interior). There’s an interesting discussion there….

Net-net, I’d argue that by getting $1,789/ft the anonymous #4A sellers out-performed the hyper-local market by 10% or more. No one feels badly for them.


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