Noho loft sells at $2,077/ft, all about the Noho street scene

second floor lofts can bring the outdoors indoors

Not everyone wants to live right above the street. The “1,367 sq ft” Manhattan loft #2A at 17-19 Bond Street appeals to that subset of downtown Manhattan loft buyers for whom being part of the street action is a feature, not a bug. Indeed, having sold at $2.84mm, being a voyeur over a busy (and lovely) Noho street scene was a major feature of this loft.

that’s the sidewalk across Lafayette in the big window, visible from the middle of the loft

If that’s a direct view of sidewalk in the west-facing window from many steps away, imagine how much street life you could see if you got closer to that window, or to the four north-facing windows over Bond Street! Not to mention, how many folks walking by could see into your loft!! (Love it or hate it, it is a feature.)

High floor lofts can get views of sky, sometimes of icons, often of building tops.Second floor lofts can get views that include actual New Yorkers, New Yorking their way along (and, in this case, including tourists clogging oh-so-trendy Noho). It is kinda sorta like Riverside Drive apartments with river views that pull people to the windows to watch traffic on the river … when you get bored with that passing parade, it is time to move. (To the ‘burbs, maybe.)

“modern, eccentric, and effortlessly chic” loft?, or “cold”?

The broker babble is rather over the top, but it is certainly fitting to call the renovation “meticulous”. Also, “modern” and “eccentric”, the latter being a synonym for love-it-or-hate-it. I still can’t figure out whether I am on Team Love or Team Hate over the kitchen:

the most open of open kitchens, with not a single piece out of place

I wish they had taken a photo with those two back cabinets opened, as they contain “a Liebherr refrigerator, Miele dishwasher and oven, and compartmentalized storage “. I have to assume the frig opens directly when one of those handles is pulled forward, but the dishwasher and oven seem to require two steps: (1) open the cabinet, then (2) open the dishwasher or the oven. And, do you leave the cabinet door open if using the appliance (especially, the oven?)??

By the way, if you are a design snob you will be impressed with the claim that this is “the first [avant-garde Bulthaup Model 3 kitchen] to be installed in the United States”; otherwise, meh….

The flame in the pictured fireplace notwithstanding, the loft has a cold vibe to me. (Again, love it or hate it.) Hard, sleek surfaces abound, abetted by a decor without rugs, (much) art or wall adornments, all those windows, and only the most spare blinds (there have to be blinds along the top of the west windows and one panel down on the north windows, right?).

If you’re the sort of person who leaves some cookware on the stove, or wants a dish towel or wooden spoon handy, or who makes coffee, this doesn’t seem like the most comfortable setting for you. Similarly, if you own some books … (I feel I am drifting toward Team Hate, with a grudging respect for the design, nonetheless).

The new floor plan differs from the old in one important respect: count the steps added to a journey from the bed to the bathroom!

exit going west, then north, then all the way east

a much shorter walk in your pj’s, back in the day

(The old floor plan is from Triumph Property Group, obvs; all the other images are from Compass.)

I will leave it to you to click around to compare the many new images from the recent listing and the ten-year old (fuzzy) photos from the old listing, but it is clear that every surface of the space has been redone, and the interior gutted.

One thing I love about the new loft is that the column has been taken out of the sheetrock box it had been hidden within. (A hint of that is in the different shapes in the two floor plans.) And I do love all the new surfaces, individually; I just find the full impact (minimalist as the design is) oppressive. YMMV.

Manhattan loft comping is always hard, at times very hard

This is a “1,367 sq ft” one bedroom, one bath, that is optimized (within an inch of its life!) as such. Don’t even think about ‘ruining’ it by adding a second bath or bedroom, as the seller from 2009 suggested in the dotted lines in that floor plan above. You’d be throwing good money to taking out expensive (not to mention, “meticulous”) work; better to buy a less-expensively dressed loft if you must have a second bedroom or bathroom.

So that’s one distinguishing factor that make it hard to find truly comparable lofts from which to extrapolate a market value.

The nearby neighbors include over-the-top high profile newly built loft condominiums (40 Bond Street, to take just one example), which are very different buildings than this no-frills no-amenities low-monthly condo.

The best comps are always recent sales from the same building, but this 1989 condo conversion has only ten units and the most recent sale before #2A sold last month was … #2A in 2009. Not helpful!

illustrative (and weird) Past Sales data

Loft #2A has a fascinating sales history, illustrative of The Peak, and The Thaw in the overall Manhattan residential sales market:

April 12, 2009 $1,457,000
June 12, 2008 $1.72mm
July 2, 1998 $570,000

That 1998 buyer enjoyed ten boom years before the loft tripled in value; the 2008 buyer (one calendar quarter past The Peak) had some misfortune, and had to sell into a declining market; that Spring 2009 buyer was one of few people then willing to buy anything in Manhattan (about one quarter before The Thaw), and we know how that worked out. She did a meticulous renovation in a loft that, over ten years of ownership, nearly doubled in value.

Stop reading until the next bold section if you don’t want to get into the weeds of deed records ….

The earliest sale in the building on the StreetEasy Past Sales tab was in 1995, which usually means the condominium was formed then. But I was so intrigued by the sales sequence that I went over to Property Shark to find that the condo declaration is from January 1989. The first deed for loft #2A is from June 1989, to the individual who sold nine years later for $570,000. Sadly, that instrument was a trust indenture that shields the actual sales price, but we can see that the 1989 buyer secured a mortgage for $230,625 (scroll down on this Owner page) (you could put only 10% down for some condo mortgages in those days, so maybe the purchase price was $256,250; or maybe $276,750 with 20% down).

The condo declaration limits occupancy to the residential units to working artists certified by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, which is consistent with the local zoning designation of M-1B (there is a single commercial unit on the ground floor and basement). The early condo history of the building suggests that the sponsor was wither affiliated with, or made arrangements with a specific group of artists (click around the Owner tab on Property Shark for various units, and you will see that an entity called “Artists Working For Artists, Inc” was the original lender on mortgages for the commercial unit and at least five residential units when the condo was first formed).

Bond Street in 1989 was not (yet) “NoHo”, or chic, or trendy. It seems quite likely that a group of artists got together to participate in the preservation of what was (per the condo declaration) a vacant building, to be used by artists. Also, that all the original occupants of the ten residential units were certified artists.

I’m guessing that some agreement among the original artist occupants (or patrons) expired or changed in 1995, when the StreetEasy Past Sales history begins. The guy who sold loft #2A in 1998 also sold loft #3A in 1997; the sponsor sold two units in 2001 that had not previously changed ownership (loft #3C and the duplex 4/5B). Something was going on, but The Google hasn’t rewarded my clicking around the intertubes, at least not yet. (Note to self ….)

‘ancient’ history of the building

The Google did reward me with history I hadn’t been looking for, much further back than I had been looking. Tom Miller, the estimable Daytonian In Manhattan, published a post about the history of the building, from construction in 1880 through to condo conversion 109 years later (see his October 27, 2016 post, where you will learn [among other things] that Bond Street had been home to exclusive residences, then dentist’s offices [“there were more dentist offices on Bond Street than anywhere else in the city”] in the years before this building was constructed as lofts for manufacturing firms).

is this still an artists-only loft building?

Another angle to leave for another day (or to leave entirely) is the fact that the zoning hasn’t changed for 17-19 Bond Street, but there was no reference in the broker babble for loft #2A this year about any artist restrictions, or to a “Soho letter”, or an A.I.R. waiver. (I’ll just mention one of my A.I.R. series, the December 17, 2010, real world impact of Soho artist-in-residence rules and Certificate of Occupancy enforcement, as the dialogue continues.)

But I digress, so let’s shut this down.

 

 

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