whatever an “ungentrified” Manhattan loft is, one at 33 Bleecker Street just got $1,/317ft

breaking barriers in broker babbling about Manhattan lofts since …

There’s nothing wrong with calling a Manhattan loft “ungentrified”; it’s just a tad obscure. Does it mean the hipsters haven’t moved in yet? (Probably not.) Does it want to imply that you should bring your architect, or create your dream home, or that work must be done? (This track gets somewhere.) Maybe it is a synonym for “original”; that would certainly imply that a buyer should bring a renovation budget. The “1,200 sq ft” Noho loft #3A at 33 Bleecker Street stares right down Mott Street and drops the Q-word; it was definitely marketed as a project:

Quintessential old time terrific Noho loft with character and charm, wooden beams and columns, row of windows facing south, sun flooded and cheerful and utterly ungentrified. Charming tree line block. Not to be missed! 2 bedrooms (one interior), office and one bath.

For so few words, there are a great many listing photos. (The effect of using photos of the empty loft, then photos of the same rooms full of furniture and stuff is a little like the transition of The Wizard of Oz to color.) Yup, a quintessential loft, with character and charm, wooden beams and columns, but you need to go beyond the text to the photos and the floor plan to see the scale of the project ahead of the new owner. There’s one bath (about the size of the kitchen) and no kitchen or bath close-up, so assume that you probably won’t even re-use the stainless appliances seen only off in the distance. Mark the plumbing risers, erase the lines, and start over. You’ve got those wooden beams and columns, tons of brick, and four south-facing windows (Mott Street!) that might just seem to get smaller the closer you get. (Talk about ” … to ceiling” windows! These look jammed under the ceiling.) The single exposure and sharp angle in the southeast corner make for a challenging footprint.

The bathroom is too big for the whole space, that home office is too small for any other use, and the set-up is way too cramped, as-is. I will bet you a quarter that the first wall that went up in the loft was for that (interior) “bedroom” and that it may have been added some years after the recent sellers moved in. Another quarter says the next wall closed the home office nook, with the front bedroom having been added when the kids (twins?) arrived. The problem with this piecemeal adaptation is that the front area would have some volume, if only that bedroom weren’t there so the 4 modest windows would be seen as much as possible. I’d also try to make the columns free-standing, rather than have two in a bedroom wall and a third in a bedroom corner.

You have a lot to work with (columns, beams, brick), but not a lot of space in which to work, and not many (small) windows. If you need more than one sleep area, push that home office corner a little west and a little south, but get rid of that windowed bedroom. Open, sesame! (Please.)

meanwhile, the loft sold twice, quickly

No way to know what happened to the first contract (unless you know someone in the deal), but the loft found a quick deal off an ask of $1.55mm and then another quick deal off a higher ask. Despite selling for higher than the original asking price, this sale gets no shaded numbers on the Master List of downtown Manhattan loft sales, because there was a price change and because the sale was at a discount to last ask. (Sellers don’t care because they got more than they started at; but the lack of color on this line of the Master List is anomalous.)

May 1 new to market $1.55mm
June 6 contract
July 22 back on market $1.595mm
Aug 15 contract
Oct 28 sold $1.58mm

That’s just 5 weeks and 3 weeks to each contract, but the whole thing took about 15 weeks to get the deal done that finally stuck. Even without a green number for an above ask sale, or a blue number for a no-change-in-ask price, this is yet another sale that shows the velocity in the Manhattan residential real estate market. Buyer beware, indeed.

The buyers are going to do $250/ft in renovations, if not more, so they will push their investment around $1,600/ft. For a no-frills coop. With a single exposure and 4 cramped windows. And they will find it challenging to have more than one sleep area. Best of luck!

There are no relevant building comps. There are only 10 residential units in the building, none of which have changed hands insofar as StreetEasy has any data. Our listing system has four prior residential sales, but they were in 2002, 1999, 1992 and 1991, so of no use for comping. Props to the sellers for working in that comp fog at almost exactly the right price.

losing lexicography, or, repairing the broker babble balance

It took me quite a while to realize why that “ungentrified” bothers me as a professional sales person. Is its opposite (“gentrified”) ever used as a compliment? (A: not any more.) Hence, the “un” word tells you that you have to take it from its “un” state (idyllic, pre-gentrified) to make it modern but accuses you of doing a bad thing once you change the “un” to “gentrified”. Too cute by half. Read the babble again, but leave off the last 3 words of the first sentence. Better?

I will stop now.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply