Gilsey House loft seller disappointed in setting building record at 1200 Broadway

… and in getting only 62% above 2010 purchase price

Not many folks would be disappointed by beating the building record on a dollar-per-foot basis by about a quarter, but the listing history of the “1,850 sq ft” Manhattan loft #5G at 1200 Broadway (the Gilsey House) tells me the seller was unenthusiastic about selling a few weeks ago:

Mar 20 new to market $3.2mm
April 12 $2.95mm
May 19 $2.725mm
June 20 contract
Sept 12 sold $2.35mm

If you can’t find the calculator on your smartphone quickly, the sale was 36% off the original asking price, and 14% off the last price. That sure looks as though it stung.

But here’s an additional data point, foreshadowed in the sub-head: the recent seller at $2.35mm bought the loft in essentially identical condition on May 26, 2010 for … (wait for it) … $1.45mm. The subhead told you that’s a gain of about 62%, but not that the overall Manhattan residential sales market was up (only) 29%.

The seller got $1,270/ft for what is (and was, in 2010) a lovely loft (more on that below). The last sale in the building was a lovely (if dated) loft of similar size and shape, and loft #4B got (only) $2.25mm this past January. You can’t tell from StreetEasy (because it doesn’t know how big that loft is) but that was $1,023/ft based on the data in our listing system. You won’t find another past sale at Gilsey House that reached $1,000/ft (see the Past Activity tab for the building page; note that the listing description for #4D in 2011 allows that computation: $657/ft!).

adventures in (not) anticipating The Market

I am not going to use the poor guy’s name to spare him some Google Juice he might not appreciate, but the same agent who brought the lovely loft #5G to market at $3.2mm in March 2014 (to see it sold for $2.35mm) brought the gut renovation project loft #3D to market in September 2013 at $1.489mm (to see it sold for … wait … $1.9mm). To recap: #5G sold 36% off the first ask; #3D sold 28% above the ask. Same building, similar sizes, six months difference, very different conditions.

You could say sometimes you get the bear and sometimes the bear gets you, or you could say … comping is hard. Meanwhile, back in the lovely loft ….

name-branded design, proper proper names, with the Empire State Building somewhere out the window

The broker babble is enthusiastic, specific, and justified. I don’t get the fascination with being able to close the foyer, but the babble did its job:

The closeable foyer, with walk-in closet, makes it extremely quiet w/no outside city noises. … designed by interior designer Marc Schlessler. The open chef’s kitchen has teakwood cabinets with blumotion soft close drawers. The Dornbrach faucets, Electrolux oven, Diva Provence Induction cooktop and Sub-Zero refrigerator accentuate the Caesar Sone Quartz countertops. The great room showcases the bright views of the Empire State Bldg and enhances the room w/wide plank Brazilian walnut floors and 12 ft ceilings. … custom California walk-in closets. … spa like baths made of Greek Thassos marble and Tuscan Pietra Serena limestone. The ensuite master bath has a delightful rainfall shower head, while the 2nd bath has a steam shower. … 3 zone central air conditioning and the Bosch w/d ….

Syntax is a little weird (“the great room … enhances the room w/wide plank … floors”?) but the nouns and adjectives promise quality materials. The photos support the promise of quality. The floor plan shows that the space is efficiently laid out, with the limitations that the two exposures in a nearly square footprint ameliorated, a bit. Though “1,850 sq ft”, there can’t be more than two bedrooms:

The photos show that the 12 ft ceilings are beamed, with exposed pipes and tall windows. The dropped ceilings provide cover for light fixtures, soffits house the central air ducts, and the sole structural element (the column at the edge of the kitchen) is squared off and encased. Not my preference, but apparently it is high design that Mr. Schlesser was happy to be associated with, and two sets of owners have liked.

As implied by the price, The Market thinks the design and finishes were worth a significant premium to anything else in the building, so any blogger quibbling is just that … quibbling.

the view is an invisible selling point

(More quibbling ….) Did you read in the babble about how the “great room showcases the bright views of the Empire State Bldg”? Did you see those bright views in the listing photos? I didn’t either, alas.

is the Empire State out  there?

Quite often, when views are enough of a selling point to be featured in the babble, the views are actually pictured. And the Empire State Building is usually a money view. In this case, however, I suspect that the icon is visible from the window, rather than from within the room. Gilsey House sits only 3 blocks due south of the ESB, and the three angled living great room photos suggest that you have to be stand close enough to those north windows to look up to see the ESB. Certainly, none of the seating is arranged to take advantage of the view. It’s almost as though you have to go ‘visit’ the ESB in this loft.

what was different about this NoMad loft in 2010?

I’ve already told you that the recent seller at $2.35mm bought the loft in May 2010 at $1.45mm, and that this gain of 62% vastly out-performed the overall Manhattan residential real estate market (at least, as measured by the same sale condo index of StreetEasy). It was the same loft then, as now, as revealed by the 2010 marketing photos and babble:

pin-drop quiet ,modern loft home, renovated by interior designer Marc Schlesser, … soaring 12′ ceilings, huge windows that view The Empire State Building to the North and direct Western sunlight, wide-plank Brazilian walnut floors, open cooks kitchen with beautiful Teakwood cabinets equipped with Blumotion soft close drawers, Sub-Zero refrigerator,Dornbracht faucets, Electrolux oven and Diva Provence Induction cooktop, CeasarStone quartz countertops, 2 full spa-like Greek Thassos marble, Itailian Nero marble, Tuscan Pietra Serena limestone bathrooms with amazing rainshower over the master bath, steam shower in the 2nd bath, … California closets, Bosch washer/dryer laundry, 3 zone Central Air Conditioning, special lighting to highlight your art.

Same loft, same proper proper names, same materials, same lighting and air and closets … up 62% over the time period the overall market was up 29%.

Put aside the fact that the seller asked The Market to double his purchase price (for me, that’s hard to put aside, but if I can do it, you can do it). While it is possible there was something about the niche 2-bedroom loft market between 23rd and 34th Streets to account for some of the appreciation in value, it has got to be the micro-nabe that accounts for the bulk of the increased value, in my opinion.

‘NoMad’ is what has changed. (Were we calling it that in 2010? Note to self  ….) More precisely, it is probably The Ace Hotel Effect that is pulling up values on and off Broadway near 30th Street, as Eataly has pulled up values a few blocks south. I have a few clients who bought lofts last year near both Gilsey House and The Ace, and we have been pinging NoMad puff pieces back and forth for months. (Most recently, this piece from The Real Deal only 5 weeks ago, which is better than most of its type because it is more specific than most of the broker puffery that you see.)

Yes, there has been a loft market around (and in) Gilsey House for 30+ years, but that slice of a niche has bumped along in sync with the overall market (consistently at a discount to the market, but largely in sync). Loft #5G at 1200 Broadway is evidence that the discount is shrinking around here.

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