103 Greene Street penthouse loft takes a (near) million dollar hit to sell below 2008

not everything is flying
They had a little trouble selling the “2,474 sq ft” penthouse Manhattan loft
#7A at 103 Greene Street in prime Soho back in the day, as the near-Peak campaign took 4 months and a big price drop to get to contract 15% off the original ask; but those buyers in 2008 no longer think they got a deal, as it just took them 17 months and two price drops to find a contract just a tad below what they spent. Here is what the full history looks like, in two volumes:

April 25, 2008 new to market $5.875mm
July 23   $5.2mm
Aug 22 contract  
Oct 10 sold $5mm
Aug 22, 2011 new to market $5.9mm
Feb 3, 2012


Mar 5 same agent, new firm $5.5mm
Sept 13   $5.25mm
Mar 1, 2013 contract  
May 22 sold $4.95mm


In terms of market dynamics, it is clear that the timing of the 2008 sellers was off, but it is not clear whether (or, to what extent) this hurt them. They hit the market a month after the quarter in which the highest prices were recorded in the overall Manhattan residential real estate market, yet they got the contract before Lehman’s bankruptcy; in fact, they were lucky in closing after Lehman, as the Real Estate Industrial Complex, Manhattan Media division was rife with stories about buyers walking away from contracts after Lehman’s bankruptcy soiled the marketplace. Had they started sooner, or started at $5.2mm, I suspect they’d have gotten more than $5mm. But that ain’t what happened.

Next time around, when the 2008 buyers turned into wannabe sellers, the charms (and value) of the loft were more apparent to the owners than to potential buyers, again. The latest sellers tried an intermediate price, but the other numbers are remarkably similar to the 2008 campaign, just with a lot more time. These sellers were rather patient, trying each price for at least 5 months before finally biting the bullet and accepting a deal at a tiny discount to their purchase price.

$2.5 million per bedroom
The size of this loft is maddeningly difficult to pin down (discussed below) but the utility is clear: the
floor plan contains exactly two bedrooms in a classic Long-and-Narrow array, with plumbing on both long sides in the middle. At nearly 36 feet wide, this is an unusually wide Long-and-Narrow, but not so wide as to permit 3 bedrooms across the back without negating the ‘luxury’ feel (the largest would then be about 12 x 12 feet).

That width provides great volume to the open space in front, aided by the long wall of east windows and moderately tall (11 foot ?) ceilings. The broker babble is relatively modest for a luxury condo new in 2002, with “open custom chef’s kitchen with Sub-Zero and Viking appliances, … gas fireplace, central air conditioning…. a custom fitted walk in closet [and] limestone master bathroom”, but the glory of the loft is what is on the roof: “a two level, fully landscaped, architecturally designed roof deck”.

in 2008, the loft was marketed with the claim that the two rooftop spaces plus the terrace off the main room (35’6” x 5’) were “1,538 sq ft”, which seems … er … generous, but at least gives a sense of the scale. (Think: massive.) This is terrific entertaining space in the outdoor months of the year, though the roof gets points off for being accessed up the (public?) stair and requiring that all food and beverages be humped up that stair.

your feet look funny
That 2008 listing that had the outdoor space at “1,538 sq ft” claimed the interior at “2,108 sq ft”, which has the benefit of looking
close to accurate, if the space really is 35’6” wide, but the deficit of not being sourced anywhere I can find. The city thinks the loft is “2,474 sq ft” (in that 2008 deed record, for example), which seems … er … ridiculous (the loft is only 35’6” wide!), but that’s what I use in the Master List of Manhattan Lofts Sold Since November 2008 because I need a standard. Presumably, that city number comes from the Condo Declaration.

We’ve been here before, looking at palpably absurd and variable size claims about the same space (see my November 2, 2010,
the square footage dilemma: REBNY "leads" by protecting brokers, not buyers, as the mother of all such Manhattan Loft Guy posts). I am not going to try to do any Miller-riffing about the interior vs. exterior values, as there are no other sales in this 12-unit condo since 2010 from which to establish an interior base-line (Streeteasy building page, here); and even if there were, I’d get frustrated with having to use numbers that just look wrong. (Patient readers should be thankful for small favors.)


© Sandy Mattingly 2013



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