an odd pair: open loft at 284 Lafayette Street finally sells (again) followed by 'done' neighbor

maybe someone will build it out (this time)
What if people buy their dream, then don’t (can’t?) realize their dream? The Manhattan loft #4D at 284 Lafayette Street sold pretty quickly way back in 2006 for $2.29mm as an “artist’s dream” / “easily converted” space; I see no listing information about it when it sold again June 29, 2009 for $2.1mm but it is obvious that it was still a ‘project’; when it was offered again for sale beginning (again) in November 2009 it was “a dream renovation waiting to happen, and it does need to be completly [sic] renovated”. That November 2009 campaign eventually succeeded, with a deed recorded on March 31 at $2.4mm. That is an awful lot of dreaming, over an awfully long time, that has not (yet) resulted in a renovated space. Perhaps the third time is a charm.

it might look like this
Assuming they build it this time, the new #4D owners will have the opportunity to do something nice to the space, something like the downstairs neighbors in #2D did, which they just sold on April 20 for $3.35mm. That one raced through The Market, coming out at $3.3mm on February 9, finding a contract after a bidding war by March 2, then slowing down to close two weeks ago. That is 3 weeks to contract and 10 weeks to cash. That is quick work.

The #2D footprint is said to be “2,921 sq ft” of nearly square space with windows along only one side (west, over Crosby; more about those windows in a bit). There are “wonderful original details, such as cast iron columns, exposed brick, maple flooring and 11 foot ceilings”, and that volume makes a split of master suite on the south wall and everything else on the north wall (other 2 bedrooms, then kitchen and bath, then pantries) a very logical result that leaves the open space in the middle as a 42 x 33 foot living/dining area, with 5 of those 10 windows.

Like many second floor lofts, you may not often be tempted to open the windows, and the fact that they are “brand new commercial grade double paned over sized windows”, and won’t need to with the central air conditioning, both help. The Crosby Street side of the building has got to be less noisy and less grimy than the Lafayette side (where the subway also rumbles), but it will be nicer with the windows closed than open.

Loft #2D is finished with a “smashing gourmet kitchen” with proper proper names, two baths with similar nouns, and classy touches such as “solid wood 8’ doors with pivot hinges”.

12% premium over 2007
I need to go back to my 2007 Manhattan loft resale comps, as #2D realized a significant gain over its prior sale just two quarters shy of The Peak (August 30, 2007 at $2.995mm). The loft had the same shape and nouns then as now, so that 12% gain simply reflects the different market conditions in the hyper-local loft market bounded by Lafayette and Crosby Streets at the charmingly obscure Jersey Street.

fun fact about market velocity
Of course the 2007 Manhattan residential real estate market was the fastest and deepest market over a full year that Manhattan has ever had, but although that #2D sale approaching The Peak was quick, it was not as quick as the recent resale. Instead of 3 weeks to a premium contract, back then #2D took more than 5 weeks for a full-price contract. Not exactly O. U. C. H. material, but fascinating (if you share my perspective).

not much of a spread, little direct competition
I noted the #4D sale soon after the deed was filed a month ago, and started this post because I had been semi-following the curious serial-sale-without-renovation history of this Manhattan loft for some raw space buyers, but only this morning (after a half-drafted post) did the #2D deed get filed. The comparison between the two neighboring lofts (in condition, price and market history) is dramatic. The spread of $950,000 surprises me a little.

Being 25 feet higher above Crosby Street is undoubtedly a plus factor for the #4D. But is it was marketed as needing a complete build-out (“several sets of beautiful plans” available!). #4D claims “3,100 sq ft”, so it might be a little bigger on the higher floor than #2D at “2,921 sq ft”. Especially assuming the new owners of #4D will install similar commercial grade windows as on the second floor, there is not a whole lot of room between #2D as beautifully done at $3.35mm and #4D needing a complete build-out at $2.4mm. Without considering the cost of carrying the space during a renovation and the risk that any renovation project might not turn out as well as owners plan, there’s just a bit more than $300/ft between #3D and #4D.

Not sure if you could get a tip-top build-out for $300/ft. Interesting that no one really had the opportunity to weigh one against the other, as #2D came to market only 5 days after #4D went into contract. [edited to correct some typos]

© Sandy Mattingly 2011


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