another big drop that worked / 69 Wooster Street closes under $1,000/ft after $850k drop


but only 15% off
A Manhattan loft on the
5th floor at 69 Wooster Street closed in April under $1,000/ft, despite the fact that it was "newly renovated in a classic but modern style" and a ridiculously low maintenance ($0.42/ft). These sellers also bit a pretty big bullet in facing up to the beast that is The Market: they cut the asking price by $850k before negotiating another $275k off the price two months later.

size matters
I suspect that this loft, like the museum quality loft at 644 Broadway discussed April 27 (
price of ‘museum quality’ in Noho = $1,000/ft / 644 Broadway closes quickly) was penalized for selling in a very thin slice of a pretty thin market. At "5,000 sq ft", even selling at $980/ft was a $4.625mm clearing price. As the marketing said, this space "defines living large"; with only 3 bedrooms in "5,000 sq ft", that is a very modest statement indeed. (In addition to the bedrooms, there is a very large media room and the master suite includes a dressing room equal in size to many Manhattan loft bedrooms; the combined living / dining / kitchen area takes up well over half the loft.)

Even in prime Soho, this scale commanded less than $1,000/ft.

why talk about an old closing?
This closing has been sitting in my Ideas / Draft pile for about 10 weeks, which would customarily exceed a freshness date for blog posting purposes. But this loft transaction intrigues me. There are just not that many lofts on this scale, and I have certainly been attuned to looking for Big Price Drops. Inabsolute terms, a price drop of $850,000 is large, though less than some I have hit (only most recently, I hit a
$2mm drop for a sale at 175 Sullivan Street on July 16 and a 45% original-ask-to-close discount at 50 Warren Street on July 11), while negotiating from $4.9mm to $4.625mm is hardly a major (additional) cut.

slice, then slice again
But the scale! This loft was probably penalized, as I said above, for seeking "a very thin slice of a pretty thin market", but it is probably more than that. It probably suffered for taking two very thin slices of a very thin market: first, the thin-oxygen market around $5mm; second, the (thinner?) market of people for whom 5,000 sq ft is appealing.

I have found in Soho in the last five months only two sales above this one at $4.625mm. One was never publicly marketed and was bought by an LLC, so I am not sure what it may mean (285 Lafayette Street #7A, recorded at $6mm for an unknown amount of space in a 1999 uber-condo conversion). The other was in a brand new development, #7B at 151 Wooster Street, "3,007 sq ft" that cleared at $5.35mm with monthly charges and taxes of $5,732 (pretty uber, that condo). So not much changed hands in these rarefied price levels, and neither was more than 60% the size of the loft at 69 Wooster.


© Sandy Mattingly 2009


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