loft seller massively resets expectations to sell 41% off post-Peak request at 561 Broadway

an attitude adjustment measured in 7 figures
Sometimes the most interesting thing about a Manhattan loft sale is not a sales price but an asking price. In the case of the “2,200 sq ft” Manhattan loft #5A at 561 Broadway (the Little Singer Building) it is interesting that someone paid $909/ft ($2mm) on December 14 for an opportunity (“[b]ring your architect to make your home in this historic Soho landmark”); it is very interesting that the seller had entertained the fanciful notion in 2008 and 2009 that this opportunity might be worth more than $1,500/ft.

With a marketing campaign that began 6 weeks after the fall of the house of Lehman as that one did, I am sometimes tempted to sympathize that an unsuccessful seller ran into bad luck. The loft was offered in those chilly days from October 30, 2008 to April 15, 2009, but at $3.4mm luck had nothing to do with this loft not selling, even in nuclear winter.

How does an attitude adjustment like this take place? I find it hard to even guess why a seller might think this loft was worth something like $3.4mm, so “optimistic” seems inadequate. Of course, “stubborn” also comes to mind to describe a seller holding firm for 6 months at a price The Market has rejected. But in June 2011 the same seller recalibrated, asking $2.295mm when re-offering loft #5A to the market on June 25.

Not only was this new asking price a dramatic recognition of the failure of the the nuclear winter campaign, but the seller was responsive enough to the then-current market by negotiating to a $2mm contract by September 26 (per our data-base; StreetEasy does not have a contract date). That is a healthy 13% discount, so obviously the opening bid was lower even than that.

Again, how does an attitude adjustment like this take place? Whatever the root (a real need to sell, most likely, combined with a willingness to look freshly at what the loft might be worth), it got the job done. Sold!

not a lot to say about the loft
The broker babble is virtually devoid of description of the interior space (“sun shines brightly in this 2200 square foot loft …. unique space is 47 feet wide” is about it) and the two (only two) interior photos underline the obvious: the loft needs a total gut job. (From the looks of the tile facing on the kitchen counter visible in the last photo, this kitchen probably dates from the 1970s.)

The good news is easily summed up: that 47 feet of windows over Broadway (with that juliet balcony running the length) and 3 columns. Unless there is a plumbing stack close to the window wall, the only way to get a real master suite is to take the entire north wall, an extravagant use of 50+ feet of wall space. Of course, someone willing to sleep in interior space will be rewarded with a huge open (living room) space with that 47 foot run of floor-to-ceiling windows. I bet that most buyers would succumb to the temptation to put a bedroom in that southeast stub in the floor plan. There’d be a long walk in your pj’s to get to the bathrooms, but that is the most logical space for a room-with-window.

The recent buyers undoubtedly brought their architect, as invited, who was probably very excited by the prospect of re-imagining that “2,200 sq ft” space, with the 47 feet of windows and 3 columns. Assuming the floors are good enough to keep, that is the only element likely to survive a renovation.

(Note to self: collect other examples of sellers adjusting from such a wildly over-optimistic asking price to a more realistic ask; these are fascinating!)

© Sandy Mattingly 2012



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  1. […] Loft Guy will recall that I hit that #5A sale when it was current, in my February 6, 2012, loft seller massively resets expectations to sell 41% off post-Peak request at 561 Broadway. The focus in that post was on expectations, reset “massively”, as that headline put […]

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