Manhattan lofts running the bulls on Greene Street, large + pricey

2 Soho lofts took a week to contract just under $6 million

Two large lofts on the same Soho block closed a day apart at very similar price points and very similar trajectories: the “2,964 sq ft” loft #4B at 54 Greene Street sold for $5,600,375 on June 20 and the “3,300 sq ft” loft #4E at 33 Greene Street sold for $5.75mm the next day; the first took eight days to get into contract last November, the second only seven days in April; the first is on the southeast corner at Broome Street, the second is on the northwest corner at Grand Street. They are found on different sheets on my Master List of downtown Manhattan loft sales because the first was a new development sale, the second a resale.

The buyers of each respective Soho loft probably didn’t consider buying the other one, as the contract dates were six months apart, but they closed almost simultaneously, so they look like they were competitors, kinda sorta. Let’s compare!

You would be forgiven for thinking the two footprints are identical, as the floor plans are very similar:

nearly square, this one claims to be 10% larger (thx Compass)

more open floor plan (slightly), only 4 columns (Halstead images; thx)

how much do the cosmetics matter?

Your mileage may vary, but these lofts have a very different feel to me. The larger one is darker, more flat, more sleek; the smaller is bright (white and blonde), textured (cast-iron columns, tin ceilings), and (to some) a more ‘classic’ loft.

personally, I hate dropped ceilings in a loft, + love columns with character

“classic”, ’nuff said? (please don’t say “boring”)

I’m guessing that architects love the 33 Greene Street look, while designers appreciate the canvass at 54 Greene Street.

pulling out all the stops (+ millwork)

“let it be”


“dramatic” (with much nicer columns than in the great room)

stark (not quite Starck), with no distractions

From a marketing perspective, the buyer pool for the dressed-to-the-nines loft at 33 Greene Street started with folks who love the woodwork, and pretty much ended there. The buyer pool for 54 Greene Street included everyone who loves classic lofts, including folks who prefer to dress up a loft a-la-33-Greene.

dollars vary, only slightly

You’ve seen the clearing prices and the sizes, so you know that the (slightly) smaller loft at 54 Greene Street sold (slightly) higher than 33 Greene Street on a price-per-foot basis, but not in absolute dollars; the $5.75mm for 33 Greene Street comes to $1,742/ft versus $5,600,375 and $1,901/ft at 54 Greene Street. At this dollar level and scale of space, the difference seems more ‘noise’ than science. (Though it is consistent with my buyer-pool comment, that is hardly proof.)

More interesting, still, is that 33 Greene Street is a coop (maintenance of $3,102/mo), while 54 Greene Street is a condo (common charges and real estate taxes of $1,151/mo and $1,523/mo, respectively), so the condo monthlies are a good 15% more ‘affordable’. Neither offers a doorman, while the condo has the additional amenity of a common roof deck.

Data-driven clients of mine who ask about the difference between coops and condos in Manhattan know that my go-to answer always includes my go-to guy, aka The Miller. The Miller authored a study with the Furman Center at NYU (10+ years ago) that concluded that a hypothetical condo substantially identical to a hypothetical coop would be about 8.8% more valuable (i.e, have a higher market value) because it is a condo.

Here, the price-per-foot difference is 9%, before considering the difference in monthlies. Sweet!

market conditions vary over time (d’oh) but buyers are … weird

As I noted, both of the lofts went to contract extremely quickly, but that’s not the whole story. You know the contract dates were November 2016 and April 2017, but you don’t know (unless you scanned the StreetEasy links closely) is that the coop at 33 Greene Street failed to sell for four months last year despite being offered for the last half of that marketing period at $5.3mm. Thirteen months later, it sold (quickly!) for $5.75mm.

Of course, you might wonder about the buyer pool in early 2016 compared to the buyer pool in early 2017. Don’t … the StreetEasy Manhattan Price Index (my favorite single-number proxy of the overall market) is essentially flat in that period, up about 1%.

There is another explanation, but it does not speak well of buyers. Are buyers so incapable of ‘seeing’ a loft that the mis-value a paint job??

I’m not going to spoil your fun with the photos in this post, but if you click on the link for the unsuccessful marketing effort last year you might well be blinded by the colors. And the mirrors. (Click through to the kid’s room, please.)

The sellers were obviously in love with their decor, so much so as to name drop the noted designer and the architect. So much so that they over-priced the loft considerably, starting at $6.1mm until they dropped to $5.3mm after two months. There’s the same dropped ceilings, the same dark floor, the same wood columns in part of the loft, the same kitchen, the same millwork, and the same mirror and tiling in the master bath.

But what was vibrantly colored is now muted. The mirrored columns in the great room are now stripped. And the (wallpaper?) in the master bath has been removed. What does it cost to repaint a “3,300 sq ft” loft these days? If it is $20,000 I’d be surprised.

The folks who just paid $5.75mm could have bought the loft for $5.3mm a year earlier (as could anyone else) and, as they likely did not like the color scheme on the walls and the mirrors on some of the columns, could have spent a small amount to go white.

Kudos to the sellers for realizing (being persuaded?) that a color intervention was required, and to their (new) agents for realizing that a price increase would work.

A Bronx cheer to anyone who saw it in Spring 2016 and couldn’t get a quote on a paint job. And don’t talk to me about an efficient market ….



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