not new news, but Sonic Youth sell close-to-raw loft at 292 Lafayette at $1,033/ft


figures, right?

You’d never see this kind of color in a listing description (darn), but the loft that was described in New York Magazine in the 1990s as “a perfect combination of total trash and sweet shine” has been sold. It ain’t new news, as the sale occurred in October, but it is new in the sense that the deed was recorded only on March 27. And (unless it was reported in the New York Observer, or Real Estalker, or Curbed and I missed it), the sale of the “1,500 sq ft” Manhattan loft #4W at 292 Lafayette Street (sometimes known as 129 Crosby Street) is news because the sellers are rock stars from the 1990s, who apparently kept the loft as home base for their Manhattan music lives even after moving to Northamptom, Massachusetts when their daughter was born, and even after splitting up a year before they sold.


Whether or not you are fans of their band, fans of Manhattan lofts should be interesting for the window the “close to raw” loft provides on gut job values in non-prime Soho: in this case, over $1,000/ft. Building history shows that this is an appropriate discount for condition.


As much as I think I would like to see a phrase like “a perfect combination of total trash and sweet shine” used to sell a Manhattan loft, the actual broker babble is, in its own way, a model of brevity. In its entirety:


On a Soho tree-lined block, this close-to-raw, 1500 SF, corner loft with 8 over-sized windows, beautiful solid old wood columns, brick walls, wood floors is a rare find.. Away from the crowds but close to best restaurants, local bookstore, public library, this wide open space offers numerous possibilities. Terrifically run coop.


The pictures don’t look “close-to-raw” to me, but I will take the agents at their word. To quibble, I’d call it more primitive than raw, especially as the floors might be in good shape, those brick walls have been painted long ago, and there is a kitchen that seems more 1980s than 1960s. But perhaps the photographer did an unusually good job in masking and smoothing more raw elements.


It certainly is not over-dressed, or even well-dressed. Moore and Gordon owned it for a long time (close to 20 years, at least), without doing much to it. The square-ish floor plan is utilitarian, with a small windowed bedroom and two interior rooms that could be for sleeping or mixing or storing equipment. There’s still a single bathroom, so however big the group that used it, they must have gotten along to a certain degree.


I am not enough of a Sonic Youth fan to know if the loft was a significant part of band lore. Certainly, the northeast corner of Soho was accessible to many music venues of the 1990s (4 short blocks over, 1 block up, to CBGBs!). If the walls could talk ….


others, nicer, and pricier

It does not appear as though Moore and Gordon were trying to impress anyone with the loft. They didn’t love the loft aesthetic enough to expose the brick or the wood beams. Compare the painted beams in loft #4W to the exposed beams in the main listing photo for #5W, which sold for $1.7mm in June 2010 (and for $1.5mm in October 2006), or the beams and columns (and pressed-tin ceilings!) in loft #2E, which sold for an impressive $2.255mm in a near-Peak deal in early 2008. (Apparently, the east view is more valuable, even allowing for #2E being in much better condition than any of the west lofts.)


Ballparking off the #5W sale in 2010 at $1.7mm, it appears #4W went right in line at $1.55mm 28 months later.


for more on Thurston Moore …

Consult The Wiki.


© Sandy Mattingly 2013


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