prime Soho original artist loft at 100 Wooster sells immediately for $600/ft

another one bites the dust
The “2,000 sq ft” “classic”, “quintessential”, “rare”, “authentic” artist loft I hit last week (July 21, no mistaking the condition of artist loft at 184 Grand Street that sold for $710/ft) sold for (you guessed, right?)  $710/ft. Today’s entry in Sale of Endangered Species (when they’re gone, they’re gone!) is the Manhattan loft on the 5th floor at 100 Wooster Street, and you can be excused if you missed it while you were waiting for the air conditioner repair folks to arrive: to market on May 26, in contract by June 14 and sold on July 11 at the asking price of $1.8mm.

The broker babble on this one was brutally blunt, less poetic:

Rare Artist’s Loft in Prime SoHo. Located on Wooster Street between Prince and Spring, this loft occupies the entire top (fifth) floor of a four unit co-op building. Currently configured as Artist’s workspace plus living area, but the possibilities are endless with ~2,500 square feet of open space.  Western and Eastern and Southern windows. Tin ceilings and exposed brick throughout. Bring your architect as it is an original space. Freight elevator opens directly into the loft. Cash deal preferred.

As babbled, the listing description claims about 2,500 sq ft. StreetEasy thinks it is “3,000 sq ft” and our data-base believes “2,900 sq ft”. I used the StreetEasy number in the Master List of Manhattan Lofts Sold Since November 2008 in order to consistently source numbers there, and used “3,000 sq ft” to get to $610/ft. According to Property Shark, the building is built pretty much to the lot lines, and the lot is said to be “3,170 sq ft”, so “3,000 sq ft” seems reasonable for the interior space, noting the air shaft and space lost to the interior stairwell and freight elevator. (As does our “2,900 sq ft”, for that matter.)

Using “2,900 sq ft” the $1.8mm sale comes out to $621/ft, not a significant difference from the $600/ft I used. Using the unusually modest broker babble number of “2,500 sq ft”, the bump is to $720/ft, but I am not going there.

why prefer cash?
100 Wooster Street is prime Soho, yet this loft sold for less on a $/ft basis than the one last week at 182 Grand Street, using consistently sourced numbers. I wonder if there is a reason, or if the variance is simply random noise in a very thin segment of a small Manhattan residential real estate market niche. Not that many people these days seem to have the patience, time, talent and wealth to spend months (and cash) building out a beautiful loft from the brick walls to the tin ceilings.

The buy-and-gut segment gets thinner still with the advice in the babble “Cash deal preferred”. Indeed, that segment is a much thinner part of the niche. Fewer cash buyers should mean that the sales price will be lower, which is probably what happened here.

But why do they prefer cash? (Other than the truism that every seller prefers a cash buyer to a mortgage loan process, but why advertise the preference as if it is important?) There’s been no sale in this 4-unit coop that I can see for 15 years, and there is nothing in our building data about what down payment the building requires. Many small coops downtown are notoriously ‘reasonable’ about things like mortgage amounts and general financial qualifications, and we do have one note suggesting flexibility in our building data about Board Requirements: “AIR NOT REQUIRED”.

rank speculation
There is no limb for me to climb out here, as I am literally just guessing at a hypothesis, but I wonder if this seller was concerned about mortgage lender reaction to A.I.R. to prefer to avoid that entirely. (If there is a mortgage for the buyer it has not shown up yet on Property Shark.)

This speculation just might explain at least some of the different market valuation for this prime Soho loft compared to the much-Meaner-Street 182 Grand Street buy-and-build. As I said last week about #2E at 182 Grand Street:

One of the ways you know that this building is not in Soho is that it is not zoned for manufacturing but for commercial purposes, with a residential Certificate of Occupancy that would would not require Artist Certification. The perfect buy for someone concerned about the city stepping up A.I.R. enforcement.

If the buyer at 100 Wooster Street spends $300/ft to build the space out, the result is a huge loft in the middle of Soho (between Prince and Spring Streets) for $900/ft. Seems like a good deal for me (for those with the cash).

© Sandy Mattingly 2011

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