primitive loft at 16 Crosby Street sells above ask under $900/ft

was it the (lack of) maintenance?
The “2,700 sq ft” Manhattan loft #2F at 16 Crosby Street was available for only a short time, coming to market on July 15 at $2.35mm, going to contract by August 8, and closing on October 28 at a small premium, $2.375mm. The loft was marketed as a “Quintessential Soho Loft”, with the between the lines suggestion that the loft is in pretty primitive condition confirmed by neighborly news, and has a ridiculously low maintenance. Ridiculous, as in world class low: “virtually no monthly maintenance charges, just a small annual fee of approximately $800”.

Do that math: if instead of paying (say) $0.75/ft in monthly maintenance, this owner pays $800/yr, that is a cash ‘savings’ of roughly $1,950/mo ($0.75/ft x. 2,700 = $2,025/mo, vs. $67/mo). That $1,950/mo, if applied instead to a mortgage payment, would support more than $350,000 in mortgage principal (at 5%). So one way to look at this ridiculous maintenance is that it makes the loft $$350,000 less expensive than the same loft with a more typical maintenance obligation. Looked at another way, this loft with this maintenance purchased at $880/ft is equivalent (on a cash flow basis) to another loft with a more typical maintenance purchased at $746/ft ($2.375mm less $360k / 2,700 sq ft).

That number begins to make  sense to me for a buy-and-gut loft, even in near-Prime Soho.

what is going on upstairs?
There is no need to adjust for unusually low maintenance to comp the #2F loft sale 2 months ago with the #3RN sale almost 6 months ago. #3RN was billed as a “2,450 sq ft designer residence … masterfully renovated to embody luxury loft living”; if true, that was a relative bargain, coming to market at $2.4mm, dropping to $2.25mm and clearing at $2.18mm on August 16 ($890/ft). That is only $10/ft higher than #2F.

That tiny spread puts my Manhattan Loft Guy brain on tilt.

I can see no reason why these two 2011 sales of  similarly-sized lofts in the same coop would be valued anywhere near each other. Granted, the #2F floor plan is much more efficient, with back windows on both sides that probably permit very little light, as the #3RN floor plan is limited by 4 windows being on only one wall, resulting (among other things) in a bizarro master suite. But still …

The excerpted broker babble describes the two interiors in very different ways. #2F:

Quintessential Soho Loft Space …. currently configured as a 2 bedroom/ 2 bathroom with artist’s studio, 359 sq foot loft currently used as a den/media room, a home office, and a 576 sq foot loft for storage. In the living room, your eyes are immediately drawn to the 3 huge windows. An open kitchen features wolf stove and sub-zero fridge. … This sprawling loft also has 14 foot pressed tin ceilings and exposed brick walls.


exquisite SoHo loft! …. This 2,450 square foot designer residence has been masterfully renovated to embody luxury loft living. Beautifully laid out and superbly proportioned, this sprawling home is perfect for entertaining. It features 12-foot pressed tin ceilings, a wall of oversized windows, cast iron columns, and a bounty of wall space for displaying one’s art collection. The open chef’s kitchen boasts all stainless steel appliances, custom cabinetry, and stone countertops. The kitchen flows seamlessly into the formal dining area off of the sun-filled living room. The spacious master bedroom boasts a 12-foot deep walk-in closet/dressing area and an immense en-suite bathroom with a double Jacuzzi and shower.

If nothing else, the #2F floor plan and babble invite the conversion of the artist studio, and hint at the re-purposing of the lofted media room and lofted storage. If you would re-do that under-ceiling space across the entire middle of the loft, why stop before re-doing what is beneath that lofted area (including the kitchen, baths, and both bedrooms)??

The current babble for #2F sounds very much like that of #3F when it sold as (reading between the lines) a create-a-dream loft. That very similar loft to #2F sold in market conditions roughly similar to 2011, on August 17, 2007 at $2.15mm, a price very similar to #2F in 2011.

compare and contrast
Forget reading between the lines. I know #3F was bought in 2007 at $2.15mm as a create-a-dream loft because those buyers created such a different (and dreamy!) loft that they tried to re-sell it this year at $3.89mm, not quite double their 2007 purchase price. The babble had a title (“Artisanal Loft”) and details that, while restrained, describe a butterfly, not a caterpillar:

The expansive loft received studied intervention to preserve its spatial attributes and original features including 12-foot +/- pressed tin ceilings. With full central air-conditioning, the loft receives west, north, and south light, and is arranged as two bedrooms, each with en suite bath fitted with Duravit and Lefroy Brooks fixtures, home office or guest chamber, freestanding kitchen with Valcucine island, living room, library or studio, laundry room, copious closets, and a massive storage room.

The pictures and floor plan fill out the crawling-to-flying transformation. Granted, The Market did not bite at #3F at $1,429/ft, but there is a world of difference between where that will end up (if they come back to market) and the $880/ft that #2F got as a caterpillar. Just don’t ask me about #3RN.

one more hint about the caterpillar
I bet you (my standard wager of) 25 cents that the #2F buyers do a significant renovation. The #3F demonstration of what is possible is one hint. Another is that their notice address on the deed is this condo rental, which is a rather spectacular nearby loft:

Quintessential SoHo Loft …. From the original cast iron pillars to the 12’3 ceilings and the four 9 foot tall windows that line the living room, this sprawling 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom loft is everything you’d expect living in SoHo. The windowed kitchen features a professional six burner range, large Sub Zero refrigerator with on bottom freezer pullout drawers, a Miele Incognito dishwasher and is outfitted with Rutt handcrafted cabinetry. Both bathrooms are new with luxurious marble appointments-the guest bath featuring a steam shower and the master bath featuring a Jacuzzi tub. To top it all off, the loft features a thermostat-controlled heating and air conditioning system in addition to amble closet space and a washer/dryer. Light is abundant and the entry onto the floor is keyed-elevator with only one neighbor.

Yes, both that rental listing and the #2F babble claim “Quintessential Soho Loft”, and both have 2 bedrooms and 2 baths, with high ceilings and large windows. Similar bones, but very different skin. #2F is due for a new skin.

© Sandy Mattingly 2011

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply