second floor loft empire at 66 Crosby Street increases at $946/ft

a curiously low price for a curiously configured space
Remember that loft in the charming West Village that sold near $1,200/ft while needing a complete build-out? Of course you do: January 22, West Village loft that needs a total build-out sells at 59 Barrow Street for $1,190/ft. That one beat the total gut job in charming Soho that I hit in my January 18, working artist loft at 121 Mercer Street sells just under $1,000/ft, and it also walloped another loft in chic Soho that is soon to be made over, the “1,690sq ft” Manhattan loft #2F at 66 Crosby Street, which sold on December 28 for $1.6mm. That one was not marketed as a renovation project, but it sold as though it was, didn’t it?

mezzanine living can be intimate
The classic elements to the loft include 12 foot (!) windows, original columns, exposed brick walls and 16 foot ceilings. The limitations of the loft include there only being 4 of the huge windows (concentrated in one corner) and a mezzanine over perhaps half the loft, allowing for sleep areas and a second bathroom upstairs, but making the dining area below “intimate”. (“Intimate” must be in the babble dictionary to describe low-ceilinged areas in high-ceilinged lofts; space with less than 8 foot clearance in a loft is not very loft-y.)

Adding an upstairs and downstairs to a high-ceilinged loft certainly adds utility, but at great aesthetic cost. Notice particularly, how the stairs and mezzanine in the main listing photo block the 3rd and 4th windows. Notice also the cost in sound transfer: even the “bedroom” on the mezzanine (presumably so-called because it has access to windows) is open to below for sound, as the floor does not reach the ‘wall’ of windows. If you want a quiet room here, you’d need to close the door in the downstairs TV room / office. Or close a bathroom door.

So the loft is intimate not just because the dining area (and kitchen) are so enclosed by that low ceiling; life is intimate in this loft in that anyone in one bed can easily hear anyone in the other bed. (Unless those sliding screens up top are more sound-proof than they look.)

The space has some modern touches, though how deluxe the finishes are is hard to say. The kitchen is “chef’s”, without specifying any materials or brands; the baths are “renovated”, again without specifying any materials or brands. The HVAC system is “new”! Some of this stuff, at least, is not likely to last very long.

the buyers have renovated before
The deed record reveals that the buyers are very local: they live in loft #2CD in the same coop. I have to assume that they are prepared to renovate #2F by integrating it into #2CD, just as I have to assume that they renovated #2CD after buying it in “very tall project” condition nearly two years ago, as I explained when I hit that sale in my April 15, 2011, 66 Crosby Street loft sells for $868/ft as a very tall project. That post has a full description of that loft (in largely primitive condition), and it is nice to see that I was also impressed then with 12 foot (!) windows. That was a much larger space, also mezzanined, with a “2,300 sq ft” footprint.

I compared the 2011 #2CD purchase ($868/ft) to that of #4CD way back in 2006 ($980/ft), which sold with slightly lower ceiling and no mezzanine for a 13% premium on a price per foot basis. Given the time difference, it was clear that The Market did not fully value the #2CD mezzanine on a par with #4CD as a tall simplex loft. With #2F now selling at $1.6mm for what looks like “1,690 sq ft” of footprint (apparently measured in some way but without the mezzanine), or $946/ft ,a few things are apparent. If you count the mezzanine as covering only one-third of the total footprint, the price per foot drops to the low $700s. If you measure that adjusted price per foot against the #2CD $890/ft (with mezzanine), then #2F is a bargain, at least for these specific buyers. If you compare #2F at $946/ft (as a simplex) last month to #4CD in 2006 at $980/ft (sold as a simplex), #2F looks like even more of a bargain.

Really long-time readers of Manhattan Loft Guy may remember, if they have encyclopedic memories, that I hit loft #4F here when it was a live listing way back in my September 6, 2007, new at 66 Crosby / $1,000/ft central Soho bldg. The hook for that post was the realization that this coop did not enjoy typical Soho loft premiums, even in that oh-so-frothy market, two quarters shy of The Peak in the overall residential real estate market in Manhattan. If you clicked on the listing link already (or if you remeber my September 24, 2007, 66 Crosby in contract under 3 weeks), you know that #4F sold quickly in the froth (contract in 3 weeks) at a nominal discount to ask ($1.675mm, off $20,000 from ask).

You are already ahead of me here, right? You’ve already noticed that #4F in December 2007 sold for more than #2F in 2012. Which leads me to wonder …

did they wait until market softened up the neighbor?
The folks who just bought #2F already own #2CD. Appreciating the advice of Reader Laura from 5+ years ago that #2F and #2CD are in the same coop but two different buildings, I have to believe that the non-window walls of the two lofts back up against each other, and are about to be pierced as the two lofts are combined.

Now note not only the #4F price in 2007 compared to the #2F price at the end of 2012, but note the #2F listing history:

June 15, 2012 new to market $1.85mm
Oct 26   $1.75mm
Dec 16 contract  
Dec 28 sold $1.6mm

Either this was a purchase of opportunity, or I don’t want to play poker with the #2CD buyers, now also #2F owners. They waited to let the entire marketplace take a shot at buying #2F for nearly 6 months. Can’t you just imagine the #2CD owners Thanksgiving table conversation:

  • Did you notice our neighbor (around the corner, but through that wall) is having trouble selling?
  • Maybe we can help them out.
  • How much was your bonus again, dear?
  • (scribbling)
  • Let’s see if we can steal it, hon!
  • I know … we can tell them that we are already shareholders and can close right away; that’s gotta be worth … oh … $175,000 or so

Remember, whether measured on a footprint basis or a with-mezzanine basis, the #2CD owners bought #2F for less than #4F on a dollar per foot basis, or than what they paid for #2CD. Nicely played, folks. Nicely played.

Not to mention, at less than the two loft sales in my opening paragraph. A curiously low price, indeed, but consistent with the low-value status of the coop.

gotta go one more digression here
You remember that #4CD sale at $980/ft in 2006 (7th para). If you are such a fan of MLG as to still be reading, you probably remember I hit that one when it re-sold in pretty darn WOW condition, at a
pretty darn WOW price. If you love beautiful lofts, you must click through to the photos in my August 30, 2012, WOW, indeed: "wow factor" loft at 66 Crosby Street has late bidding war to close up 60% over 2006. I still like what I said there: “my first reaction was to use a bad word in a good way: “holy [crap]”, said more as benediction than scatology

© Sandy Mattingly 2013

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