small piece of troubled loft empire sold at 95 Greene Street

condo could use some giant steps
I was talking to 2 friends last night, both of whom are professionally informed about Manhattan residential real estate, and was surprised to learn that neither one was aware that the Condo v. Unit Owner wars at 95 Greene Street in upper Soho might be moving toward peace. Perhaps it will also still be news to you that one of the Manhattan lofts in the crumbled empire of deadbeat condo owners, the “1,800 sq ft” #PH-C at 95 Greene Street, finally sold on January 9. The deed was filed January 26 and hit the blogosphere and twitterverse pretty hard immediately. (Curbed, last Friday.)

The very short story (seen in more extended version in links within past Manhattan Loft Guy posts, below) is brutal:

  • “celebrity photographer” and partner (model? socialite?) amass 4 penthouse units in a classic Soho loft between 1998 and 2003
  • celeb had such hard times that by 2009 Chase put a $1mm lis pendens on the loft that just sold
  • of course, celeb also stopped paying common charges
  • condo neighbors were so mad at celeb (not paying CC’s + sitting court-side at Knicks games) they put up a “wanted” poster in the lobby and cut off his elevator privileges (6-story building)
  • lawsuits galore!

I touched on the controversy, with some up-to-the-minute developments, in my June 23, 2011, is publicity hurting 95 Greene Street resales?, which also considered the impact of this kind of well-publicized controversy in a small (25-unit) condo. My April12, 2011, 95 Greene Street, deadbeat condo owners, and small building risk, followed the first major news coverage of the controversy, in the New York Times. While mentioning the tawdry details, that post focused on the other unit owners (with his 4 penthouse units, the celeb had a 10.7% interest in the condo) and the story as a cautionary tale for potential buyers in small coop or condo loft buildings.

With the sale of Penthouse C, celeb still has 3 to go. I wonder if the condo has been brought up to date on common charge arrears. (The other unit owners had suffered that 10.7% cash flow hit while the celeb preferred fighting to paying; last June the arrears was $125,000.) Undoubtedly, the condo common charges on the unit that just sold got paid at or before closing, as the condo would have been careful enough to have filed a lien. But unless there is something unusual in the Condo Declaration or By-Laws (note to condo boards …) any lien or arrears on Penthouse C would not cover the other penthouses.

If the celeb still owes common charges on those other units, the condo won’t get paid until he sells. (Ouch)

what ‘finally’ looks like
I mentioned up top that Penthouse C finally sold. To wit:

July 22, 2008 new to market $3.95mm
Feb 11, 2009   $3.5mm
Mar 25 hiatus  
Aug 6 change firms $2.75mm
Sept 3 hiatus  
May 11, 2011 change firms $3.5mm
June 17   $3.395mm
Nov 3 contract*  
Jan 9, 2012 sold $3.15mm

(*per the inter-firm data-base)

You really have to wonder what happened in 2009. Shortly after the Chase lis pendens was filed, the celeb dramatically dropped the price, but then lost his nerve (or something) after only 4 weeks — at a time that the overall Manhattan residential real estate market was thawing, coming out of the post-Lehman nuclear winter.

In 2011, things did not move quickly by any means, but he ended up with a contract in November that was only a 10% discount from his May asking initial price. Or, ‘only’ 20% off the original initial asking price, way back in July 2008 — a doomed marketing campaign launched 6 months too late to catch The Peak. (Ouch)

speaking of due diligence
I have been beating a lot lately about due diligence (about views, on January 31, another day, another parking lot to be developed / Varick Street Tribeca edition, and January 24, banging the View Diligence drum (again), for Glass Farmhouse loft views from 448 West 37 Street) and using The Google (on December 28, did your attorney use The Google for due diligence? would help at 150 Nassau Street).

Looking back, I see that I hit a sale in this building in my June 7, 2010, with 95 Greene Street contract, reality vs. NY Post / who wins?, which pivoted off a New York Post article that seemed to me … off. In the current context, I wonder if that family that had then-recently signed a contract in 2010 were aware of the problems the penthouse celeb was causing, and would continue to cause. (That would have been #3F, which did, in fact, close for $1.9mm after asking $1.875mm.)

It seems that I did not connect the dots on that story about #3F when I wrote the June 7, 2010 post, as that sale was featured in my April 22, 2010, 95 Greene Street goes to war, closes up 8%, with a headline that captures the 2010 bidding war, and puts it in context of the past sale at The Peak (up 8% since April 2008!). That loft #3F is a 3-time winner, at least on Manhattan Loft Guy, as I hit that loft as it went into contract in my February 1, 2008 post, contracts at 95 Greene show value + velocity + sloppy paperwork (when I was still commenting on active listings). Weird.

Stop me before I digress again!

© Sandy Mattingly 2012


Posted in loft neighborhoods soho Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *