spectacular restored loft gets 22% haircut, 85 Mercer sells for $937/ft

Word For The Week = "restoration"
Last week’s Manhattan Loft Guy fun word was "unspoiled", as in my January 27 "unspoiled" loft at 70 Thomas St sells for $511/ft, about a loft in not-prime Tribeca that needed a lot of work (not to mention, was up 4 flights of stairs).  This week’s word (say it with me … res-to-ration) was worth $937/ft in prime Soho, in spectacular condition, with an elevator. However, since the sellers of this Manhattan loft (85 Mercer Street #4) sold at a discount of 21.7% from their last asking price — and at a staggering 40% off their original asking price — there’s probably not much joy in Mudville for nearly doubling the $511/ft of a 5th floor walk-up on Thomas Street. (They did close.)

But I do like the word "restoration", as in this bit of broker-babble:

Original wood plank floors, high ceilings and 11-foot cast iron columns convey a sense of grandeur, while maintaining the original character. A modern and complete restoration brings the space into the 21st century.

Not to go all lexicographer on you, but "restoration" is a wonderful way to express the sense that the loft essence remains after a first class renovation. (Indeed, both this loft and 70 Thomas #5 were accurately describes as "authentic", but that just goes to show that "authentic" can be used — appropriately to describe varied lofts. But I digress. Again.)

using a hatchet to cut hair
The loft is "4,800 sq ft", lovingly restored (as noted), and updated with 21st Century touches like a professional kitchen hidden behind full-height sliding doors and a media room with pivoting wall. I had to cross-check the inter-firm data-base against StreetEasy’s price history, because neither source has the complete history. Take a look here, after swallowing any beverage in your mouth:

May 11, 2008 $7,500,000
Oct 10, 2008 $6,750,000
change of firm  
Jan 16, 2009 $6,500,000
March 17, 2009 $5,750,000
Dec 31, 2009 contract
Jan 21, 2010 closed

(Note that, as indicated on the StreetEasy building page "#4" [as it was marketed, a full-floor loft including a guest apartment] sold as two lots, #4F and #4R, at $3,825,000 and $675,000, respectively.) The $4.5mm clearing price had to have been the result of some hard bargaining off that last $5.75mm ask since March 2009. The $4.5mm clearing price had to have been an even more bitter compromise for these sellers, who started at $7.5mm way back at (essentially) the peak of The Market. The $4.5mm clearing price must have looked awfully paltry to sellers who knew that their second floor neighbors sold (separately) in October 2006 and August 2007 for a combined $5.67mm.

But they closed.

speculating about sellers’ feelings is guesswork
Unless our listing data-base is missing an intervening transaction, these January 2010 sellers at $4.5mm bought the two 4th floor units on the same day in July 1999 for a total of $1.425mm. Granting them even a million dollar "restoration" (it was probably much less expensive in 1999 – 2000), they still cleared two million more than their purchase price + renovation (sorry … restoration). Not as much as they’d hoped for.

But they closed.


© Sandy Mattingly 2010



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