was it feng shui that got 45 Crosby Street sold?


or was it more asking fewer western dollars?
(This is an extended episode, with many twists and turns; perhaps Manhattan Loft Guy needs an editor.) I can’t say I have seen that many Manhattan lofts marketed with feng shui given such prominence as in the recently completed successful marketing of 45 Crosby Street #5S (deed is dated February 6, but was just filed on February 23):

Beauty and positive energy are created through a Feng Shui approach to this gracefully flowing Soho loft. Harmony, style and versatility are enhanced by the subtle and sophisticated ambient lighting design which compliments the existing prewar elements, resulting in a one of a kind downtown residence.

That quote is taken form the successful Sothebys listing. Turns out the loft has a very long sales history — involving no fewer than four firms — and the feng shui angle (is that a bad pun?) had been tried before. Let’s review this lovely loft, before getting into that detail….

feng shui meets Long-and-Narrow
Sothebys was characteristically coy about the size of this coop loft, but #5S was said to be "2,240 sq ft" when listed with Corcoran, and "2,000 sq ft" when listed with PruDE and Bellmarc. Our internal data-base shows it as "2,350 sq ft", so take your own yard stick if you are invited to visit. The last floor plan shows a classic Long-and-Narrow rectangle of roughly 85×23, with four windows in front (West) and back, but no side windows. They grabbed two front windows for a third bedroom (unusual in a Long-and-Narrow), using an angled wall to give the ‘living room’ proportionately more of the front space. The plumbing is in the middle on both long sides, kitchen on the South wall, 2 baths on the North.

If I remember my feng shui primer, the main feng shui principles evident in the floor plan are that angled wall, concave and convex walls for the master bath and master closet, and the fact that no entries/doors directly face other entries or doors. I don’t recall the details of the feng shui Prosperity area (money room?), but these folks paid $1.5mm in February 2005 for a very primitive  loft, then got only $1.85mm this month after doing a "meticulous gut renovation". Either their 2005 feng shui master over-looked something, or market forces were simply too strong.

Any positive energy in this space was limited for these February 2005 buyers (and gutters) who became February 2010 sellers, as they first put it on the market in February 2007. (February does seem to be a big month for these folks … lunar new year?) The loft has not been for sale continuously for the last 36 months, but has been more ‘on’ than ‘off’ in those three years. They started with high hopes. You can guess what mistake they made out of the gate….

did demon dollars do it?
They were way off The Market when they started in February 2007 at $2.899mm, and it took two years for them to bring the price under $2mm. (It was asking $1.995mm from April into October 2009, before re-launching with a new firm, a re-emphasis on feng shui, and the new price of $1.895mm.) In tracking the old listing descriptions, I see that they started in February 2007 emphasizing the feng shui: "An outstanding renovation incorporating Feng Shui has just been completed where no detail has been overlooked." Feng shui was not part of the listing descriptions in the two times they were listed with Corcoran, from January 2008 into October 2009.

The feng shui did not do it when they were asking $2.899mm to $2.6mm in 2007. Price drops alone did not do it through 2008 into the Fall of 2009, when it dropped — haltingly — from $2.65mm to $1.995mm. But dropping to $1.895mm October 9 and re-emphasizing feng shui did the trick (our data-base shows the contract date as December 3). Who’s to say which element was more critical?

time for Sesame Street, kids
This is an old loft coop (1978 conversion), with our records showing that all the original shareholders remained at least until 1996. Even so, at least several spaces here remained very primitive into 2005 (as noted, #5S among them.) This price history for the only sales shown on StreetEasy before the recent sale of #5S jumped out at me:

One of these four is not like the other:

unit closed on closed at
#3S Aug 23, 2005 $1.585mm
#5S Feb 8, 2005 $1.5mm
#6S Dec 3, 2004 $2.035mm
#7S May 18, 2004 $1.6mm

that’s a big "but" you’ve got
A first blush, #6S is the outlier, right? However, #3S and #5S were sold for their potential, while #6S was marketed as a beautifully finished product, in enough better condition to generate a half-million dollar premium over the primitives.

#3S: "Make your Downtown loft dreams come true. Wide open loft …. Everything is possible in this enormous space. Create your dream home of 2-3 BR and 2 baths, with grand entertainment space. Install central air, W/D and other amenities. "

#5S:  "Lived in and worked in for many years…areas fixed up, and other area semi raw. This is a superb loft for an artist/ architect/ designer. Two bathrooms possible. "

#6S: "Quiet Elegance. 2-bed, 2-bath Loft. Large Living/Dining room perfect for entertaining; a top-of-the-line, gourmet Kitchen; wired with state-of-the-art, built-in audio/video system in every room. The gracious and huge Master Bedroom Suite features a custom walk-in closet and a lavish Master Bath. Wonderful light through over-sized windows overlook Crosby Street. "

But what to make of the #7S trading price, so close to the "potential" in #3S and #5S, so far below the price of the finished product that was #6S? #7S was marketed as not just a finished product, but (caps in original; don’t blame me for shouting)

"NEW AND MAGNIFICENT 2,350 square foot top floor skylit loft on Sohos best block. Gracious living/dining area, separate office, high ceilings, open views, dazzling light, 3 exposures, high end kitchen appliances, renovated bathroom…"

Granted, there were more than six months between the low sale of #7S and the high sale of #6S, but that $435,000 spread is remarkable. More so because our data-base shows that #7S had been on the market for TWO YEARS when it sold for $.16mm in May 2004 (it started at $1.85mm; that was me shouting). Even more so because #6S overlapped #7S on the market way back when, starting at $1.75mm before dropping to $1.625mm.

brass ones
It gets weirder …. After #7S closed at $1.6mm, the #6S sellers raised their price from $1.625mm to $2.125mm, then waited 3 months to find the buyer and the contract that closed at $2.035mm on December 3, 2004.

This is too big a topic to continue digressing in this post, but I am Oh So Curious about this building now. One more tantalizing factoid: #6S sold in November 2000 for … wait for it … $1.575mm.  If you are scoring at home, that’s only $275,000 less than #5S sold for ten years later. My head is spinning but I must stop.


© Sandy Mattingly 2010


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