working artist loft at 121 Mercer Street sells just under $1,000/ft

it doesn’t get any more arty than this
There are artist’s lofts and then there are artist’s lofts. The “2,000 sq ft” Manhattan loft on the 2nd floor at 121 Mercer Street deep in the heart of Soho is recognizably an artist’s loft on the floor plan and in the pictures. Start with the 16 foot ceilings, the (not quite) floor-to-ceiling windows, the extremely primitive “kitchen” in that main photo, then note the floor plan with the few walls that separate the studio from the living space, the ancient heater hanging from the ceiling in front of the middle front window, then appreciate some of the details (the even-more-ancient gas meter high up on the front left wall, the fan with one blade missing, the way the wall alongside the steps leading to the loft is supported against the wall).

This has the look of a loft colonized by an artist in The Beginning Of Soho and outfitted with that front bath and “kitchen” and the sleeping loft then, and untouched except for the addition of a larger bathroom in the back, probably long after. Still in all, the floors and tin ceilings (preserved only in the front?) look to be in remarkably adequate condition, given the usage and passage of time.

sometimes a gut is just a gut
It doesn’t matter much that the space is largely untouched for 40+ years, or even that the mechanicals and utilities are probably closer to 75 years old. The loft will be rebuilt 100%, just as it would have been if the baseline condition were 1980s state of the art. In either case, even the electrical service is likely in need of a modern upgrade, and any buyer would anticipate rebuilding the plumbing systems back to the risers, at a minimum.

Personally, I suspect that this loft is more valuable in this (nearly prehistoric) condition than it would have been with a bad 1980s re-do, as it is certifiably authentic. (Demolition costs are probably less, as is, than if there were more walls, plumbing, tiling, and other [now useless] “improvements”.) And perhaps there is a way to incorporate that old gas meter into a modern renovation.

While the deal was not immediate, the market reaction was very positive:

June 30 new to market $1.995mm
Oct 10 contract  
Dec 17 sold $1.995mm

the elevator helps
Granted, it hasn’t been fully updated in a while (Note To Self …), but you can parse the Master List of Manhattan Lofts Sold Since November 2008 to try to find lofts in similar condition that sold near $1,000/ft. Hint: you will have trouble finding any.  The primitive loft-with-photographer studio that I hit in my January 3, walking up is hard to do: primitive loft at 37 Walker Street sells with 4 flights of stairs down 5% since 2006, sorta, is kinda sorta close. But: despite 15 foot ceilings, that duplex lacks the character of 121 Mercer Street (not to mention, the elevator), and it sold at (only) $800/ft. That’s a far distance from 121 Mercer Street, despite being only 5 blocks.

© Sandy Mattingly 2013

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