WOW, indeed: “wow factor” loft at 66 Crosby Street has late bidding war to close up 60% over 2006

I [heart] Lofts Week continues….
Yes, I was a little over the top yesterday in my praise for the (mini) loft that sold at an astounding (for the building) price per foot (that was August 29, unique loft at 236 West 26 Street bends the market by selling well above comps). My defense is that I love beautiful lofts (even tiny ones that are impossible to comp). So when I clicked on the large format main listing photo for the “2,300 sq ft” Manhattan loft #4CD at 66 Crosby Street last night, my first reaction was to use a bad word in a good way: “holy [crap]”, said more as benediction than scatology. I hope I am not getting soft in my old age, but once again I find the broker babble that normally sounds hackneyed, true:

Classic loft with "wow factor" on Soho’s most coveted street

Seriously: just click on the large format photos. Anyone who appreciates classic Manhattan lofts will be impressed by 14 foot ceilings, an entire east wall of thigh-to-ceiling windows, cast-iron columns, and abundant exposed brick (with arches!). This is one drool-worthy set of bones, for the folks who like that sort of thing. (I do.)

holy [crap] pricing, too
The listing is coy about size, but it was marketed as “2,300 sq ft” when it sold in 2006. At that size, the sales price of $3.575mm comes to a princely $1,554/ft. Wow.

The listing history is odd, as this loft got a contract above asking price, but it took more than 6 months for that to happen. (To market on October 27, 2011 at $3.499mm, in contract by May 8, closed on August 9; contract date from inter-firm data-base, which shows the StreetEasy “no longer available” thing in May was a temporary listing issue.) A $76,000 premium over ask after 6 months on the market gets a double: Wow + Wow.

You would reasonably infer from the September 13, 2006 sale at (only) $2.255mm that the loft enjoyed a major upgrade between then and now. (That worked yesterday, in fact.) But you’d be wrong. A nearly 60% increase over 2006 without a significant change in condition gets a triple: Wow + Wow + Wow.

That babble about the “wow factor” turns out to be quite apt. I am not going to Go For Four, but not only is this $3.575mm loft in substantially the same condition as when it sold in 2006 at $2.255mm, it probably needs a major upgrade. How else to interpret this bit of babble?

approved architectural plans (see alternative floorplan) for potential renovation with reconfigured bedrooms & baths, new half bath, large chef’s kitchen & built-in home office

Alas, that alternative floor plan is not available on-line through StreetEasy or Sothebys, though it is in our listing data-base. Basically, the entire west end of the loft is proposed to be redone, with the kitchen moving forward (the new island would contain that middle column) and the all-new bathrooms directly behind the kitchen.

What you also cannot see from the inter-firm data-base is the listing agent’s check-the-boxes description of the loft’s current condition. In this case, the agent’s choice of “good” (as opposed to “excellent” or “mint”) for overall condition as well as specifically for the kitchen and the bathrooms confirms what is implied in the broker babble: this place needs an upgrade.

Then v. Now is almost a tie, except if you measure in dollars
I have already given you the major hint about condition in the broker babble excerpt, above. Here is the core of the babble; be sure to look for one very pregnant “new”:

dramatic space features restored original cast-iron columns, beautiful exposed brick arches, abundant natural light through a wall of 5 enormous new oak-framed sash windows, building-wide central HVAC with 2 thermostatically controlled zones, 14’+/- ceilings & hardwood floors. Open kitchen with 6-burner Wolf stove, commercial-grade vented hood, stainless Miele dishwasher & new double-door refrigerator with bottom freezer. A movable granite island is fashioned from an antique cast-iron drafting table.

The babble from 2006:

great cubic volume with 14′ ceilings, and a wall of sunlight streaming in from the five, oversized, 10′ windows. Along with cast iron Doric columns, exposed brick walls, and its classic masonry & cast iron facade, it still has the aura of authenticity missing in so many loft homes lately. This long established co-op has low monthlies too. It’s currently configured with two sleeping areas and two full baths in nice, move-in, condition; but priced so that you can bring your architect, and your imagination with you

Just from my first quick read of the babble, I wondered if that kitchen with those wonderful appliances could be new since 2006, but then I focused on the very precise “new” for the double-door refrigerator with bottom freezer. As the photos confirm (2006 pictures from Corcoran), that is the same kitchen, apart from the frig and the moveable island. I love precise babble: the other time “new” is used in the excerpted babble above is also significant, as the pictures confirm that the windows are, in fact, new.

There are not enough pictures in both sets to permit direct Then v. Now comparisons, but the 2006 floor plan from Corcoran shows the same set up in 2006 as now (allowing for differences in tape measure skills; the walls and plumbing line up the same as in the new floor plan). So we have a loft that sold for $2.255mm within 18 months of The Peak (let’s call that the Early Froth), then was improved by new oak windows, a new kitchen island and a new double-door frig before selling for $3.575mm.

Facts are facts, but wow. Just. Wow. That spread makes no sense to me.

$1,554/ft for a exceptional skeleton with name brand appliances and a challenging floor plan. The space is nearly square, which usually means there is a lot of flexibility in possible arrangements. But in this case, those huge east windows are the only windows in the space so you will either severely restrict the sense of volume by stealing some windows for a bedroom, or make do with interior “bedrooms” as the current and proposed floor plans do.

I find that this is one of those things that separates Loft People from Apartment People: if you could imagine spending $3.5mm and not getting a window in a bedroom, you are a Loft Person; if this is an absolute non-starter, you are an Apartment Person. (Note to self … come up with other questions for the Loft People / Apartment People quiz; this sounds promising.)

I hit the exact same footprint, though with higher ceilings that double up some space, in my April 15, 2011, 66 Crosby Street loft sells for $868/ft as a very tall project. That #2CD sale at $2.995mm for “3,400 sq ft” still makes #4CD at $3.575mm stick out. I thought then that #2Cd was in a similar condition to #4CD as of 2006, and wondered about whether the layout would survive the new owner:

This loft is a bit of a time machine. Ignore the new kitchen (with Bertazzoni stove), new guest bath, and central air, and you are looking at a space that has been largely untouched since the building was converted to a coop about 30 years ago, at least. The main floor was for working, clearly, while upstairs there are “sleeping quarters” (how quaint!) and a master bath. This level is open to the rest of the space, and with 16 feet ceilings, this arrangement is more like a true duplex than the mere mezzanine you would have with even 14 foot ceilings. The guest bath and darkroom are behind the kitchen on the back wall, and there are no other walls in the space apart from the master bath upstairs and a lateral divider, again upstairs. Talk about volume!

I still wonder. And I still think that #2CD and (current) #4CD are in similar condition, with #2CD potentially more valuable for offering the possibility of keeping that 8 foot ceiling mezzanine space. Did I mention tha I am having trouble understanding #4CD at $3.575mm?

moving up in the world, but just a little in Soho
Rather than continue to beat that deceased horse, I will note that the #4CD buyers are moving to twice the space at twice the money than their previous home. They are not moving far (just 3 blocks west and to the other side of Spring Street) and they probably will do that upgrade. They bought this in 2010, though it now looks like this (they are selling, but you didn’t hear that from me). Two years is a pretty quick transition from a small Soho loft to a larger Soho loft. They obviously like classic loft elements like columns, big windows and brick walls. Bless their hearts for that.

Good luck to them. I predict they do not paint the 66 Crosby brick white and that they re-do the baths to match (at least) the old place. But I will probably never know, alas.

© Sandy Mattingly 2012

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