106 Duane Street loft sellers built a beauty then aimed at the moon (fell more than 200,000 miles short, alas)

where is it that pride goes?
It is hard to imagine how disappointing it must be to renovate a loft beautifully, then find that The Market just doesn’t get it. I present for our consideration (and empathy) the “1,766 sq ft” Manhattan loft on the 2nd floor at 106 Duane Street, which just sold after getting a significant upgrade by the folks who bought it in 2008. The broker babble starts with “extraordinary” and works in a “magnificent” (more gushing, below), while the numbers tell how proud the owners were with their work: they paid $2mm in an essentially Peak purchase (April 25, 2008), then renovated, then asked $3.2mm when they offered it for sale. And then $3.075mm. And then … (get the point?) all the way down to $2.33mm … a not quite seven figure discount from the original ask.

Got empathy?

can a "Piece de resistance" have two sides, two kinds of resistance?
Here is what they were selling:

State of the art kitchen with built in casual dining …. cozy library easily converts to a 3rd bedroom …. custom designed cast steel loft is the "Piece de resistance" creating a dramatic and functional living space overlooking the main apartment. Every inch of this space has been used and thoughtfully created for everyday living and working. From the dramatic lighting plan to the multiple use integrated internet and wiring nothing was spared on this magnificent renovation. The lighting creates a magical atmosphere at night accentuating the highly polished cherry wood floors ceiling high built-ins.

The later babble by the new firm in 2012 is equally enthusiastic, adding some name checks (including “designed by Roland Eckl”) and (somehow) 334 sq ft.

This is what they bought in 2008:

soaring 13.5 foot ceilings and beautiful hardwood floors. Currently configured as a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom with home office and large walk in closet. Choose to live in this space as is or transform it to your personal specifications!

Not much enthusiasm in that old babble, was there? Nothing “chef” about the kitchen, not a single proper name or material name-cked, and the invitation to “transform it to your personal specifications”. Transform it they did!

You’d have to figure that turning the 2008 loft into the 2012 loft wasn’t cheap (remember: “nothing was spared on this magnificent renovation”). Problem is that they sold for (only) $2,257,500 (the lack of zeros in that number just screams a difficult negotiation), after buying for $2mm. That $257,500 “gain” comes to only $146/ft. You are not likely to get much magnificence out of a renovation budget of $146/ft.

Of course I would love to know what the renovation budget was, and of course I will never know. But it is telling that their initial view was that they had added more than a million dollar in value from their Peak purchase, through the renovation.

You have to click on the two (unlinked) listings on StreetEasy to get the full listing history (omitting two brief periods of hiatus):

Oct 21, 2011 new to market $3.2mm
Jan 19, 2012   $3.075mm
Jan 22   $2.99mm
April 4   $2.8mm
April 14   $2.7mm
June 19 change firms $2.5mm
Sept 25   $2.33mm
Oct 24 contract  
Dec 17 sold $2,257,500

That’s 12 months, 7 prices, and two firms to get to one contract, $942,500 less than where they’d started. You’d have to be a cold soul not to be touched by that, knowing the work they did after paying a flat $2 million in 2008.

Let’s just say that The Market, female dog that she can be, didn’t think much of the renovation that the sellers so (over) valued. Talk about a piece of resistance!

© Sandy Mattingly 2013

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