20 Desbrosses Street loft sells above ask, quickly, with pellet-blasted brick and more (dramatic photos!)

zip! zoom!
The Manhattan loft on the 2nd floor at 20 Desbrosses Street is a bit of a puzzle, but the main story is that it found a contract in 23 days and closed $111,000 above the asking price. At $1,300/ft in a no-frills coop hard by Canal Street in (formerly sleepy) northwest Tribeca, that is a pretty impressive price.

This "2,224 sq ft" loft is classic: 12 foot timber ceilings, wide plank flooring, columns, and brick with a build-out by "by renown designers Tang Kawasaki Studio" that added many modern touches (14 foot concrete kitchen island, one bath with "Burmese teak, Carrara mosaic and Venetian plaster, pellet-blasted brick", the other bath with walnut, limestone, leather and resin).

Looks as though they found a monster fan of these old-and-new materials, someone who closed here just last week (on June 9, at $2,911,000).

million dollar renovation
The (over the top?) renovation of the 2nd floor at 20 Desbrosses has a fascinating pre-renovation neighbor next door. The 4th floor at 18 Desbrosses Street is the same size as 20 Desbrosses #2 ("2,215 sq ft") but was in primitive condition ("Artist’s Classic Loft brimming with potential") when it closed on March 2 at $1.8mm ($812/ft). Interesting that this loft also was a big hit with The Market, as it came out last October 15 and was in contract by November 25, off 10% from the asking price.

I wonder what the 20 Desbrosses renovation cost, as it is fair to say from this comparison with 18 Desbrosses that the renovation generated $1,111,000 more than the un-renovated classic loft next door. I assume the renovation made the space a far more enjoyable place to live; but even at $250/ft for the renovation, there’s another half million dollars (plus) in realized value.

That is a nice trick: put in money and get back greater joy and more money.

parsing the public records at "465 Greenwich Street"
I don’t think I have been in these buildings since my November 27, 2007 post, 125 Watts is FSBO no more, when I searched title and sales in a single condop made up of three (four?) buildings that wrapped from Desbrosses Street all the way along Greenwich Street and around the corner onto Watts Street. Property Shark notes that the main address for the single tax loft 2225-0001 is "465 Greenwich Street", with alternate addresses for the single condo in three ranges: 455-469 Greenwich St, 125-129 Watts St, and 18-22 Desbrosses St.

Here is the background on this true condop from my Nov. 27, 2007 post, 125 Watts is FSBO no more:

Our data-base shows this building was converted to a condop only five years ago and the city’s records suggest that this building is part of the same condop with two adjoining addresses (separate buildings at one time?? they have very similar facades), around the corners at 465 Greenwich Street and 18 Desbrosses Street, which were a (warehouse?) of Romanoff Caviar Company.
The one old (2005) listing I could get good data for around both corners is the
5th floor of 18 Desbrosses Street, in which Stribling’s Siim Hanja provides still more clues about the condop. He describes the 3 buildings as "Downtown’s most striking tenant-sponsored condop success story (36 units) [with a s]hare in commercial condo".

This being a "tenant sponsored" condop explains why there have been residents in the building long before the condop conversion and also explains why the units that have been sold are so (no offense intended here) … primitive. Tenants who go to the trouble and expense of buying a building from the landlord and converting to a condop are not nearly as likely to do major upgrades or renovations. Hence, it is left to the second generation buyers who will do that.

City records are often a disaster for condops, for reasons that remain obscure to me. But if you check the StreetEasy building page for 467 Greenwich Street, you will see ten transactions for "#Unit 2" going back to 2002, including the recent sale of 20 Desbrosses St #2. I suspect that the "#Unit 2" is used by StreetEasy for miscellaneous sales in the coop unit of the condo, since when you click on the title transfer pages you see units such as #6W at 18 Desbrosses (November 23, 2009), 125 Watts St #6 (September 16, 2008), 18 Desbrosses St #3 (April 28, 2006), etc, etc.

If you look at the photos and floor plans for the listings sold in this single condop you will see variations in windows, ceilings, and columns across the different buildings. But any such inter-building+intracondop differences will not account for the difference in value between the classic-un-renovated 18 Desbrosses St #4 in March and the renovated-true loft 20 Desbrosses St #2. Essentially all of the $1,111,000 difference between these two lofts can be attributed to a variation on that classic aphorism of real estate: condition, condition, condition.

L. O. V. E.
Did I mention that The Market loved the way that Tang Kawasaki Studio added a concrete kitchen island, Burmese teak, Carrara mosaic, Venetian plaster, pellet-blasted brick, walnut, limestone, leather and resin to the timber ceilings, wide plank flooring, columns, and brick? Absolutely loved it.

love The Google + the architect photos (and writing)
Did I mention that "pellet-blasted brick" was a new term for me? My friend The Google got me to the troubled Wiki for this practice and to (bonus!) the architect’s description and photos of the 20 Desbrosses St #2 renovation. (Stunning photos!)

The architect site dates the work as 2005, and I love this introduction: 

This 2500 square foot slice of a historic former caviar warehouse in Tribeca was delivered to us raw, after years of delinquent inhabitation.

I am going to try to use the locution "delinquent inhabitation" again soon.

© Sandy Mattingly 2010



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