90 Franklin Street loft beats upstairs neighbor by 22% only 14 months later

I didn’t know wenge was that valuable in a Manhattan loft

I can see two principal differences between the last two south-facing units that sold in Franklin Tower across the border from prime Tribeca: the “2,633 sq ft” loft #7S at 90 Franklin Street had a library at the west end of the loft, while #4S on the same footprint has a more open ‘great room’ and a great deal of wenge custom wood work. Almost forgot the other difference: #7S sold for $3.3mm on August 16, 2012 and #4S just sold for $4.055mm (and by “just sold” I mean October 18). That’s 22%, as you know from the headline, compared to the StreetEasy Condo Index, up only 10%, from 1,980 in August 2012 to 2,175 in (the most recent month) August 2013.

is this a triumph of looks over substance, or a loft marketing / staging thing?

Franklin Tower was a 2000 new condo development, with best-in-class (for its time) finishes that you still see today. As in the #4S broker babble about features mentioned in marketing many lofts in the building:

open Boffi chef’s kitchen with Subzero refrigerator, Bosch dishwasher, double Thermador oven and Gaggeneau cooktop with stainless vented hood. … attractive tile backsplash, Caesar stone countertops, generous cabinet storage and two, extra-deep pantries. … master … bathroom with oversized soaking tub, spacious, glass-enclosed shower and double pedestal sinks …. central air conditioning, beautiful cherry wood floors, three Waterworks bathrooms, generously sized Poliform closets throughout, a laundry room with utility sink

The #7S babble was more restrained, but the base-line condition of the two lofts should be the same, apart from the #4S woodwork: “foyer with a seating area lined with built-in bookshelves”; “custom-built in wenge cabinetry and bookcases further complement the [living room] space”; and the built-in desk and wedge cabinetry in the third bedroom. You’ll find built-ins in the #7S listing photos in the library and master suite, though no one thought to mention materials.

The two lofts do look very different, though, don’t they? #7S presents as little country frou-frou (dining table, cabinets, heavy couches and easy chairs, heavier window treatments), while on the same cherry flooring, #4S uses darker materials (wenge!) yet is brighter, with more clean lines (other than those master drapes). The added wall in #7S (with french doors) that separates the library / den from the living room is a small bit of carpentry, easily installed and easily removed. It changes the proportions, for the better for those sellers though not my idea of loft-y. (#7S floor plan, here.) The #4S floor plan is original issue, with the larger living / dining room getting the benefit of exposures both south and west.

In theory, buyers are able to see through things like the decor, colors and simple carpentry. In real life, some people spend lots of money staging lofts to appeal to a larger pool of buyers. There’s no comparison, to my eye, between the main listing photos of these two essentially identical lofts: #7S is nice, but #4S is very nice.

The Market agrees with me. Overall market trends account for less than half of the different sales prices for these neighboring lofts, one of which should have the advantage of being 30+ feet higher on the same streetscape. Seven hundred and fifty-five thousand dollars in difference.

the listing history does not actually reflect what happened

We have the same sequence in our listing system that StreetEasy shows for the #4S marketing campaign:

May 15 new to market $4.25mm
June 15 $3.995mm
Aug 9 “off the market”
Sept 20 contract
Oct 18 sold $4.055mm

Presumably, the sellers and agent agreed to treat the loft this way publicly, though the sellers were still interested in selling after August 9. So interested, that they negotiated a contract that was signed to sell above last ask by September 20. I noticed another loft sale like this when I updated the Master List this weekend, but I hope this is not a trend.

Note to self (and to buyers) … if an interesting loft goes “off the market” make sure to reach out to the listing agent to understand what is going on, and possibly to reserve a place at the negotiating table. Chances are, some buyer missed out on #4S, as the buyer paid over last ask in the quiet period to keep others from getting another shot at it.


Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply