99 Reade Street and the value of low-ceilinged lofts in Manhattan

in which the power of social media is revealed
One of the Manhattan Loft Guy secrets I have been keeping (more out of sloth than avarice) is that I have joined the ranks of tweaters. Of course you can follow me (@ManhattnLoftGuy; note the missing “a” due to character limits), but i I mention it today because it was a tweet that gave me the hint that my April 26, 99 Reade Street loft sales show sound and fury in market, but it’s no tragedy, had gone in the wrong direction. Tweet-hero @JammyPup provided crucial information about a significant difference between #3W and #5W at 99 Reade Street that I had overlooked in the pix (“5W is a stunted loft. They built new structure on top of 5th flr & robbed ceiling height from 5th floor apts to reinforce”).

The #3W-#5W pair of sales now looks as though the real story is that #5W did as comparably well as it did, with much lower ceilings than #3W. Off-hand, I can’t think of another loft building in Manhattan in which some floor(s) has (have) dramatically lower ceilings, apart from the many instances in which the second floor has higher ceilings in a building in which other floors have merely ‘high’ ceilings. Note to self: keep eyes peeled for any other examples….

hiding in plain sight
I pointed right at the hint in the broker-babble (even, quoted it extensively) in that April 26 post without seeing what was in front of my eyes. The #3W babble included “High ceilings complemented by…”; the #5W babble made no mention of ceilings height. Even now, studying the listing photos it is hard for me to ‘see’ that the #5W ceilings are much lower (only in the 6th photo, of the bedroom, do I find myself ducking my head when i see the pic). I had noticed that there are no arches visible in the living room photo (pic #1; compare to the facade photo, #7) but paid that hint too little attention. Note also in that facade picture the apparent difference in height of the window frames on the 3rd vs. the 5th floors. I am told that the two ceiling heights differ by 3 feet or more, a huge difference, especially with the 5th floor ceilings being under 9 feet.

Again, with @JammyPup’s hint, the facade picture shows the two extra floors built on top of the old 5-story building (a soul-less addition, don’cha think?). I’m no engineer (and did not stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night) but it strikes me as odd that there was no better solution than to cheat into the 5th floor ceiling to provide a base for the new 6th and 7th floors, but that’s what they did.

The impact of the low ceilings is probably enhanced by the footprint of the “W” line: not Long-and-Narrow because of the irregular shape, but long enough that standing in the middle of the unit you are a long way from the windows, with a long run of ceiling running away from you.

All that said, the fact that The Market applied a spread of 7.8% between the high-ceilinged #3W and the low-ceilinged #5W now surprises me. After all, one of the signature elements of classic loft sin Manhattan is that they (tend to) have high ceilings. Live and learn!

other examples??
I have not paid enough attention to think of other loft buildings with a ceiling height differential quite like at 99 Reade Street, which may have a unique reason for the difference (the engineering solution to adding two floors). Are there any others that you, smart readers, know of? I really wonder if there are other buildings that have a variation like this, other than a high-second-floor.

There are some Manhattan loft buildings with relatively low ceilings, of course. But the ones I can think of have uniformly low ceilings. 104 Charlton Street, for example, where our data-base notes that the manifestly low ceilings of loft #3E  are 8’ 6”, the babble for the #6W sale claims 9 foot ceilings (see my March 11, 104 Charlton Street loft takes 18% hit to close, for more about that sale), and my May 7, 2007 post noting (among other things) about #4E that “building has low ceilings for a loft”.

Help a brother out here, please: what other examples of low-ceilinged lofts are there?

© Sandy Mattingly 2011

Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply