ancient floor plan drives 43 Murray Street loft down to $864/ft


stairs don’t help

Whenever I see a floor plan like that of the “1,400 sq ft” Manhattan loft #3A at 43 Murray Street on a bar block in southeast Tribeca, I assume the place has been lived in for at least 30 years, until proven otherwise. The tell is that this classic Long-and-Narrow with 3 windows front and 3 in back uses all the back windows for the kitchen and a bath, making it virtually impossible to have a real (windowed) bedroom. Back in the day, loft dwellers in classic Manhattan loft neighborhoods had a different sense of space and (more importantly) different budget scales. If the main plumbing lines made it least expensive to convert to residential use by taking up all the rear windows, that was what was done; if that choice then dictated that the resident(s) sleep in the middle of an open space up front or in an interior room, that was no big deal.


Times and tastes change, so the buyer pool enthusiastic about a no-bedroom (one sleep area, max) layout is limited in 2013, certainly more limited than for a similarly sized Long-and-Narrow loft that had the more conventional 2-BRs-in-back layout. That is one big reason that a Tribeca loft with “a huge chef’s kitchen complete with professional six burner Montague stove, Miele dishwasher, and Subzero fridge and restaurant quality stainless cabinetry” would take 9 months to get to contract and clear at (only) $864/ft ($1.21mm, but it is hard to find on StreetEasy). That, and the lack of an elevator.


With this set-up, the loft is ideal for a single person; it can work for a couple if the share the exact same sleep schedule or if the night owl is very quiet (wireless headphones for television and music can save thousands on couples therapy). (Note that the “privacy shutters” won’t block any noise, and that there may not even be a door in the “bedroom”.)


price discovery for unusual lofts can be difficult

It didn’t really take 9 months for this neat old loft to sell, as there was a bit of a break. But the seller thought the market would like it more than it did:

Mar 9, 2012 new to market $1.5mm
Mar 30   $1.395mm
July 2 hiatus  
Oct 9   $1.235mm
Nov 21 contract  
Feb 4, 2013 sold $1.21mm


Perhaps the seller took the summer off because he had house guests, perhaps he needed a sober look at the rest of the Tribeca market (hint: hot, hot, hot!), but he came back at the right price and got a deal within 6 weeks at a small discount. I will let you scan the Master List of Manhattan Lofts Sold Since November 2008 if you’d like to see how many Tribeca lofts have traded near or under $864/ft. (Hint: not many, especially not with professional grade kitchens.)

Another hint: my March 26, took a while for architects to wake up to gut project loft at 39 Worth Street, hit a loft in the busy business district of Tribeca that cleared way down at $775/ft. That one had an elevator, but needed a complete gut renovation (“[b]ring your design team”).


Loft #3A at 43 Murray Street was billed as a move-right-in-and-be-happy loft. $864/ft has to hurt, even with the two flights of stairs.


© Sandy Mattingly 2013


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