another loft goes at 288 West Street, direct river views in Tribeca earn $1,432/ft

there are river views, and there are river views

The year end sale of the “1,850 sq ft” Manhattan loft #2W at 288 West Street in the far west corner of Tribeca is an occasion for ‘we’ve been here before’. My first thought was to try to remember which line in this building has the more protected views of the Hudson River, because that issue was the crux of my September 16, 2011, why did 288 West Street lofts close with such a wide spread?. Of course, there are some hints that #2W enjoys protected views: it’s the “W” line in a building that faces West Street and the river; and it sold at the $1,432/ft in the headline. But, we really have been here before, as the purchase in August 2011 by the recent sellers of #2W was one pole for that September 16, 2011 post about the wide spread between this very same W-line loft sale and an E-line loft sale. Bear with me as we wind around in the building and the Manhattan Loft Guy archives; we’ll come back to #2W at $1,432/ft soon….

To recap: in 2011, loft #4E sold for $1,045/ft at about the same time that loft #2W sold for $1,386/ft. Both lofts boasted lovely river views. It took some help from “a very helpful agent from a family of loft aficionados” for me to realize how scary the phrase ‘lot line windows’ should be for loft buyers who should be concerned about the future of some lovely views. (The post link above is to the post import4ed into the new platform; the very helpful comment has not [yet] made it into the new platform, so for that detail you need to go here.)

Remember: we’ve been here before, in the sense of in the building. The other sale in the East v. West pair from September 16, 2011 was one of the subjects of my November 6, 2013, 288 West Street loft up 11% over 2011 instead of 15%. Again, in that post 5 months ago, #4E played the lot-line neighbor in a pair with a “W” with direct river views that could not be bricked up. Problem was, there wasn’t a big enough spread between #4E at $1,159/ft and loft #3W at $1,176/ft, both last October, to fit the Lot Line Hypothesis. Check that November 6 post for details about those sales, and my resultant confusion (unabated, to date), but it’s time to move to the present.

why did this lovely Tribeca loft with river views sell for so little, relative to 2011?

Loft #2W appears to be in exactly the same condition prior to its last sale for $2.65mm as it was when it sold in August 2011 for $2.495mm. Last time, it was “Triple Mint gut renovated”, though without a lot of detail in the broker babble. This time the money rooms are more extensively babbled (the kitchen: “poured concrete counter-tops, stainless steel appliances including a Wolf oven, Miele dishwasher, Subzero refrigerator, and wine fridge”; the master bath: “a luxurious Zen-like bathroom with his and her sinks, rain shower and a cast iron claw foot bathtub”), but the photos look the same (same light fixtures over the same kitchen island; same tub).

And, there are, of course, the same views:

magnificent views of The Hudson River, The Statue of Liberty, Governor’s Island, Ellis Island, The Woolworth Building, and the Conservancy Park

From $2.495mm in October 2011 to $2.65mm in December 2013 is a gain of only 6%. In that same period, the StreetEasy Manhattan Condo Index is up to 2,240 from 1,890, or 18%. Forgive me for again quoting Manhattan Loft Guy, this time from November 6, 2013, about the Index as:

a tool (a very useful single-number tool) that “gives a feel” for the overall Manhattan residential real estate market at different points in time; it does not predict or tell you what a given downtown Manhattan loft even should be (should have been) worth at any point.

The Index is made up of paired sales like this #2W in October 2011 and #2W in December 2013. Loft #2W is exactly the sort of most useful data pair for the Index, in fact, as it is in exactly the same condition (less only invisible wear and tear) in both sales.

To recap, one more time: the gut renovated #2W with magnificent views that includes the Statue of Liberty sold in December at a much smaller gain over the sale 26 months earlier than the overall Manhattan residential sales market, at last as measured by the Street easy Index. That follows the odd neighbor sales in the building in October 2013 of #4E and #3W, sales that have to have disappointed fans of an efficient market and fans of the Lot Line Window Hypothesis specific to this building.

Repeat after me: comping is hard. The Market is weird (sometimes).

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