challenging American Thread loft at 260 West Broadway finally sells (contract took 50 weeks)


fools rush in (here comes Manhattan Loft Guy) …

It is hard to argue with success, but I am going to try. The “1,365 sq ft” duplex Manhattan loft #9E at 260 West Broadway in the iconic American Thread Company Building sold on July 17 at a per-foot price that exceeds all but a couple of non-penthouse sales in this first great Tribeca condo conversion, with the most recent marketing effort taking just 9 weeks to get to contract at a reasonable discount (6%) off that starting price (the clearing price was $2.025mm). The sheen dims a bit when you match that recent marketing effort with the prior effort, which was recent enough to be continuous for my purposes in tracking on my Master List of Downtown Loft Sales; all in, the full history is:

May 24, 2012

new to market


June 22



Sept 26



Jan 2, 2013



Mar 7

change firms


April 21



May 10



July 17



At $1,483/ft, among non-penthouse sales here, that’s higher than the two “A” line sales a year ago and is exceeded only by the private #9G sale at the Peak and by the much larger and much nicer sale of #10B way back in October 2006 (StreetEasy building page, here). Why complain about that??

why 50 weeks?

The schedule contains a hint of a problem: to market May 24, 2012, in contract May 10, 2013, with the clearing price only a 4% discount from the (unsuccessful) asking price from the last quarter of 2012 (a price that succeeded this past Spring). If this had happened in a thin market, you’d say the price wasn’t wrong, the loft just needed exposure to find one of those few buyers. But (as you know) the market in late 2012 (continuing) is a seller’s market, with many frustrated buyers complaining about there not being enough inventory. (See the newspaper articles too numerous to cite.)

The listing photos contain a hint of the (to me) most logical reason: every photo that shows a no-detail-spared-renovation that has a window in it (almost all of them) shows the window at an extreme angle or pictures the windows with the shades down. You’d think, wouldn’t you, that a 9th floor “light-filled southwest facing” loft would be (you know) so light filled that you could see what is out the windows. (The 2012 marketing photos are similar, though that broker babble promises nothing about light.)

Fact is, the single exposure (much more west than south west) faces the narrow St. John’s Lane and the 10-story office building that you can just see to the left (west) of American Thread on the StreetEasy building page. (That “L” shaped building is slated for … (can you guess?) … condominium development, per this June 21, 2012 New York Post article.) My recollection is that the 10-story 30-32 Varick Street is almost as tall as the 12-story American Thread, so the west windows on the 9th and 10th floors in the condo get no direct sunlight; and I assume that if the 10th floor got direct light the shades in the 3rd listing photo (through which you can just make out the nearby building) would be open.

So here’s my theory: buyers who really wanted light wasted their time visiting loft #9E, and buyers who really wanted light who visited after seeing “light-filled southwest facing” shouted in the 2013 broker babble not only wasted their time but were probably mad about it. There is a market for beautiful lofts in iconic Tribeca condominiums that lack direct light (as proven by the fact that someone just paid $1,483/ft for this one). But that is not an especially deep market, and it may in fact be a market that would appreciate the direct comment in the babble about the (poor) light. I know that people who really want a “light-filled” loft are not going to find much light to like in loft #9E.

The buyer is presumably happy to have bought the loft, shaded windows and all. The sellers may not be unhappy about it taking nearly a year to get to contract (though they did replace the marketing team once, finding a team that would describe their place as “light-filled”). If the principals are happy, who can complain?

Just a guy with a blog. A Manhattan Loft Guy, with a blog.

© Sandy Mattingly 2013

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